The Rapid City Rush announced Wednesday that it has a new team president.
Joe Macdonell will take over the position previously held by Joe Ferras and is the fourth team president in Rush history. He comes to the Black Hills from the United States Hockey League where he was the vice president of business operations.
“His business sense is the biggest thing. It takes a lot to run these teams,” Rush owner Scott Mueller said. “We had a lot of applications and this guy just stuck out. I didn’t think we’d be able to get him.”
He will be in charge of all business responsibilities including ticket sales, budgets, corporate sales and the relationship with the Rush and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, according to Mueller.
Macdonell has been involved in sports business for 30 years where he has worked for the New Jersey Nets of the NBA, the New York/ New Jersey Metrostars and Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be named president of the Rapid City Rush. I want to thank ownership for believing in my vision of a community franchise that is exciting and fun, and will continue to make Rush fans proud,” Macdonell said in a release. “We will be devoting plenty of time and effort to a great environment at Rush games. I have been involved with sports at all levels, and feel Rapid City is not only a great location for a hockey team, but also has great history of strong local support. I am really looking forward to being a part of the team and Rapid City community.”
Macdonell will not take over his duties until October, just before the season starts, because of a prior commitment with the USHL.
The new hire was necessary because Ferras, who was the first coach in franchise history, left his position over the summer to join the scouting department with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League.
“I’m very happy for him. It’s everyone’s dream at this level of hockey to get to the NHL whether you’re a player, coach or ticket salesman, that’s all their dream,” Mueller said of Ferras. “I wasn’t surprised once he was offered it that he took it, I would have done the same thing. I think it’s time for a change here too. Joe was here for nine years and we owe him a lot, but there’s another part of me that says it’s time for a change.”
Mueller admitted that the timing of Ferras’s departure made the search process more difficult, but he thinks the Rush have found the right person for the job.
“I wish it could have been in March. We have (Macdonell) coming in on a Tuesday and we have our first game that Friday night, so that’s been a challenge,” he said. “I was very glad to get an opportunity for someone like Joe. He was well above anybody else, so we’re very excited to get him but at the same time it took him a long time to get here. It is what it is and I think he’ll hit the ground running and make some changes right away.”
New Rush coach Daniel Tetrault said he is excited to have Macdonell aboard.
“It’s exciting, I talked to Joe for 10-15 minutes on the phone a couple of weeks ago and he’s really excited to come to the Black Hills and work for the Rush,” Tetrault said. “He has a ton of experience, 30 years is an unbelievable resume, so obviously the guy knows what he’s doing.”
The Rush open the regular season Oct. 13 with a home game against the Allen Americans.