Lets have some fun....
Tonight I decided to make note of a typical night at the rink for a Blazer home game. Just some random things for a pretty typical routine at the rink....
4:42pm - arrive at the rink, make may way into Guy Charron's office for our pre-game interview... Guy's not in office. Not sure where he is.
4:44pm - head into to see Toledo in the Blazers training room. He has something for me. I left my glasses in the Chilliwack broadcast booth. The Bruins, thanks to Randy Merkley, shipped my glasses in a package along some other things. Thanks Merks! He even took time to put some blue stuff all over the lenses.
4:48pm - Guy is back in his office...so is Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson. I tape a five minute interview with the head coach. I sense Guy is a bit ornery I make a joke about it after the interview. Ferguson laughs, Guy does not. Moving on.
4:53pm - I run into Blazer F Ryan Hanes. He wants a new stick despite nothing being wrong with his current game stick. "Well I can't score with this one, so obviously I need a new twig..." he pleads his case with a laugh. This after having at least eight great opportunities on the weekend vs Chilliwack only to be foiled by hometown friend Lucas Gore in the Bruins crease.
4:55pm - look to track down Seattle Head Coach Rob Sumner. Off ice official Pat has once again beaten me to the punch. He has Rob filling out the line-ups. I wait in line, as usual. "You got to get up fairly early in the morning to beat me young fella," says Pat with a wink as we wait.
5:00pm - Have an informative chat with Rob. He likes the fact they're healthy, and wants to focus on the positives despite being 1-10 in their last 11. We both agree the Seattle shot clock operators have an itchy trigger finger as we looked back on the last game in Seattle between the two teams.
5:05pm - I head up the Blazer office. I arrange for a couple tickets to be put aside for friends with Dave Chyzowski, the Blazers Marketing Manager. The night just isn't complete without hearing what Chyz has to say. It's usually very enlightening. More on that later....
Office Manager Angie Mercuri wants me to tell fans there's an error on the tickets for next Tuesday's game vs Tri-City. It is a Tuesday night game, despite the tickets saying "Wednesday".
5:15pm - head into the media/scouts room and get the scratches and starters. Would you look at that! Calvin Pickard is getting the start for Seattle in goal. Didn't see that coming. (Pickard started his 24th consecutive game in goal for the T-Birds tonight)
5:19pm - I run into Seattle D Travis Bobbee. The former Bronco is a good guy. We called him Ricky Bobbee in Swift. Not sure if that nickname has carried over back to the Western Conference though.
5:20pm - Head up to the broadcast booth. I take the elevator. I don't have to take the elevator but after 10 years of climbing up and down a ladder to the broadcast booth in Swift Current, I do it out of spite.
5:25pm - hook up my connection back to the station. Set up broadcast gear, laptop... everything in the same spot as the game before. Off ice official Dan comes up to get his laptop from my booth. His visit is short and sweet. That's unusual. Dan is excited to be accompany the team to Whitehorse Friday. He'll be running the online stats.
5:40pm - the dance party begins over the PA system... the music guy loves the dance music before warm-up at ISC. He also likes to air drum... a lot.
6:00pm - I make contact with my station operator Shawn. We go over some things including intermission format. I tape an intro with him. Done deal. I'll touch back with him just before we go to air at 6:30pm with our pre-game show.
6:10pm - I dial up some WHL Web TV. I check in on the Raiders/Broncos game from PA. Drew Wilson has the call. The Broncos are getting pounded. I miss seeing Drew eight times as a season. I don't miss the -30 trips up to Prince Albert.
6:30pm - Intro is on the air... pre-game show is underway on Radio NL. We get into commercial. I inadvertently pull the phone line out of the jack with my wireless receiver. Smooth one Jon. We've lost our connection. It takes two minutes to get our link up and running. I ask game operator Shawn back at the station what happened?? (knowing full well the problem was 100% my fault). I'll tell him later.
It reminds of a night in Regina last season where I tripped over a tangle of lines in my booth and ripped the jack in the Brandt Center clear off the wall in the 2nd intermission. I called the rest of the game... third period, overtime, shootout with my cell phone. Is there a trend developing?
6:52pm - Rick "The Bear" Wile checks in. He has the "Keys to the Game" all ready to go. I asked him how his afternoon was. He said great...except he had to put out a fire back home. Literally. Something caught fire in his garage. Sounds like there was a bit of damage. I was shocked to hear the news. We don't have much time to talk... we are out of commercial and rattle off the Keys to Game.
7pm -On-ice presentation.. Scotiabank's Aaron Oviatt is on the ice to present a good luck banner the Blazers will take to Whitehorse with them. Good to see OV. He took me out to lunch on Monday. He loves his junior hockey. Lunch is on me next time. Next, the anthems... this young girl does a great job of the Star Spangled Banner. A little girl comes in to handle Oh Canada and gets a little help from the first anthem singer. Puck drop.
7:14pm - 4:23 into the period the Blazers lead 3-0. What a start on home ice. Caron with his 2nd ever WHL goal has forced the T-Birds to call a time-out. We speculate a goaltending change? Doesn't happen. The T-Birds stick with Pickard in goal.
7:28pm - Blazers make it 5-1 late in the 1st. Lipon breaks a long goalless skid and Bortnak slides home a loose puck. Goaltending change? No. Seattle sticks with Pickard.
7:30pm - Bear and I joke in commercial the T-Birds are better off dressing a stickman and placing him on the bench to be the back-up 'tender.
7:37pm - summarize the first period and send it back to Radio NL for a News/Sports update and the 1st half of my taped interview with Blazer d-man Austin Madaisky who is back in Surrey recovering from a season ending neck injury.
7:42pm - I run into Marty Hastings from "Kamloops This Week", Howie Reimer, the morning man for "Country 103FM" and Geoff Hastings from "CJFC TV". I stand with Marty and Geoff and swap stories about an eventful media get-together Saturday night that all three of us missed for the most part. They've all heard the stories from the night. Meanwhile Gregg Drinnan from the Kamloops Daily News tweets away on his phone beside us:" Kam 5 (Willick, Smith, Caron, Lipon, Bortnak), Sea 1 (Doty) after 1. Kam 21-10 in shots. No penalties" Riveting stuff, really. It's not exactly "I'm in the building, no access to players/coaches." Ahh, the good 'ol days.
7:49pm - back in the booth for the call of the 2nd period. The pace slows. Not much happening. The T-Birds press a little but can't chip away at the Blazer lead. Bortnak adds a PP goal. 6-1 Blazers. Goaltending change? Nice try.
7:52pm - spot Blazer staffers Tricia and Ashley on the catwalk above the ice taking pictures for the website. I send them a couple text messages just to give them a hard time. They are focused!
8:20pm - period over. Blazers in charge up 6-1. Uneventful period.
8:28pm - back out of the booth for a walk. Marty Hastings and I chat again. We make plans to check out a junior "B" playoff game Monday night across town.
8:29pm - The intermission's "Dance for Your Dinner" is epic. Marketing Manager Dave Chyzowski marvels at some of the dance moves pulled out during the traditional 2nd intermission centerpiece. They award the prize to a couple who two-stepped there way through the whole thing despite the complete lack of country music.
8:40pm - Third period about to start. Fans are hopeful for a Blazer win. It would lead to free A & W Teen Burgers for all those in attendance. The A & W jingle is played in the building as a bit of a prelude. Blazers have to win first.
8:58pm - a young girl wearing a Chase Souto #39 lapel button is featured on the big screen. F Ryan Hanes notices this on the bench and proceeds to give Chase a hard time about it. The same girl moves down to sit behind the penalty box when the Blazer rookie takes a penalty later in the period.
9:06 - A goaltending change??? Midway through the third period with the score still 6-1, the T-Birds finally make the change in favour of Michael Salmon. Pickard catches a rare break from the action.
9:18 - Another uneventful period for the most part. Jeff Bosch plays well, making all 12 saves in the final period. Blazers win. 6-1 final.
9:20pm - No NHL 94 celebration? Looks like the Blazers are getting away from their usual post-game antics which recently turned into a viral video on youtube.
JT Barnett doesn't have D Brandon Underwood available to do there post-game celebration/dance which has about six or seven different moves in a syncronized routine as they head off the ice. Back-up goaltender Cam Lanigan is given a quick crash course from Barnett and tries his best to fill Underwood's skates.
9:37pm - Bear is at ice level with guests Scott Ferguson, Jordan DePape and Bronson Maschmeyer for "After the Buzzer". The wireless receiver for Bear's mic is acting up. I hold it in several different positions and angles looking for the clearest signal. It's like playing with rabbit ears on an old TV set. We get through it. Both DePape and Maschmeyer seem genuinely excited for a trip to Whitehorse on Friday.
9:52pm - Wrap up the post-game show, sign-off and pack up the broadcast gear. Ian Douglas from the NL Newsroom keeps me company while recapping some of the post-game scrums underneath the stands with players and coaches.
10:00pm - check back into the Blazer office. It's pretty quiet. I change the Blazer phone message to update the next home game on the schedule and how to purchase game tickets. It usually takes me about three takes. Tonight I struggle, takes me five or so to get it right. Luckily Scott Ferguson isn't in the office to mock my voice and delivery.
10:02pm - I mooch a beer from Timmy O'Donovan in the Blazer office and recount the game with him. We discuss the correct spelling for "route" as Timmy updates the Blazer website to read "Blazers Route the T-Birds" He later changes it to "rout". That's the correct term.
We sit there for a half-hour discussing the game, Whitehorse and anything else.
That's a wrap....