New Arena GM Impresses With Community Outreach Ideas

Hockey and rink operations experience are the main attributes for the new general manager of the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.

On Jan. 31, the Jamestown Center City Development Corporation, which oversees the operations of the arena, announced the appointment of Brian Cersosimo as the facility’s new general manager. Cersosimo was hired in September as the arena’s hockey development director. In his new role, he will oversee all operations and functions of the arena.

Max Pickard, Jamestown Center City Development Corporation board chairman, said the board didn’t know much about Cersosimo when he was hired to the part-time hockey position last year. However, he said all of that changed after he met with board members.

”He was presented to the board recently about what he was doing at the arena, and the board was impressed with his organizational skills and background,” Pickard said. ”When he spoke to the board he demonstrated a lot of passion. He hit a lot of key notes with the board in wanting to reach out to the community. So we thought he would be a good fit.”

Pickard said Cersosimo in the past had been the general manager at the Neville Ice Arena in the Pittsburgh area, was the coach and director of operations for the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins and has been involved in hockey for more than 35 years as a player, coach, administrator and owner. He has also worked and managed different business units for several different corporations throughout the years, including Ikon, Heinz, Pitney Bowes and Williams Lea.

”He has knowledge of the whole operation for an ice arena, and definitely has a lot of knowledge of hockey,” Pickard said. ”That is not the only thing we have at the arena, we also have the Jamestown Skating Club. Brian has met with them, and will be meeting with them some more to help move them forward in a positive way.”

The arena has not had a general manager since Mike Ferguson had the role. Kurt Silcott, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena chief executive officer, had been in control of the facilities operations in recent years. However, that will no longer be the case with Cersosimo’s promotion.

”Kurt has been the chief executive officer and he has an employment contract that will not be renewed or extended,” Pickard said. ”Kurt will no longer be involved going forward.”

Pickard said Silcott was a hard worker, but the board wanted to go in a different direction. In recent years, arena officials had started marketing the venue for more than just hockey or skating competitions. The facility hosted stand-up comedians acts and musical acts. In June of last year, it was announced the Jamestown Ironmen would suspend operations for the 2013-14 season. In December, Silcott told The Post-Journal discussions were ongoing for the possible return of the Jamestown Ironmen. He had been talking to the owner, Kenji Yamada, of the Jamestown Ironmen about their possible return. When it was announced in June by Yamada the team would suspend operations for the 2013-14 season, he said he would be looking forward to the Jamestown Ironmen coming back to the ice for the 2014-15 season.

The Gebbie Foundation established the Jamestown Center City Development Corporation in 2000 as a mechanism by which to finance, build and now operate the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Greg Edwards, Gebbie Foundation chief executive officer, said Cersosimo’s 35 years of hockey experience is what intrigues him the most about the arena’s new general manager.

”Well I think the idea that ice activities, hockey and skating, is what the ice arena was developed for,” he said. ”Brian has been a player, coach and involved in ownership in hockey operations, and has been involved in running other operations, so he has the leadership and the experience in running large organizations. That is what made it interesting to give him a shot.”

Edwards said from speaking with those in the ”hockey world,” the arena is a high-class, quality place to play hockey.

”There is no doubt it has the significant capacity as an ice arena,” Edwards said. ”I know from conversations with the arena leadership that we need to do everything we can for hockey and ice skating.”