FACES AND PLACES: ANAHIEM MOURNS LOSS OF
O’DONNELL; NEW HIRES ANNOUNCED AT MULLINS CENTER AND THE
FORUM; BISMARCK GM RETIRES
Author: Dave Brooks
Date: August 22,2007

Mike O’Donnell, general manager of Honda Center in Anaheim,
Calif. succumbed to cancer Sunday after a three-year battle with
illness. He was 46.O’Donnell worked at the Honda Center since
its opening in 1993, serving as the building’s first
operations manager and hiring the facility’s first employees.
He guided the building through three name changes and a Stanley Cup
victory for its tenant Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League
earlier this year. Prior to the opening of the arena, he was hired
as the point person for the final phases of design and
construction. Before coming to the arena, he worked at the Great
Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif., former home to the Los Angeles
Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings.Bob Wagner, Honda Center’s
senior marketing officer, said his arena team was saddened by the
news. “We’re a family and it’s a pretty tight
knit group over here. There was a sense of relief because of
everything Mike had gone through, but there’s also a lot of
sadness and heartache.”Just weeks before he passed away,
Wagner said the management team at the Honda Center, including
president and CEO Tim Ryan, decided to pay a visit to
O’Donnell’s home in Yorba Linda, Calif.“We had
just won the Stanley Cup, so we decided to throw the Cup in the van
and drive over to Mike’s house so he could enjoy the
victory,” Wagner said. “That was a real special
experience for him.”O’Donnell worked an estimated 2,000
events at Honda Center, and was named general manager in 2005 amid
his struggle with cancer. He was also an accomplished musician and
was formerly lead singer in a band called “707.”
“Mike was one of the greatest people I've ever been
associated with in my lifetime. To have an individual of his
caliber in our industry was a real treasure. I consider myself very
fortunate to have known Mike O'Donnell,” wrote Brad Mayne,
president and CEO of the American Airlines Center, Dallas, in an
e-mail statement. “I knew the first time I met Mike that he
had a passion for life, incredible values, and the ability to make
a difference.”In management news, Global Spectrum and SMG
have announced new promotions. Ben Weiss has been named the new
general manager of the 10,000-seat Mullins Center arena in Amherst.
Weiss formerly was assistant general manager of Global
Spectrum-managed Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ. Weiss joined
Global Spectrum’s parent company Comcast-Spectacor in
February 2001, working with the Philadelphia Charge of the
Women’s United Soccer Association and Philadelphia KIXX of
the Major Indoor Soccer League before joining the Wachovia Complex
Group Sales department in January 2002. He was named sports manager
for the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers in 2004. He became event
manager at Sovereign Bank Arena in 2004, and was named the
facility’s assistant general manager in 2005.On the West
Coast, Tina Suca has been named general manager of The Forum in Los
Angeles. Suca is replacing former manager Gene Felling.Suca has
seventeen years of music industry experience, focusing primarily on
working with live entertainment. Prior to joining SMG, she worked
with Live Nation as the general manager of The Wiltern and for Jack
Utsick Presents as vice president of booking and event management.
Suca has also been an artist relations manager at the House of
Blues Sunset Strip location where she booked local talent and
handled venue operations.Finally, Bismarck (N.D.) Civic Center
Manager Dick Petersen has announced his retirement. A receptionist
at his office said Petersen’s retirement is officially
scheduled for Oct. 31, but he has accumulated enough vacation to
leave the facility immediately. Petersen had managed the facility
for 15 years. — Dave BrooksInterviewed for this article: Bob
Wagner, (714) 704-2400; Brad Mayne, (214) 665-4220