(June 23, 2018) When the Mississippi RiverKings called a staff meeting last month, T.J. Chillot assumed it was routine business. Instead, staff members were told the team was folding after 26 years.
It was the one-year anniversary of Chillot joining the organization. Fortunately, an upcoming 72-hour period would change Chillot’s career.
An STAA member, Chillot is the new Director of Broadcasting, PR, and Group Sales for the NAHL’s Austin Bruins.
The first emotions Chillot experienced upon learning the RiverKings fate were shock and bewilderment. “This was an organization that had been in operation continuously since 1992; a reality that I used heavily when making my decision to join the team last summer,” he recalls. “While I certainly knew it was possible, I never thought it was plausible, and therefore never seriously considered the team shutting down as something I would experience.”
Chillot felt great trepidation about his future.
“I only had one year of professional broadcasting under my belt and was suddenly being forced to job hunt. It was also early into the summer and some of the dominos hadn’t fallen yet in other leagues, so jobs were scarce.”
Weeks after RiverKings news, Chillot received a job lead featuring the Austin Bruins opportunity that was sent exclusively to STAA members. It was a Friday.
“I applied that day,” Chillot recounts. “[Bruins GM Craig Patrick] called me Saturday night to discuss the position, and he formally offered me the job on Sunday. I accepted on Monday.
“On the day it was announced to us that the RiverKings were ceasing operations, I began leaning on STAA to help me in my hunt. It helped me land my gig with Mississippi in 2017 and just like last summer, I have STAA to thank for my new role in Austin.”
“I was worried that in order to keep the dream alive I would have to take any job that came my way, even if it wasn’t the best fit. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case when I started speaking with Craig Patrick and Mike Cooper of the Bruins. I don’t think I could have dreamed up a better fit.”
(Visit TJ’s website).