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Guy Behind the Guy: Intern Ring of Honor

Thursday, 04.9.2009 / 11:48 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Mike Sundheim
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Guy Behind the Guy: Intern Ring of Honor
Tuesday night was a fun night in the press box for a number of reasons, but one bonus reason for those of us in the PR department was that it meant the return of one of our most accomplished former interns to Raleigh. Josh Bernstein, an intern from 2006-2008, is now on the media relations staff for the New York Islanders.

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With Josh in town, Kyle and I decided that the time was right for a fun little project that we had been thinking about: an intern “ring of honor.” The idea was that we would honor some of our top interns from the past 10 years with little banners hanging from the ceiling in the most appropriate place possible: the tiny little press box media relations closet/copy room/sweat box.

So Tuesday night, in a brief ceremony during the second intermission, we inducted the first two members of the Carolina Hurricanes Media Relations Intern Ring of Honor: Paul Branecky and Josh Bernstein. Here are the bios for the charter members of our little honored club. Please keep in mind that these are autobiographical, and enjoy.

Paul Branecky

After an upbringing that took him through three different countries, Branecky followed the Hurricanes franchise to North Carolina in 1997 (that’s dedication!) and now considers the Triangle his home. 

As an impressionable freshman at the University of North Carolina, a young Branecky first learned of the wonders of working in the sports world through a presentation by Hurricanes Director of Media Relations Mike Sundheim to the Carolina Sports Business Club. Intrigued, he continued his brown-nosing by choosing Manager of Media Relations Kyle Hanlin as the subject for his “Interview a Public Relations Professional” assignment at school the following year.

To build his credentials, Branecky spent a summer working as an office intern for the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL, where he performed a number of crucial tasks, including a notable appearance as “Chubby Checker,” the team’s lovable polar bear mascot, at the grand opening of a wireless store in beautiful Monroe, North Carolina.

With that under his belt, Branecky was hired in August of 2005 to join the media relations staff both in the office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings as well as game nights. At the time of his joining the staff, the Hurricanes were expected by many to finish near the bottom of the league, but thanks in no small part to his prompt delivery of news clippings and stats packages to the Hurricanes locker room, finished the year as part of the only intern class with a Stanley Cup ring (it was a replica version he had to pay for, but still).

In November of the following season, Paul was brought in full time as the team’s Web Producer, a role in which he handles the majority of day-to-day updates to the site, provides original content and handles the team’s CanesConnect email campaign.

He currently lives in Raleigh with his wife, Quinn, and dog, Staley, and occasionally still fixes the copier on the fifth floor.

Josh Bernstein

Bernstein, a native New Yorker, brought some Northern flair to an intern class dominated by Tar Heel Staters. Brought in to keep the Media Relations Staff functioning at full capacity following the 2006 Stanley Cup run, Bernstein worked M-W-F in the office as well as game nights. Along with fellow office intern Q. McGee, Bernstein led his 2007 intern group to the highest attendance rating in Hurricanes’ history (for both work and non-work related functions). He also established the record for most baked goods eaten in the Media Relations suite without ever bringing in any himself.

As the lone returning member in the 2008 class, Bernstein became increasingly valuable in the office. He worked on special projects for head coach Peter Laviolette and set the record for most office hours worked by an intern in Hurricanes’ history. Bernstein also shattered records for copies made, charts updated and clips run off. He returned as the grizzled veteran on game nights, working as a statistician in the away television booth, while still keeping tabs on copies and out-of-town scores. Bernstein was also influential in the development of intern Stacy Wells, who currently works mornings and game nights.

Unfortunately, Bernstein’s off-ice success didn’t translate to Hurricanes’ on-ice performance as the team missed the playoffs during both years of his tenure. Bernstein hung up his intern credential in May of 2008 after graduating from UNC and took a job in media relations with the New York Islanders. Upon his return to Raleigh earlier this year, the Hurricanes broke the ‘Bernstein hex’ and clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons. Bernstein was in attendance for Tuesday night’s game as a member of the working media and was honored to be a part of the inaugural banner raising ceremony.

He currently resides on Long Island with his dog, Nash.

Media Alerts
Both of Jim Rutherford's interviews with local sports talk stations last night are available online today. Hear his interview with Mike Maniscalco of 99.9 The Fan here. His call-in with Morgan Patrick of 850 The Buzz is available here.

Also, Eric Staal's interview on Leafs Lunch on AM640 in Toronto yesterday is available here.

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