I commentated for the North Vancouver Wolfpack, which is a junior B hockey team that plays in the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), for 2 seasons. I started in 2014, and in my rookie season they won the PJHL championship! The next year wasn’t so good, first round exit. Nonetheless, it was fantastic working for the team, as play-by-play commentary is one of my passions. I poured my heart and soul out working for the team. My first year was riddled with mishaps and difficulties, but in my second (and last) year there, I took the broadcast to an elite level. I grew as a broadcaster, I produced ads so we could have commercial breaks, and way more. This is a sample of my work from my rookie season (2014-2015 season).
The Rookie Season
I got the pleasure to work with fellow British Columbia Institute of Technology Radio Arts and Entertainment student, the legendary Dean Van Tassel in my rookie season. Working with Dean was awesome because we were super comfortable on the air together. We had awesome broadcasts together, and in fact we received a lot of praise by audience members who liked the way we did games. Working with the legendary Mr. Van Tassel allowed me to get a great start to my career in the play-by-play industry and the opportunity to work with a great color guy! However since it was our rookie seasons, there were a ton of mistakes… Most notably it was our first ever experience running a broadcast. So a lot of the games we didn’t have audio and didn’t know how to fix it. So a lot of the time Dean and I would stammer away but to no avail because no one could hear us. This was an extremely hair-raising experience, but hey we grew and learnt from the mistakes.
The second season, also my last
The second season went WAY smoother in terms of my broadcasting, not so much the results of the team. They failed to make it out of the first round, a far cry from their championship run in 2015. Aside from the on-ice disappointment, the season was a lot of fun to call. Before the season, I hired my entire broadcast team, which consisted of (top left) Harrison McCorkindale, (bottom right) Levi Loughlin, and (bottom left) Brandon Paige. Also on the team were Julie Munro and Ramy Qaraein. Harrison did colour, Levi did Social Media and rinkside reporting, Brandon did camera, Julie did photography and Ramy did PA. Jared Thomas (you can kind of see him in my photo) filled in on colour whenever Harrison couldn’t make it out. I put my heart and soul into each broadcast. I would arrive 2 hours before puckdrop and start setting up. We had pre-game shows, interviews, intermission analysis, commercial breaks (which I produced all the ads), 3 stars, post game shows and more. I had a feature I did with the owner that I broke up into 3 parts and ran it in the broadcast. All of this earned me a nomination for broadcaster of the year! Leaving was tough, but in the end I’m proud of my time there. I’ve put together highlights of every single game I called my last season with the team. To view them, click here.
My Goodbye letter
This was my goodbye letter I wrote to the team after the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. It was an extremely emotional letter, and a lot of memories flooded back with each letter I typed. For a lot of people, moving on from a job like the one I had wouldn’t be so hard. Why it was so difficult, is because I had the time of my life doing it. Moving on from that is tough.
It was a tremendous time because I had the ability to literally have my own broadcast. What that meant was that I set everything up, I called the shots. Very few other jobs doing play-by-play can allow you to have such freedom. All of the high calibre jobs have a broadcast schedule set according to the team sponsors, advertising, airtime standards, and all that. So you’d have to adhere to that and have someone tell you what to do, whereas with the Wolfpack, I was my own boss.
So, in the end, I look back at my 2 years with the team with a lot of pride. In my letter, I just about summed up everything about how I felt.
I’m not only known in the North Vancouver Wolfpack as the voice of their hockey team, but I also have written for them as well. In my rookie season (the 2014-2015 season), they swept the Delta Ice Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, then ousted the Grandview Steelers in 5 games, prompting me to write something. I called it “The Team of Destiny” (Cheesy, I know) but that’s how I felt about the team. Essentially i wrote about the bigger picture, a family underneath all the hockey gear and sweaters. I wrote about how the team would finally bring a championship home to North Van. Sure enough, they went on to defeat the Mission City Outlaws in 6 games to capture the PJHL championship. Note, in all 3 series, the Wolfpack won 4 straight games (Sweep, lost game 1 and won the next 4, lost the first 2 games but won the next 4). Here is the article I wrote.
As well, another thing is that I’ve been able to get connections as well. The hockey community is very small, so the more people you get to know, the better off you are in the future. I’ve been able to meet some awesome people who I would’ve never met otherwise. Moving forward in my career, it is a huge benefit knowing those same people, because they can help me with my career aspirations. It wasn’t always pretty, believe me. But in the end, the North Van Wolfpack gave me a great start in my play-by-play career, and for that I’m forever grateful.
My feature on the owner of the Wolfpack – Dean Samson
This was a special feature, where I interviewed the Wolfpack owner, Dean Samson. I recorded this, and produced it myself. I split it up into 3 parts and ran each part in the 2nd intermission of the next 3 games. I had a pleasure chatting with him. There were a lot of interesting stories, including from Dean’s playing days in football! Recorded at BCIT.