Michael T. Lehr serves as the President and CEO of Sharks Minor Holdings, LLC and the Worcester Sharks. Lehr’s experience and expertise direct the day-to-day business operations of the Sharks minor league operations, while serving as the direct liaison to the Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment ownership group. In addition, he is responsible for various parts of the SVSE operations, including the exploration of new opportunities in domestic and international properties. He is the day-to-day representative on the AHL Board of Governors, serving as the Sharks Alternate Governor.
It was through his due diligence and intuition that the Worcester Sharks came into existence on January 9, 2006. Lehr immediately knew the possibilities of the Worcester market and the city’s passion for hockey. He worked extremely hard to form a mutually beneficial partnership with the DCU Center and city leaders to return AHL hockey to the city. Lehr knew that pacts as strong as the current one between the team, city and building are what make successful franchises at all levels of sport. His close working relationship with David Andrews and the AHL Board of Governors led too the unanimous approval of the franchise for the 2006-07 season.
Lehr’s mission is threefold: 1) to help the Sharks develop their young talent to play in the NHL, while winning both the Stanley and Calder Cups; 2) make Worcester Sharks a successful member of the business community as a stand alone business; and 3) integrate the Sharks into the fabric of the Worcester Community.
Over the past three seasons, Lehr has guided the Worcester Sharks to become one of the top regarded franchises in the AHL. Along with Michael Mudd, he was instrumental in developing and producing the Worcester bid to the AHL Board of Governors in order to secure the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic for the city of Worcester, the first time in 50 years the AHL All-Star Classic was held in Massachusetts. The 2009 AHL All-Star Classic was a tremendous success, with all four events filled to capacity and showcased the city of Worcester to host such an event.
Under the direction of Lehr, the Worcester Sharks have developed and implemented several groundbreaking community initiatives including the “Be a Leader” program and the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics Massachusetts. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to joining Sharks Minor holdings, Lehr successfully worked in Major League Baseball and for regional sports networks. He served as the Regional Director of Programming and Network Operations for SportsChannel Ohio in Cleveland and Cincinnati from 1991-1993. Under his direction, SportsChannel captured its first local Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sports Coverage" of Indians Baseball. He also spent time in management roles with Prime Cable of Chicago and Westinghouse Broadcasting, Inc.
In 1993, Lehr became Director of Broadcasting for the Cleveland Indians. During his tenure with the Indians, he oversaw the creation of the Indians Radio Network, negotiated broadcasting contracts and successfully engineered the formation of ballpark entertainment at Jacobs Field.
In 1996 he joined the Baltimore Orioles as Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting. While with the Orioles, Lehr was responsible for overseeing many facets of the organization including marketing, broadcasting, advertising, corporate partnerships, luxury suite sales, retail operations, on-line ventures, ballpark entertainment, publishing, fantasy camps, spring training operations, promotions and ticket sales. Under his leadership, the Orioles more than doubled their corporate sponsorship and broadcasting revenues while setting a franchise high in ticket sales. He was a member of both the Marketing and Advertising committees for Major League Baseball.
Immediately prior to joining Sharks Minor Holdings, he served as Managing Partner and Co-founder of Power Plant Studios, a full-service marketing, management and communications group whose clients included Cal Ripken, Jr.
Lehr’s commitment to the community has followed him in each city he has lived. He has been active for such charity groups as Big & Little Brothers, Cleveland Indians Charities, Orioles Foundation, American Lung Association, Grant-A-Wish, YMCA, Special Olympics, Cleveland Sports Commission and several other youth sports organizations.
A native of Chicago, Lehr earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.