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Columbia College Grad Combines Love for Hockey, Kids

Avid hockey fan Carly Pribich was simply browsing through the Chicago Wolves Web site when she found something that really caught her eye. There was a job opening at the Kids Zone, a kids’ entertainment center that runs during all home Wolves games. It was the last day to apply, so Pribich took a shot.

It has now been 2 1/2 years since Carly Pribich, 24, got the job with the Wolves, and it has opened her up to multiple other job opportunities, including an internship and a small job with the White Sox. It could also open doors for a career in sports marketing.

The Kids Zone offers multiple activities for kids during home Wolves games. “Kids can shoot pucks, take pictures in cut-outs and play games,” Pribich said.

Parents can drop their kids off at the start of the game and the Kids Zone activities run until the start of the third period. There are also Saturday fun festivals for ticket holders, who can spend time with their kids at the Allstate Arena doing things like bags, face painting, and even trying on hockey equipment.

Growing up, Pribich was always a hockey fan. Her father is a longtime Blackhawks fan who has season tickets every year and loved to bring her along. “Carly really enjoys the game and understands it completely,” her father, John Pribich, said. “She’s been going to home Blackhawks games with me for 10 years now.”

Her cousin, Alyse Howard, remembers Pribich always being into sports when she was growing up. “When she was little, she was always a tomboy,” Howard said.

Pribich later ditched the tomboy look but kept the love for sports. “I’ve always been in love with two things – make-up and hockey,” Pribich explained. It was while she was employed at Ulta, a beauty store, that she finally thought about her future involving hockey. She had tons of ideas for promoting and at the time, hockey was not as popular as it now is. “I was like, you know what? I could get paid for this,” Pribich remembers.

From then on, Pribich focused on trying to find job opportunities in hockey. After taking courses at College of DuPage, she transferred to Columbia College Chicago to pursue a degree in marketing with an emphasis on sports. In September 2007, she found the Kids Zone job on the Chicago Wolves site while still taking classes at Columbia. She graduated in May 2009. Although she would like a full-time job, seeing as the Kids Zone job is just part-time, Pribich finds this job to be one of the best part-time jobs she could hope for. “They treat you really well and I get free tickets to every game,” she said.

The job at the Kids Zone has opened Pribich up to many other opportunities as well. “One day, I just offered to help and I was made the community relations intern,” she recalls. It was a paid intern position and Pribich dealt with not only office work, but also many mascot appearances. She would go to local rinks and guide the mascot around to say hello to fans. Pribich was also in charge of preparing new player welcome packages and decided to revamp the whole thing. New players were given lists of different hot spots, such as clubs, malls and restaurants, so they would have an easier time adjusting to living in a new place.

During the 2008 season, Pribich worked for the White Sox on top of her Wolves job. She was a member of the Pride Crew, a group of girls who handed out promotional prizes during home games at US Cellular Field. “The main reason I got that job was because of the Wolves job,” Pribich said.

Her sister, Dana Pribich, thinks the job is a perfect fit for Carly. “She has a lot of experience with [babysitting] kids, so she’s good at it,” Dana explained. Of course, Dana and her parents love the perks of Carly’s job, such as the free tickets and getting tours of the arena. In regard to Carly’s future jobs, Dana is positive she will find something with her degree. “She would be good with marketing because she’s assertive, but not pushy,” Dana said.

Howard also thinks Carly Pribich is right at home working for the Wolves. “She is great with kids and knows her sports so I think it’s a great job for her,” Howard said. Howard has no doubt Pribich will make it in the marketing world. “She is very good at persuading someone to buy something,” Howard stated. “She has a very professional manner about her when it comes to any job that she does.”

Could this part-time job be the start of Carly Pribich’s marketing career in hockey? John Pribich has no doubt his daughter will find something in the marketing aspect of the game. “She would be a nice fit on the marketing end for any sports related game,” he said. “She’s aware of what a fan would want to see so she knows how fan interaction can benefit the team.”

Katie Schwebel, Pribich’s cousin, thinks that Pribich has the right combination to take lead in a career in marketing. “She is so passionate about the sport and has the type of personality that everyone loves,” Schwebel said. “She’s very easy to get along with and is a very intelligent person.”

Carly Pribich hopes to move into marketing soon, but her only worry is the schedule for the job. “You have to start with ticket sales and work your way up,” she explained. “I would work the regular nine-to-five hours in addition to every home game. I wouldn’t get a day off,” she said. There are usually two to three home games per week from October until April, even more if the team makes it into the playoffs. For now, the Kids Zone job is just right for Carly Pribich. “Carly has a real knack for what she does,” her sister, Dana, said. “ I hope that bigger opportunities will come her way because I know she will succeed.”

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