‘Big’ idea custom-made for fan experience

Paul Mayne // Western NewsDan Durack, Sports and Recreation’s Event and Video Coordinator, kicks back and relaxes on a giant Muskoka chair at TD Stadium. Durack built the chair as a way to add to the gameday experience at the Mustangs football games for fans to snap a few pics and share on social media.

It may not be the best seat in the house – but it is the biggest.

While hundreds of fans visited that giant Mustang purple Muskoka chair outside TD Stadium last weekend, they may not have known it to be the handywork of Dan Durack, Sports and Recreation’s Event and Video Coordinator.

“I was in a meeting with Jeff Snyder (Marketing and Sponsorship Manager) and we were tossing around ideas about photos opportunities for fans to share on Instagram while at the games,” Durack explained. “I had a couple ideas in mind, so he left it with me to figure something out.”

Durack found examples of giant chairs on Pinterest and figured he would give constructing one a shot.

“I picked up about couple hundred dollar worth of wood and was given very, very loose instructions,” laughed Durack, who finished the chair in one day. “I had the dimensions I was going to need and kind of took it from there. There was a lot of guesswork and some angles to figure out, but I think it turned out good.”

With the help of a few people and a dolly, the chair made its Mustangs football debut at the season opener Monday. Fans eagerly jumped on to get a photo. Durack estimates you can get up to eight people on the chair at once.

“It’s all about the gameday experience for us,” he said. “Does Muskoka have anything to do with Western? No. Does it have anything to do with football? No. But it is a fun, Western-specific piece that gets fans smiling and taking a few photos. We want the fans to enjoy every part of being at a Mustangs game.”

Durack and others even bantered around the idea of creating a Game of Thrones-type chair made entirely from wooden hockey sticks for Thompson Arena. But with composite sticks dominating the ice, finding enough old wooden sticks may put a damper on those plans.

“If we can come up with some other fun ideas, this may not be the last thing we do like this,” Durack said.