Well, as many of you already know it was announced late last week that I have accepted a position with the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes as their new play by play broadcaster on ROCK 106 in Lethbridge.
While the opportunity to jump to the WHL seems like an easy decision for an aspiring NHL play by play guy, it certainly was a difficult decision for me and my girlfriend, Taylor, who while only living in Duncan for a year grew to quickly love the community and life style. For myself, being originally from the Comox Valley – which in some ways is very similar to the Cowichan Valley – it was great living in Duncan and being close to home and great weather. For Taylor, who is originally from Chilliwack, it’s a little bit further but it was still so nice living here. And while not only the decision about location and life style, but comfort-ability in the work place was a major factor.
Working with the Capitals and everyone in the organization was a joy. The new Sales and Marketing Director Gord Schmidt was a lot of fun to work with in the office as well as the girls Amy Blatchford and Bria Chipman were nice company. The hockey operations staff from the coaches Bob Beatty (who I worked with in La Ronge), Aaron Plumb, Rob DeClark, and Darren Rodney who always made me feel welcome and apart of the team on the road. Bunking with Curtis Hawkins on the road, the teams athletic therapist, was so much fun – even though he’s a massive San Jose Sharks fan, and I’m a diehard Canucks fan – I still say Markus Naslund is a better #19 than Joe Thornton – even though Curtis disagrees…. As well all the players who were always nice to me and accommodated me with doing interviews, even with Jesse Neher dropping the “no comment” line every time I saw him. As well as working with all the other coaches and broadcasters in the league who made everything so much easier when we were on the road and helping with name pronunciations. Even everyone at 89.7 SUN FM who made it fun every time I went into the station (Rob, Patti, Josh, Gord, Liz, and so on), especially Troy Scott who was the one that hired me to call Caps games…. And the one-and-only Alex Robertson who I was fortunate enough to build a great working relationship with, but more importantly friendship with, during the season. Calling the games with a legend in these parts made me a better broadcaster and person, and I value his friendship — all of that made it a difficult decision, maybe harder than I had ever anticipated.
However, with all of that said, I am very excited about the new opportunity to make another step up the ladder in the play by play broadcasting industry that at only 23 I have managed to move along relatively quickly. My goal was to obtain a WHL job by the age of 25, so to have that opportunity is shocking to be honest this fast. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that being just two years removed from calling Junior-B hockey I would be able to say I’m a Western Hockey League broadcaster, but hey, here I am. To think, it was just two years ago when I was interning at The Zone at 91.3 in Victoria working with Marlon Martens on the Victoria Royals broadcasts.
While only at the young age of 23, there is certainly one thing that I have been able to learn about the broadcasting industry, and life for that matter, is that it changes quickly and it is a crazy ride. And I just hope that things continue to move along in the right way and that one day I can be sitting in a broadcast booth preparing to call a National Hockey League game and be able to think back to the days when I was sitting in the Island Savings Centre next to Alex Robertson getting ready to call a Cowichan Capitals game “live from the Big Stick.”
It was a great one year, much shorter than I thought it might be, but I’m ecstatic about the new adventure.