Camryn Connors Wins State Championship for Presentation on Warriors

Mar 18, 2024

When Mary Anne Choi founded the Warriors organization, she became a trailblazer for women working in hockey from day one. Her impact on the Oklahoma City community and the next generation now includes a gold medal.

Camryn Connors, Oklahoma Warriors intern and Mustang High School sophomore, took home first place in Oklahoma DECA’s Integrated Marketing Campaign Event competition in February.

A two-month undertaking which culminated in an oral presentation, written entry, and a marketing exam, Connors was tasked with simulating a 45-day marketing campaign for a real sporting or entertainment event. She chose to present on her hometown hockey team and their championship owner.

“Mary Anne is an inspiration for me, being a female in sports,” Connors said. “During my presentation, I wore an orange blazer with matching orange heels and the ‘MA’ pin on the blazer. It was a cool way to honor her. I started my presentation by telling her story and explaining why (the Warriors) are important. I ended it by saying the purpose of (the campaign) is to keep this team up to her championship standards. It was a cool way to honor her legacy because she is a huge inspiration for me.”

Camryn Connors holding her first place plaque and medal at Rose State College in Midwest City.

Connors took on the role of marketing manager for the competition, which pitted her against individuals and groups from across the state of Oklahoma. Researching and presenting on her own, Camryn worked with the Warriors to compile as much information as she could about the organization and its success over time.

“I learned, through the data, how big the Warriors fan base is becoming,” Connors reflected. “The growth is so cool considering it is such a small hockey market. I have even seen personally, the first day I walked into my first job, the lady showing me around had the Warriors logo as her wallpaper. To be able to do something to show (the Warriors) off was a cool opportunity.”

Connors has been surrounded by hockey her entire life. Her father, Sean, competed for five seasons as a goaltender for the Oklahoma City Blazers and amassed 184 games played during that time. Camryn was born during Sean’s final season in 2007-08. Christian, her younger brother, plays on the Oklahoma Jr. Warriors’ 14U Major team.

“I was super proud of her,” Sean said. “I knew she had a passion to win, but with her thinking so much of Mary Anne and what she has been able to do, I think that drove her even more. We were all big fans of what Mary Anne accomplished and put together, so it is fun to watch Camryn try to emulate that on a different level.”

When the Warriors were preparing their move from Wichita Falls in 2022, Sean was one of multiple Oklahoma City locals who took a trip to watch a game at the Kay Yeager Coliseum and meet Choi. He recalls knowing immediately how much passion Mary Anne had for her hockey team. Camryn shares that same determination as she begins her career working in sports.

“I have grown up around the sport,” Camryn said. “It has been a huge deal in my family. When my brother first started playing, I did not watch many of his games. The more I started watching, the more I fell in love with the sport, so it became, ‘What can I do to be a part of this industry?’”

Camryn, whose desire to work in sports was cemented through the project, is interested in both the marketing and broadcasting fields, particularly within hockey.

“It is such a well-deserved accomplishment,” Garrett Roth, Warriors’ head coach and general manager, said. “It is awesome to see Camryn’s hard work and diligence towards understanding how an NAHL organization operates. The focus Camryn put into every aspect of her presentation exceeded what groups were able to accomplish on a state level. That deserves to be recognized and we could not be prouder of how she represented our Oklahoma Warriors brand.”

Connors started working on the project towards the end of December. She presented her trifold board and oral portion—reciting all her facts and statistics from memory—to judges on February 14. Without knowing her score, Camryn returned to Rose State College in Midwest City the next day and was called up on stage as a finalist. When she left the stage with her first prize medal and plaque in hand, the significance of that accomplishment set in.

“I went back to my seat and started bawling,” Camryn said. “I was thinking, ‘I got to do this for Mary Anne.’ That was my first thought. It was a cool moment. I am sitting there in the first row hoping these people on the stage do not think I am crazy, bawling, but that was exactly what I thought in the moment. I get to do this for her.”

Sean Connors (right), goaltender for the Oklahoma City Blazers, with Camryn on the ice after a game in 2008.

Mary Anne always believed that the connection between an organization and the people it serves is the single most important aspect of running a junior hockey team. While the Warriors have developed dozens of their own hockey players over the last four years, Choi’s strong foundation continues to touch the lives of the next generation.

“Mary Anne was all about the youth hockey community here in Oklahoma City,” Roth said. “I do not think Mary Anne realized the impact she made on the youth with respect to what a woman with a vision and belief can achieve. Camryn’s achievement would have been more important to Mary Anne than anything we could ever accomplish on the ice because she believed in making an impact in the community. I fully believe that is the legacy she has left behind.”

The work is far from over for Camryn. She will soon head to the DECA International Career Development Conference to present against students from all 50 states and internationally. With her first-place finish, Camryn earned a paid bid to travel to the conference in Anaheim, Calif., which begins on April 27.

DECA is a high school and collegiate organization providing learning opportunities and experiences in entrepreneurship, marketing, management, and similar fields. More than 250,000 high school students are currently DECA members.

“I had a lot of people tell me this is a winning presentation,” Camryn said. “I do not even think it was really my presentation. It was so easy to make my presentation so good because of Mary Anne’s story and the story of the organization. The organization made the project.”