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Royals Promote MacDonald to Head Equipment Manager & Director of Hockey Operations, Three Additional Staff Members

Royals Promote MacDonald to Head Equipment Manager & Director of Hockey Operations, Three Additional Staff Members

by Reading Royals

The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, announced the following promotions:

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Reading Royals,” Team President David Farrar stated. “We’re coming off a season where we increased our sales by ​10% and saw growth in both our revenue and attendance. We are excited for the promotions and additions we’ve made for the future.”

MacDonald’s new role will provide oversight of the Reading Royals’ day-to-day operations, equipment, travel, and player housing.

“I would like to thank David and Jason for the opportunity to lead the Royals hockey operations department,” said MacDonald. “I look forward to continuing to provide professional excellence to our players and staff as we carry on with our top priority, which is bringing the Kelly Cup back to Penn St.”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, MacDonald has been Reading’s Equipment Manager since the start of the 2015-16 season. In 2018-19, MacDonald was named the ECHL’s Equipment Manager of the Year. The distinction, determined in a vote of the league’s equipment managers and athletic trainers, marked MacDonald’s first and the Royals’ fourth Equipment Manager of the Year selection. MacDonald has worked as an equipment manager since 2000-01, when he started as an assistant for the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. In 2001-02, MacDonald was an assistant equipment manager for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, and the team won the Calder Cup. MacDonald’s experience includes stints in the NHL, AHL, ECHL and CHL.

Hazel’s new role will be to oversee the Royals’ ticketing department.

“I am excited and proud to step into the role of Director of Ticketing with the Royals,” said Hazel. “Having started as an intern, this journey has been one of incredible growth and opportunity. I am excited to continue our success and ensure our fans have the best possible experience at the Santander Arena.”

Hazel, a Reading, Pennsylvania native, is entering his 11th season with the Royals. He began his tenure as a merchandising intern in 2014 and started as a full-time member of the Royals in 2016 as a Client Development Executive. Since then, Hazel has received promotions to Group Sales Manager (2018-21), Director of Group Sales (2021-24), and now the Director of Ticketing.

Witman will oversee the growth of the Reading Junior Royals program and the continued development of youth hockey players in the association.

“I’d like to thank David and Dakota for this opportunity to take a bigger role in the youth program,” said Witman. “I’m very excited to see what the future holds for all the kids in the program. We have a good group to grow from, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.”

Since joining the Royals on June 1, 2024, as an Assistant Director of Youth Hockey, Witman has helped execute and expand the Reading Junior Royals program. Under Witman’s tootalege, the Junior Royals placed in the A American division in the Delaware Valley Hockey League. The placement comes after the Junior Royals 12-0 record showing at the DVHL Placement Tournament in April.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, and graduate of Wilson High School, Witman attended the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management. He played hockey for SUNY-Fredonia in the NCAA-III after previously playing for the New Jersey Titans (2018-19) in the North American Hockey League and Philadelphia Revolution (2015-18) in the Eastern Hockey League. Growing up, Witman played for the Junior Royals (2003-2005).

Eckert will provide service and contact with corporate partners, as well as lead the organization and execution of team-centric events.

“Stepping into the role of Corporate Partnerships and Special Events Manager at the Reading Royals provides me the opportunity to orchestrate engaging events for our dedicated fan base, and I am privileged to continue collaborating with the esteemed businesses within Berks County,” said Eckert. “I am truly honored to plan new and exciting events for the organization.”

Eckert is a native of Berks County, entering her third season with the Royals. She began with the organization in January of 2022 as the Partnership Coordinator. Eckert attended East Stroudsburg University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management, and Communication Studies, and then went on to earn her master’s degree in marketing at Southern New Hampshire University.