1Give us a brief background on yourself. How did you get into the sports industry?
I was always extremely athletic growing up. I not only loved to play all sports, but greatly enjoyed watching them as well.
For those who know me, I am very outgoing. When I was looking to pursue a post-secondary education, I came across Ryerson University’s (Toronto Metropolitan) Sport Media program.
I looked into it and decided that broadcasting was something that I was very interested in, as it would not only allow me the opportunity to continue my passion for sports but be able to showcase my personality as well.
Growing up in London, Ont., I was always a fan of Toronto sports teams, so having the opportunity to move to a big city and immerse myself in the sports industry was always my first goal. Since then, I’ve worked for U Sports, the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, CBC Sports, TSN, and now the Ontario Hockey League.
2Tell us about your role as the Manager of Communications for the Ontario Hockey League and what does a typical day look like for you?
I started my role as the Ontario Hockey League’s Communications Manager in December of 2021.
After gaining meaningful sport industry experience through past jobs and internships, it provided me with the ability to find a role that I truly enjoy.
My role primarily consists of creating digital video content for our social outlets and website which includes conducting weekly on-camera recap videos throughout the season, interviewing players and other individuals across the League, as well as writing content and League updates.
I cover game nights with social content across the League, as well as travel to special events and playoffs to moderate press conferences, conduct interviews and capture social content.
My job involves communicating with not only those working in the head office but with the communications departments of each of our teams as well.
3I’d imagine working in the OHL is different than the previous organizations you’ve been with. How does it differ from those other environments?
Working in the OHL has been much different than my other roles in the sport industry.
My current role with the League gives me the opportunity to not only apply my media and broadcasting skills but continue to strengthen my communications skills as well.
It’s a completely different experience working at a head office of a sports league as you’re also working with the individual teams.
In terms of the people - it’s an amazing team. Everyone is extremely passionate about the success of the League and pushes to make it better every single season.
4You started out as an intern at U Sports. What are the things you learned in your first role that helps you succeed in your current role with the OHL?
It’s very important to take internships to gain experience when wanting to build a strong resume.
Though it’s not very comparable to the type of work I do now, U Sports was my first real job in the sports industry.
It opened my eyes to the world of communications and showed me that social media is a key part of the sports industry and that you’re able to build a strong career within it.
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5How does your experience of being an athlete help you today as you continue to pursue a career in sports media?
I always loved soccer growing up as I played Level 1 (equivalent to AAA in youth hockey) and then went on to play at the University level.
I was and still am an extremely competitive person and know that to see results, you need to put in 100 percent. I carry that with me into my professional career.
The sport media industry is small and competitive.
6You currently hold a role in communications. Do you envision yourself staying in this side of the industry or do you eventually want to venture into something else?
I greatly enjoy working in communications.
I think my role is unique in the sense that I still get to do broadcasting, which has always been my dream. I’m very happy with all the cards I get to hold here at the OHL and see myself continuing in this type of role.
Looking forward to the future, there’s still lots to learn and opportunities to be had.
7As someone who is still relatively new to the industry, yet has already had a ton of experience with various organizations, what is the best advice you can give to people aspiring to enter the sports industry?
The best advice that I can give someone is to jump in headfirst.
My experience in the industry came with a lot of sacrifice.
You must be willing to take opportunities that you don’t necessarily dream of or enjoy doing to obtain that experience and build your resume.
I would also suggest reaching out to people in the industry to build connections and learn. Taking the initiative and dedicating time and effort will set you apart from others.
A piece of advice that I still hold onto is that if you have a certain aspect of the industry that you’re passionate about such as writing, videography, design, etc., build yourself a portfolio and submit it to companies with your resume.
It’s important to find a way to set yourself apart from others.
Mike's Final Thoughts
While still being a young professional in the sports media industry, Joelle Wood has experienced various roles across different organizations that have led her to become the Ontario Hockey League's Communications Manager. As a youth-level and University-level soccer athlete, and an outgoing person, she went into sports broadcasting as a way for her to continue her passion for sports and showcase her personality. Joelle notes how her communications role at the OHL is unique because it still allows her to fulfill her dream job of broadcasting, while also growing in the field of communications. As someone who went through several internships, she advises aspiring sports professionals to take advantage of whatever opportunities that may come and continue holding on to their passions while making sacrifices along the way.