A lifelong dream came true for Brian Suslow ’21 in June when he got to attend an NHL Stanley Cup Finals hockey game. What he never imagined was that he would be working at it, too.
More than 5,000 people applied for internships within the Washington Capitals organization this spring and Brian was one of just 30 chosen. He credits his love of hockey, his drive to pursue a career in professional hockey, as well as St. Lawrence’s Career Services office, with why.
“During my first year, I stopped into Career Services one day and met with a staff member and told her what I wanted to do,” he explains. “She worked with me on my LinkedIn profile and gave me names of alumni in the field so I could network with them and find out more about working in sports and hockey.”
Over the course of the semester, Brian made a number of appointments with Career Services staff and Peer Mentors, who helped strengthen his resume and cover letters. “Everyone I talked with on the Career Services staff, as well as the alumni, genuinely wanted to help me. And they did.”
Brian, who is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, moved to Washington, D.C., in May to intern with the Washington Capitals’ Community Relations team. When he accepted the internship, Brian didn’t know he was going to be living in a place about to celebrate its first professional sports championship since 1992 and that he would be at the center of it all.
Things moved very quickly during his first weeks with the organization as the Capitals inched closer to victory. Brian helped connect fans with player merchandise during Game 4 of the final series and while Washington clinched the Cup in Game 5 out in Las Vegas, Brian and thousands of other fans watched from the jumbotron at Capital One Arena.
“The seas of red outside of the arena… it was unbelievable,” he explains. “It was a moment I’ll never forget.”
Brian’s work with the Capitals’ Community Relations team has involved a number of day-to-day responsibilities, as well as tasks during the Capitals’ Celebration Parade and at the team’s Fan Fest event in June. One of his favorite assignments was working with STREET CAPS, a program designed to introduce the sport of street hockey to local youth and make it accessible to everyone in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. “Seeing kids pick up a hockey stick for the first time and play the game – I can’t describe that feeling,” he says.
He has also enjoyed seeing the inner workings of the organization during one of the most exciting times in the franchise’s history.
“It has been an eye-opening experience because I don’t think people realize how much goes into everything behind the scenes,” Brian explains. “What has impressed me the most is how much this organization has wanted to share this experience with the community and its fans. They’ve done a great job making sure everyone knows they are a part of this victory, too.”
The internship has helped solidify Brian’s career goals and he is confident the next three years at St. Lawrence will help prepare him even more for success. “Now I know I want to pursue a career working in professional hockey,” Brian says. “I plan to network with and learn from more alumni, and I hope to get some more work experience with the hockey team on campus.”