Black, green and gold: the colors Keith Ricci grew up wearing.
Ricci, who was raised 90 minutes from TD Garden, Boston, knew from a young age that he wanted to surround himself with Boston sports. When he graduated from WVU CPASS in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management, he set out to begin his career in the industry.
“After graduating from WVU, I applied to jobs with sports teams all over the country,” Ricci said. “Since I was looking for my first job and trying to get my foot in the door, I wasn’t picky and was willing to go anywhere.”
That mentality took him to Florida for his first post-collegiate job. It was not the perfect fit, but Ricci realized his goal less than half a year later
“The Tampa Bay Rays offered me an entry level sales position and I accepted knowing that it would be an experience necessary to get a job with a Boston team,” Ricci said. “Five months later, after applying online, the Bruins offered me a position to manage season ticket accounts for them.”
Ricci held that role from 2012 to June 2017, when the organization promoted him to fan relations manager and gave him an entire department, and 12,000 season ticket holders, to oversee.
According to Ricci, the ability to successfully manage comes from internships and experiences with CPASS and the Sport Management Club.
“The big benefit of CPASS was getting exposed to all the different fields within the sport industry,” Ricci said. “In my current position, I work alongside Hockey Ops, Marketing, Finance, Community Relations, Facility Ops and others on different projects throughout the year. Which is what I love about Sport Management – it prepares you for the different facets of the very diverse sport industry.
“Also, as the Coordinator of the Sport Management Club, I learned a lot about organizing events and handling people. Both skill sets are a big part of my job now,” Ricci said.
In terms of internships, Ricci made the most of opportunities presented by WVU. To build his resume, which he attributes to getting a job right out of college, he interned with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and for WVU Sports Communication during the football and basketball seasons.
“All of these experiences were critical for my growth,” Ricci said. “Too many graduates enter the world with empty resumes – your time at college is the time to add meat to your resumes so you stick out amongst the thousands of applicants!”
Ricci added that having a well-rounded resume is crucial to employers. He receives 100-200 resumes a day. It is easier to select the qualified applicants because he is keenly aware of pertinent versus superfluous information.
“Use your time in college doing internships and volunteering so your resume is ready for the job market,” Ricci said. “When you graduate, don’t be picky, apply everywhere around the country. Get your foot in the door. Then after that first experience, you’ll be a more desirable applicant and can be more selective on where you want to live and where you want to work.”
What Ricci has learned from his work during college and over his six and a half years with the Bruins organization is that every day at work is different, an aspect that he appreciates.
“A normal day for me is providing support for my staff, organizing events for our clients like player meet and greets or viewing parties, working with the Box Office regarding ticketing and finances, and working with Marketing regarding client communications,” Ricci said.
“That’s the beauty of the job, it’s never the same day twice. I’m always working on new projects with other departments. Every day is different and every project is different depending on the time of the year – whether it’s the offseason, regular season, playoffs,” he said.
All that work, although the dream job for Ricci, comes at the cost of things like a normal sleep schedule.
“I didn’t anticipate how tiring the hockey season can be,” he said. “Going into my first season I was excited that I got to attend every Bruins game for work, and while I still love going to every game, after seven seasons I realize how tiring it is and how deserving my summer vacations are. The season isn’t just long for players – it’s long for us front office staffers too.”
A schedule of 41 home games from September to May seems like a daunting task, but for Ricci, every game feels like the first.
“Working for a Boston sports team has always been a dream of mine,” he said. “Although I’ve been with the Bruins for seven seasons, I still get a sense of excitement when I walk into the Garden and see the Bruins ice or the Celtics floor.”
Ricci says that one aspect of his job that he loves is the passion that Bruins fans have for the town, the sport, and their team.
“Whether they’re happy or mad, they’re passionate because they really care about our team,” Ricci said. “As America’s first NHL organization, our expectation every year is to compete for the Stanley Cup, and the fans hold us to that high standard.”