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On the Hot Seat

NHL lockout offers challenge for top Garden executive

Amy Latimer, president, TD Garden.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Amy Latimer, president, TD Garden.

Amy Latimer’s first days as the new president of TD Garden are anything but business as usual. The 46-year-old is dealing with a National Hockey League lockout and the possibility that the season could be canceled. Latimer, who joined the Garden in 1996, has made her mark over the years with innovative premium seating concepts and the launch of Boston Bruins Digital Entertainment Network. Latimer recently spoke with Globe reporter Jenn Abelson.

How does the NHL lockout complicate your job?

The good news is that I’ve been through this before. It’s my fourth lockout. For me, it’s just making sure that we are taking care of our clients — especially our premium clients and our sponsors. We need to give them other opportunities if the season is delayed or canceled to advertise in the building, extra concert tickets, or parquet time to make up for games not being played.

Do you do anything for fans?

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We froze our ticket prices next year for season-ticket holders.

Are you making contingency plans to host other events in case the season is canceled?

We’re in a waiting game right now. You can’t plan something too far down the road because it could get resolved. It’s not easy.

What lesson did you learn from the last lockout?

Internally we need to be keeping our staff engaged. The good news for us is that we have other events and things to direct their energy. We have so many concerts coming up we can divert sales teams and marketing teams to those. You don’t want stay stagnant.

Fewer artists than ever have the name and clout to fill spaces like the Garden. How has the decline of the music industry affected business?

This has been a good concert season for us. We have eight more shows through the end of this year.

It had been lighter in the past few years and there haven’t been as many multi-date tours, like U2 having five shows. But we still get ones that can do well in the building. We have Justin Bieber, and we’re going out soon with Pink tickets.

There are few female executives who run large sports and entertainment arenas. How can you make this business more accessible to women?

I want to be a good role model so people can see it is possible for a woman to run a major facility. Having more women on the sales side elevates them. I encourage women to make sure they have a balance of marketing and sales. Analytics is going to be the hot career in sports going forward, so I encourage women to look at that.

What is the Garden doing to keep up in terms of amenities?

We began gutting the suites this summer. We put in larger flat-screen televisions, modern food warmers, more communal seating, granite countertops, and more branding opportunities for clients. The thing I’m most excited about is the ticket reader at the entrance to the suites that only allows you to enter if you have the correct ticket.

What is your favorite sport to watch in the Garden, and where’s the best place to sit?

NHL hockey is such an amazing sport live. Everything can change in a second. I have two favorite spots. I like level nine where the media is because you get to see the whole ice. The other is right down on the glass. We have seats in between the two benches. They are unbelievable — you hear coaches, you hear players. You feel like you’re in the game. I don’t sit there very often. We sell those and use those for clients.

Do your children think you have the best job?

Well, all three of my sons got to experience the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run, and the oldest got to see the Celtics win the NBA Finals. When I got the job recently, my oldest posted “I’m so proud of my Mom” on Facebook. That meant more to me than any title.

Jenn Abelson can be reached at abelson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jennabelson.
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