The SkySox are in a state of shock following the tragic accident involving longtime front office executive Rai Henniger, who was injured on May 12 while setting up a fireworks display before a Pacific Coast League game against Nashville.
Henniger, the team’s executive vice president of marketing, handles the team’s on-field promotions and was setting up a fireworks display underneath a scoreboard’”where pyrotechnics are also launched following the national anthem and home runs’”when an explosion occurred. He was rushed to a local hospital in Colorado Springs before being airlifted to Denver. Team spokesman Mike Hobson said Henniger sustained severe facial injuries, though his condition was been improved from critical to serious.
Henniger has been with Colorado Springs for 17 years and was described by Hobson as the heart and soul of the team.
“He is a wonderful person and very outgoing and enthusiastic, and a pleasure to be around and work with,” Hobson said. “He does so much for this organization. He does the on-field promotions and works with our sponsors and is one of our top salespeople. He’s a fixture in the community and on the ball field.”
Hobson said the team is awaiting a press release from the family and that several team officials were planning on making a trip to Denver in hopes of visiting Henniger yesterday. The team was in the process of setting up a Rai Henniger Family Fund, with proceeds going to help defray medical costs and other expenses for him, his wife and three children.
Henniger is certified in pyrotechnics and has been running the team’s fireworks events for at least the last 10 years, Hobson said. He has also owned his own fireworks company since 2005.