Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WHL Plus/Minus & Play-by-Play at Large

I'm not complaining, because this is what I signed up for. But I will admit the next few days could be a little taxing.

Over the next 72 hours I have a trio of play-by-play broadcasts to handle beginning tomorrow night with the "AAA" midget SC Legionnaires in Moose Jaw, followed by a Friday afternoon 9 man provincial high school football game in Gull Lake before wrapping up the stint with the Broncos / PG Cougars broadcast Saturday night from the iplex. A bit of a stretch considering I'll have to rise and shine at 4:30am the next two mornings for the radio station morning sports run and the "Breakfast Boys" morning show on the Eagle.

There isn't any amount of radio work that I will ever look at as being excessive. I still consider this line of work to be somewhat of a privilege. And after working a year of construction right out of high school in every condition possible from +40C t0 -40C and all weather patterns in between, I don't consider what I do "work".

Maybe when I have a family my priorities will change...well I know they will change, but for now it's full steam ahead.

The radio station treats me well and return I give them my best effort every day. For the record, I'm not in favor of unions. You work hard, do your job and you'll be rewarded. Bottom line.

Enough about me though, I thought I would compile a quick WHL plus/minus list as we are now almost a month into the season.


- Kelly Macrimmon and the Brandon Wheat Kings. They are the surprise of the league so far. A consensus pick for the WHL's Eastern division basement, Macrimmon is getting the most out of his handful of returnees and high flying rookies. Their 7-2 start wasn't predicted by anyone... not even Macrimmon I'm sure.


- The Kootenay Ice. I don't know what the situation is in Cranbrook with the Ice. Their 3-8-1 start is baffling. They have the tools up front to be successful but haven't put it together. Is it the loss of Cory Clousten as Head Coach? Or have we grown to hold the Ice at a higher standard simply because of their success and numerous 40-plus win seasons? They will figure it out eventually and then they could go on a tear.


Brian Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels. The former Jack Adams award winner for NHL Coach of the Year has been a treat to deal with this season from all media accounts. There is no feelings of being above this league or it's individuals. He's been great to his young team, WHL media and fellow coaching colleagues. I will get a chance to talk to him next weekend in Red Deer and I'm looking forward to it.


Portland Winter Hawks. With one win in their first nine games and only 16 goals scored, I have to ask the question. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? If so how far away is it? Their PP is a league low 3.6%. They been outscored 3-2 while they've been on the man advantage. "Portland has declined the penalty, we will remain five on five."

Andy Kemper took over as their play-by-play broadcaster this season. Hopefully his spirits are still high. There's nothing more frustrating for a radio guy than a team that has no scoring punch. The 2004-05 Broncos hold the CHL record for fewest goals in a season with 135.... I know first hand how tough that can be. Surprisingly the Broncos still won 22 games that year and would have made the playoffs under the current conference ranking format. Portland has been almost mathematically eliminated a month into the season. Prove me wrong Hawks!


Dave Hunchak and the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Warriors have seemingly figured it out and have won five straight after losing the first five of the season. We will see if they can keep it going on the road (1-3) this season. They have a long B.C. trip set to begin.


The Medicine Hat Tigers. Their start of 8-2-1 has surprised many but not me. Will Desjardins is a great coach and they will always play well in their building. They have a lot of youth but they are playing well. Tyler Ennis will score 50 plus this season. Bank on it.


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