Sunday, November 29, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Donnie Moorhouse, Massachusetts Minutemen

It certainly has been a while, but it's great to be blogging again. Over the past season I've had the good fortune to introduce and profile some great radio voices who have called the game of hockey, from college to AHL to the pros. To a large extent my focus has been in Hockey East, the league I work in, and with this latest post I'd like to come back to Hockey East and introduce Donnie Moorhouse, who is back for his second stint as radio voice of the UMass Minutemen.




Donnie Moorhouse is in his second run as radio play by play radio voice of the UMass Minutemen, joining forces with Brock Hines on the call (for more on Brock, I invite you to check his post from earlier here on the blog). Donnie was on the call of UMass hockey from 2002-2009 and was at the mike for some great moments in Minuteman hockey history, one of which was a triple OT game against Maine in the Hockey East tournament. Donnie moved over to AIC to call games for the Yellow Jackets at his alma mater in Springfield most recently prior to coming back to Amherst.

Donnie has a rich history when it comes to staying involved with the game of hockey, as he also hosted " Hockey Night in Springfield" while doing AIC games, a program that aired on WEEI-FM, 105.5 in Springfield. The program covered not only UMass and AIC, but also also the Springfield Falcons and all of the high school teams in the area,  a great testament to Donnie's diverse coverage and knowledge base.  He also spent two years doing business development for the Springfield Falcons, and has been a music writer for The Republican newspaper for an impressive 23 years. Donnie is also very much involved with the UMass Coaches Show alongside Brock Hines, a weekly coaches show with coach John Micheletto live from the Hangar in Amherst each Tuesday night during the hockey season.

Donnie has also been involved with songwriting, as he wrote songs for a group called " Breakdown", whose style could be likened to the style of John Mellencamp. He has also written a script for a film called " Cathedral Pines" and has acted in five films, including a horror film called " Collinsville."  Although he has much experience in film and music, hockey is his first passion. He has also founded a non-profit organization called the "Hockey Project" which takes at-risk kids and gives them a chance to play hockey and get them on the ice.

Donnie travelled to Northern Ireland in 2016 alongside Brock Hines to broadcast the second annual Friendship Four Tournament for the UMass Radio Network.

I will be attempting to add some audio to highlight Donnie's work in the very near future should I be able to locate some highlights of his work, but in the meantime be sure to tune in to Donnie and Brock on the call of UMass hockey live on WHMP radio (1400 AM) in Northampton. Minuteman hockey can also be heard on 1240 AM and 96.9 FM in the Amherst area. You can also access their broadcasts on the TuneIn radio app for mobile devices (enter WHMP in the search field), or by simply visiting www.umassathletics.com.









Sunday, June 14, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Nick Gagalis, Providence Bruins

Continuing on with our discussion of radio hockey voices that shape our enjoyment of the game of hockey, for this next entry I'll head down to the Ocean State and take a look at the voice of the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate, Nick Gagalis of the Providence Bruins.


Nick Gagalis is a man who has made his mark in the broadcasting world, both in the game of hockey and across the sports landscape. Nick currently calls the action on the Providence Bruins radio network, following the path of current Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher (who like Nick is a graduate of Boston University). Nick does so much more in regards to his work with the P-Bruins than just the radio call- he is involved with media and public relations work, with the task of increasing and reshaping the public image of the team. He has also functioned in the role of official scorer in his tenure with the club prior to becoming the voice of the Bruins, as well as performing such tasks as recording audio spots, playing music and sound effects at games, running their Twitter account, and doing PA work for youth hockey games.

Nick has seen his share of games in the hockey world prior to coming to Providence. It started for him in 2007, when he was the color commentator for the BU Terriers on student radio, working alongside Kevin Edelson. In 2009, Nick helped call the BU championship win over Miami in overtime from Washington, D.C. A segment of that game was submitted to the Associated Press and subsequently won a regional award. Nick also did hockey reporting for U.S. College Hockey Online, writing for Merrimack College hockey. Nick wrote stories in support of Merrimack hockey and updated the team's happenings on his personal Twitter account. He also reported for the New England Hockey Journal in 2008.

Hockey is not the only sport Nick has experience in. He has done plenty of baseball work in his career as well. We crossed paths in 2011, working together as member of the Worcester Tornadoes baseball club in the Can-Am League, Nick doing their radio and myself doing public address. Nick was employed as their radio voice the year Jose Canseco played for the club, which caused quite a buzz for baseball fans in Central Massachusetts. Nick also worked for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York Penn League, doing their radio as well as social media, advertising, ticket sales, stadium operations, and pulling tarp during rain delays (I did my share of tarp pulling too, so I can relate to that last point). He also handled broadcast duties for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League (not a bad place to work in the summers).

Nick currently provides play by play for Merrimack College football in North Andover, and has also done football broadcast work for St. Anselm's in New Hampshire.

Other assignments have seen Nick work as a production intern for NESN, a morning show production intern for WEEI radio in Boston, as well as stops at ESPN radio in Charlestown, and WZLX radio. He has had scores of reporting jobs in his career as well..

Possessing a bachelor of science in journalism from Boston University, Nick was well involved in getting his feet wet while covering the Terriers. He was a host, panelist, and producer for BUTV, the school television station. Also Nick was an anchor and an editor for the Terrier Nation show (BU's equivalent of ESPN's SportsCenter).

He has also done social media work for Liberty Mutual and worked as a customer service representative for Shaw's Supermarkets. His specialty is branding, where he focused on that as a member of the Careerealism Company based out of Hampton, N.H.

Here is a clip of Nick on the call of a Providence game against the Manchester Monarchs from April 19, 2015 at the Dunkin Donuts Center:

https://app.box.com/s/67xjpwws9k7dq6a4zjbtf123q6sdy9vj      

To check out Nick on the call of Providence Bruins hockey, go to http://ahl.neulion.com/ahl/.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Adam Frenier, Massachusetts Minutemen

I'd like to continue on with my coverage of the outstanding, passionate voices of the great game of hockey. We'll stay in Hockey East for this post and we'll pay another visit  out to Amherst, MA, and take a look at the final member of the UMass hockey team, Adam Frenier.


Adam Frenier has been a solid and important part of the coverage of UMass hockey on the radio. He has filled in quite capably  on the play by play call as well as performing various other duties for Minuteman hockey coverage. He has been involved with UMass sports media since 2000, and wears many hats for the UMass athletic program.

Adam has served not only as play-by-play talent for the network but has also been a studio producer as well. He has been an important part of UMass football coverage in these capacities, serving as a host for home football games. His work has also seen him serve as a sideline reporter, halftime host, and post game host for the UMass Sports Network. Adam has also stepped in very nicely as a play by play voice for UMass All Access.

Adam has been a part of five AP Massachusetts/Rhode Island play by play award winning broadcasts, three as a producer and two as on air talent. He has also been a freelance news reporter for New England Public Radio in Amherst covering news events since 2011.

Adam has also served as a producer for the Boston Red Sox radio network, a position he held from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that he functioned as a news reporter for WHMP-AM in Northhampton (which is the current  flagship station for UMass hockey) from 2000-2005.

He is a 2004 graduate of UMass and lives in Florence, MA.

Here is a clip of Adam's play by play work alongside Brock Hines, this clip being from a 2-1 OT win over Providence at the Mullins Center:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmoR3ueq3_M

And a second clip from Adam's call alongside Brock Hines of a 5-2 UMass win over the UMass Lowell River Hawks at the Mullins Center:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRUxeumtmjE 

And finally a bonus clip of Adam on the call of UMass lacrosse, in a 12-9 win over Drexel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K75HKD8QKhQ


UMass hockey can be heard on WHMP 1400 and 1240 AM, as well as visiting the following link:

 http://www.umassathletics.com/umass-sports-network.html .

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Cody Chrusciel, UMass Minutemen

The warm weather is finally upon us after an unforgiving winter and a winter that saw some incredible hockey played in the region. But just because the temperatures are rising doesn't mean that my look into the world of hockey radio broadcasters will disappear. With that said, I'd like to move on to profile another hockey radio broadcaster who saw time with the UMass Minutemen in 2014-15 and a good friend, Cody Chrusciel.


Cody Chrusciel's very recognizable voice was heard last season on the call of UMass Minutemen hockey splitting play by play time with John Hennessy alongside Brock Hines on the UMass Sports Network. The Wayne, N.J. native is a UMass grad who has a broad range of sports broadcasting credentials to his credit. Cody is also a sideline reporter for UMass football and is active in his production and promotion of the "UMass Sports Insider": television program. He also has been on the call for UMass women's basketball for the Atlantic 10 Digital Network and UMass All Access.

Graduating with an M.S. in Sports Management from UMass in 2011, Cody also has seen his share of minor league baseball over the years, doing play by play for the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs AA affiliate), and the New Jersey Jackals independent team in the Can-Am league (which is where I first met him), as well as the Sussex Skyhawks, also in the Can-Am. He also worked at Army covering lacrosse and also worked in the Philadelphia Philles organization in the video services department as well as with the ECHL's Trenton Devils in their broadcasting department.

As far as hockey goes, Cody was at the microphone for the longest game ever played in college hockey history on March 6, 2015 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana, in a first round playoff game between UMass and Notre Dame (a game which the Minutemen won 4-3), alongside Brock Hines. Although this record could be broken at some point, it certainly could stand for a while and will be an impressive notation on his resume regardless. He has also been at the mike for the University of New England's hockey program.

Here is a sample of Cody's work with the Minutemen, as you can hear Cody's work enriches the deep tradition of play by play voices for the Minutemen. Check it out at https://soundcloud.com/cody-chrusciel/hockey-highlights-umass-minutemen-2014-15.  Included in the clip is Cody's call of the game winning goal in the 5 OT win at Notre Dame, scored by UMass's Shane Walsh.

To learn more about Cody, I invite you to check out his website at www.codychrusciel.com. You will find his resume, background, play by play clips, and so much more.

UMass hockey can be tuned in at WHMP 1400 and 1240 AM on the dial. You can also access Minuteman hockey on the TuneIn radio app for your smartphones and tablets, or by visiting the following link:

http://www.umassathletics.com/umass-sports-network.html .

Cody has accepted a position at Princeton University commencing in the 2015-16 season, and I'd like to wish him well in his new endeavor!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Rick Jeanneret, Buffalo Sabres

Sorry for the lapse in posting. My laptop went into the shop for a bit but I'm back, ready to continue on with more profiles of the great hockey radio voices that call our game. Please do check back and take a look at the past posts, as I have featured all of the radio voices of Hockey East, Ken Cail from the AHL, and several voices from the NHL. I'll continue on with looking at our next radio voice, the legendary voice of the Buffalo Sabres, Rick Jeanneret.


When you talk Buffalo Sabres hockey, the name you inevitably and invariably hear is Rick Jeanneret, the longtime voice of the Sabres since the 1971-72 season. Rick is the longest tenured radio broadcaster in the history of the National Hockey League, which is quite a feat in and of itself. Since the 1995-96 season he has moved over to televsion and does simulcasts of Sabres games. The Ontario native is as colorful and as passionate as they come. Rick has done Sabres games for every season of the club's existence except one- the Sabres initial season in 1970-71, as it was in that year that Ted Darling covered Buffalo games. He has been paired with former Sabres Jim Lorentz and Rob Ray (who is the current analyst), as well as Harry Neale of Hockey Night in Canada fame.

Rick's career got started in 1963 when he became the voice of the Niagara Falls Flyers, a Junior A level team. He did color and then play by play for the team beginning in 1965. He then moved on to the Buffalo Bisons in 1969-70, handling their road games. He also had a run as a DJ on a Niagara Falls radio station (CJRN radio, which no longer exists), from 1984-1992. He left the DJ job to concentrate solely on the call of Sabres hockey.

He was on the call for a fictional game called the " Sabres Showdown" back in 2001, in which the members of the 1974-75 Sabres team took on the 1998-99 squad at the old Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. (Both of those teams went to the Stanley Cup Finals). This game was simulated on the 2001 NHL video game. Gilbert Perreault scored the game winning goal.

Rick was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer but has since recovered and is currently cancer free.

Rick has been the recipient of many awards in his storied career, among them being inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame on November 8, 2011; induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame on June 6, 2012; receiving the Foster Hewitt award on June 12, 2012 for his excellence in broadcasting and service to the sport of hockey; and induction into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame on September 20, 2012.

Here is an outstanding compendium of Rick's calls. If you are a hockey fan you will love these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywopj0fOdak

Rick can be heard alongside Rob Ray on WGR AM 550 in Buffalo on the call of Sabres games. WGR's website is located at http://www.wgr550.com/.  You can also tune in Rick on Tune In radio for your smart phones and tablets.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Mike Lange, Pittsburgh Penguins

Our next blog profile will spotlight the longtime voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and one of the most colorful broadcasters to ever call the game of hockey, Mike Lange.



Mike Lange has been the voice of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey since his arrival to the Steel City in 1974. The Sacramento native arrived in Pittsburgh after spending time in the Western Hockey League with the San Diego Gulls and the Phoenix Roadrunners. After his first season in Pittsburgh, he left to call Washington Diplomats soccer for one season and then returned to Pittsburgh the next season and has been with the team ever since. Mike was the lead voice on Penguins radio and television broadcasts from 1975 to 2006. He was briefly replaced by Paul Steigerwald after his contract was not renewed, but returned in 2006 to once again call the Penguins on the radio, pairing with former Penguin Phil Bourque on the broadcasts.

Mike has also called NHL games for the ESPN network while also calling Pittsburgh Pirates baseball on cable television. He also appeared in the Jean Claude Van Damme action movie Sudden Death alongside Paul Steigerwald, appearing as himself in 1995. He won the Foster Hewitt Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting in 2001.

Mike is one of the most unique personalities to ever call a sporting event because of his use of colorful expressions to describe what he sees on the ice. This approach is wildly popular with Pittsburgh hockey fans in particular and hockey  fans in general. Some of these colorful phrases include " Scratch my back with a hacksaw, " "Get in the fast lane, Grandma, this bingo game's ready to roll", " He beat him like a rented mule", " Michael, Michael, motorcycle", and "Eddie Spaghetti" to name just a few.

Here are some of these vintage calls of Mike in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXSzyQtWmhE

And a clip of Mike calling Pittsburgh's Game 7 win at Detroit to clinch the Stanley Cup:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0rIy5Zhhg

To tune in to Mike on the call of Penguins games, their flagship station is 105.9 FM in Pittsburgh  (WXDX). The stations on the Penguins radio network can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Penguins_Radio_Network

You can also search for and tune in to these stations on the TuneIn Radio app for your mobile devices.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Nick Nickson, Los Angeles Kings

My next feature on the Hockey On the Radio Blog will feature the voice of the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, Nick Nickson.



Nick Nickson is in his 35th season as the play by play voice of the Los Angeles Kings, joining the team in 1981. He began his broadcasting career at Ithaca College where he worked as the sports director and did play by play for the school radio station, WICB. Nick got his start behind a hockey microphone in 1975, doing play by play for the AHL's Rochester Americans. He then served as the voice of the New Haven Nighthawks from 1977-1981.

He got his big break into the NHL in 1981. Nick joined the Kings and was paired with longtime TV voice Bob Miller at that time. The Kings decided to separate their broadcasts in 1990, and at that time
he became the radio voice of the team. He was the first radio voice of Kings hockey and has been performing in that role ever since. The Rochester, NY native has been behind the mike for two Stanley Cup Championships.

Nick was awarded the greatest tribute that an NHL broadcaster could achieve when he was selected to receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in June of 2015.  This award is given annually to a broadcaster who has demonstrated excellence at broadcasting the game of hockey over an extended period of time, and who also has contributed outstanding service to the game as well.

As a further tribute to Nick's outstanding achievements he was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in January of 2009 while then being inducted into the Frontier Field Hall of Fame in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. in 2011.

Nick has also called games for the NHL Radio Network. He has been instrumental and developing and overseeing the Kings Radio Network, and he is a part of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters and NHL Broadcasters Association. He was honored with " Nick Nickson Day" at Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2006 as a tribute to his 25 years of service with the Kings and NHL broadcasting. The broadcast booth at Staples Center is named in his honor, and was dedicated to him during that tribute evening.

Nick has also done public address work for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1983-1989) and he called the National League Championship and World Series for the Dodgers in 1988.

The amazing thing about listening to Nick, as I have done for years, is the smoothness of his delivery. His crisp clear delivery really makes the game enjoyable to listen to. Here is Nick's call of the Stanley Cup clinching goal by Alec Martinez in the 2014 finals against the New York Rangers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoQzQQo9AfI

And his call of Alec Martinez's Game 7 OT winner to defeat Chicago in the Western Conference finals in 2014:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJKxHIdFkHk

And a flashback to Nick's career dating back to his DJ days in his hometown of Rochester, here is the theme song to Nick's radio show from WBBF radio in the days before his radio hockey tenure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0MG_TkXIBw

To tune in to the Kings radio broadcasts with Nick and color commentator Daryl Evans, the broadcasts are heard on flagship station KABC (790 AM) on the dial. All games are streamed live at www.kabc.com.  Additionally, you can tune in via TuneIn radio and do a search for KABC.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Chuck Kaiton, Carolina Hurricanes

I hope you've enjoyed my look at the radio voices of Hockey East. Please be sure and check back as I will be updating these posts and profiles as time goes on. As you also may recall I have thrown in some NHL voices past and present as well as an AHL voice. I'd like to keep the momentum going and move on to another voice still going strong in the NHL and a man that I grew up listening to here in New England, the current radio voice of the Carolina Hurricanes and former voice of the Hartford Whalers, Chuck Kaiton.

Chuck Kaiton is a true iron man in hockey radio broadcasting. He began his tenure with the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 and has never missed a game in the entire history of the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise. Chuck began his broadcasting career in 1969 at the University of Michigan and then did radio work in sports at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1975, and was then named Wisconsin's Sportscaster of the Year in 1979. He made his way to Hartford in that same year and has been with the franchise ever since. His tenure included a relocation to Raleigh, N.C. when the franchise became the Carolina Hurricanes. He is also president of the NHL Radio Broadcasters Association.

Chuck is unique in that he normally broadcasts games alone, a rarity in this day and age.

His work here in New England occurred on WTIC in Hartford (1080 AM on the dial), and many listeners on the Eastern seaboard were able to pick up his calls. He is a true professional and a stickler for detail- as he achieves perfection with player pronunciations by directly talking to players regarding the correct way to say the name- a skill that every broadcaster needs to master.

He is very interactive with fans and has a great understanding of the history of the game. Chuck devotes a segment of his broadcasts to answering E-mailed questions from fans in a segment called " Kaiton's Corner." He was honored with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2004, the highest award that can be bestowed on an NHL broadcaster.

Certainly one of the highlights of Chuck's career was winning a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. Here is a clip of Chuck calling the dramatic moments of that clinching Game 7 win, on the 9394th day of the history of the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVyi9aJXaVI

And here is a wonderful clip of Chuck's version of the epic and famous poem, " Twas the Night Before Christmas."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYjFYwPQMeE

And finally, here are some vintage clips of Chuck's calls from his time in Hartford:

http://www.brassbonanza.com/hcc/whalers-audio/kaitons-kalls

If you have never heard Chuck call a game, you really are missing out on something special. I listened to him for years when he worked up here and I love his voice and his passion. With the advent of the Internet it's easier than ever to tune in to his broadcasts now. Hurricanes games are broadcast live at 99.9 FM on the dial (WRAL) and the link to their station is at http://www.wralsportsfan.com/.  You can also pick up Chuck's broadcasts anywhere in the world on the TuneIn radio app for your mobile devices.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Broadcaster Profiles- Dan Parkhurst and Pete Webster, UNH Wildcats

My next broadcaster profile will spotlight two great and knowledgeable hockey personalities- and the final team in regards to Hockey East radio- the radio broadcast team at the University of New Hampshire, Dan Parkhurst and Pete Webster.


I'll begin this post by featuring Dan Parkhurst (left), the play by play voice of UNH hockey and arguably one of the most committed and hardest working people in the college hockey game today. Dan's work not only can be seen and heard on a local basis and within Hockey East, but also on a national level as he can frequently be seen calling games on the NBC Sports Network and has been paired with former Boston Bruin and BC radio analyst Ken Hodge, Jr.

Dan's broadcasting career has spanned over two decades. An attendee and 1993 graduate of UNH, he began by calling UNH games on student radio. In the 1997-98 season he called the Hockey East Online Game of the Week, which to this day was one of the first online broadcasts of college hockey on the Internet.

He then made a stop in North Andover and had a three year run at Merrimack College from 1998-2001 and additionally called selected UNH hockey games for New Hampshire Public Television. It was during these times that Dan was paired with Mike Machnik, the current color commentator for Merrimack hockey (see Mike's entry here). Dan then became the full time voice on NHPTV, and remained in that role until 2008 when the station dropped its coverage of UNH hockey.

Dan was named the voice of UNH hockey in 2007 and has also combined his radio work with doing UNH games on television broadcasts which are produced by UNH athletics. These broadcasts are shown both locally on WBIN television as well as nationally on various outlets, most notably on FOX College Sports. Dan also has called tournament games for ESPNU and NESN over his illustrious career.

Dan also has been the website designer and coordinator of the Hockey East website for the past 18 years and has been instrumental in promoting the league through merchandising sales of college hockey gear. And he was named the 22nd annual winner of the distinguished Joe Concannon Media Award in 2013 for outstanding service to college hockey through media work.

Additionally, Dan and I share a common bond- playing music. He is very active as a musician and is quite good at it.  His daughter Riley is an accomplished musician as well and she plays out frequently at various locations. Here is a clip of the two of them performing live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpIofcOiIW0.

Dan retired from UNH hockey at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, calling his final game with Pete Webster on the campus of Merrimack College, as the Wildcats were eliminated by the Warriors in three games in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs.

Dan's partner on the call of UNH hockey is a man who has been a huge part of UNH hockey for the past three decades, Pete Webster. Pete's roots in the game go back to his days as an intern at the ECAC. He has been behind the mike for 22 years. Pete began his career on the air with UNH during the 1992-93 season and was named full time analyst in January of 1994.

Pete has been on the radio for two national championship games at UNH. He has called two Frozen Fours, in Anaheim, CA, and Buffalo, NY. Some other highlights of Pete's career included being at the mike for UNH's 2009 NCAA regional come from behind win over North Dakota and the 1998 Regional Final win over BU that vaulted the Wildcats into their first Frozen Four since 1979. He also has been a huge asset assisting the UNH athetic department with media relations work.

Pete is a middle school instructor at York Middle School in Maine and is active in the coaching of youth and public school sports, and is the varsity tennis coach at York High School, a position he has held for over 20 years.

Pete was honored with the reception of the Concannon Media Award in 2014, the year after Dan's acceptance of the award, making it two consecutive years for a UNH recipient and becoming the third person associated with UNH to receive the award. Pete became the 23rd person overall to accept the award since it's inaugural winner in 1992 (Maine's Larry Mahoney).

I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Dan and Pete's work and have followed them for as long as I've been in the league.  Here is a clip of their work from a recent 3-0 win over Merrimack at the Whittemore Center:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkgeoexgR2A

And a second clip from the same weekend against Merrimack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v2Ul4rxiyw

And finally here is a clip of Dan calling a goal in the NCAA Regionals in March 2015 in a game between BU and Minnesota Duluth:

"https://www.facebook.com/dan.parkhurst.125/videos/vb.100007560494300/1593402817588386/?type=2&theater"

To tune in to Dan and Pete on the call of UNH hockey, their voices can be heard on the Wildcat Sports Network, which is comprised of three stations on the dial: WPKX (AM 930) in the Dover-Portsmouth-Rochester area, WQSO-FM 93.7 in the same region, and WGIR-AM (610) in Manchester. Check for those stations also on the TuneIn radio app for your phones and tablets.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Alastair Ingram, Vermont Catamounts

Our next broadcaster profile here at Hockey On the Radio features the voice of the University of Vermont Catamounts, Alastair Ingram, one of the bright young talented voices in Hockey East.


Alastair Ingram is in his fifth season as the radio voice of the Vermont Catamounts, carrying on a rich tradition of broadcasting Vermont hockey, from Jack Healey to Chris Wojcik, and now Alastair himself. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2008, a world renowned broadcasting and journalism school. While at Syracuse, he majored in broadcasting and journalism and did  radio play by play for the football, men's basketball, and men's lacrosse teams. He also worked as an ESPNU sideline reporter in their coverage of Orangemen football and won a Syracuse press club award while there.

Alastair also provided play by play coverage of Lowell Spinners baseball while pursuing his undergraduate studies.

Getting back to hockey, Alastair is the primary media contact for UVM hockey and hosts a weekly coach's show with Coach Kevin Sneddon on 620 AM WVMT, the flagship station for Catamount hockey. He broadcasted his first NCAA tournament game last March when the Catamounts faced Union in Bridgeport, CT, in the East Regional.
He is the assistant director of athletic communications at Vermont, and as such has other sports responsibilities on his plate. He is also the play by play voice of Vermont men's and women's soccer as well as men's and women's lacrosse for CatamounTV broadcasts. He also covered Vermont women's basketball and was at the mike for the program's first ever NCAA tournament win, over Wisconsin in 2010.

Alastair added international hockey to his play by play resume, as he travelled to Northern Ireland in November of 2016 to broadcast the second annual Friendship Four for Vermont, a tournament which the Catamounts won, beating UMass in the first round and St. Lawrence in the second round.

Alastair also has functioned as a sports talk show host and update anchor at ESPN radio in Boston and also did play by play for men's basketball and hockey at Babson College.

Here is Alastair on the call of a recent Vermont game against BU at Gutterson Fieldhouse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a649ugEEM0g

And a second clip of Alastair's work, also against BU:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHOM2gBzwik

In order to tune in to Alastair on the call of Vermont hockey, you can tune in to 620 AM, WVMT either locally in the Burlington area or listen to their stream on your computer or mobile device at http://www.newstalk620wvmt.com/Article.asp?id=54368.

Vermont games are also carried on the Internet at SportsJuice. You can listen to Alastair's calls at SportsJuice right here at http://sportsjuice.com/.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Dan Hannigan, Maine Black Bears

I am having a wonderful time spotlighting and highlighting the radio voices of our great game of hockey. It has been a wonderful experience for me to help the public become aware of the great voices who call our game. From Hockey East in particular to the AHL to the NHL, it is a thrill to profile these great radio broadcasters. We'll continue on here and stay in Hockey East and take a look at a man who has spent two decades in this great league, the venerable voice of the Maine Black Bears, Dan Hannigan.




Dan Hannigan is in his 20th season as the voice of the Maine Black Bears and is one of the most talented and respected broadcasters in our business. He has won numerous awards in our industry since breaking in to the business in 1993. Dan began his career as a sports reporter and anchor at WVII-TV, an ABC affiliate based in Bangor, ME. He also did play by play and functioned as a sports reporter and talk show host for WZON in Bangor. He has won awards from the Maine Associated Press and Maine Association of Broadcasters for his radio and television work. He also became the 15th recipient of the Joe Concannon Media Award, the annual award presented to a member of the Media who demonstrates excellence and dedication to outstanding media work promoting the league, in 2006. Dan was at the microphone for Maine's 1999 national championship win, calling the championship game winning goal for Maine radio.

Dan has been named Maine Sportscaster of the Year on multiple occasions. He has also been instrumental in producing of Inside Hockey East, a monthly television show which aired on NESN.

Dan is the co-founder and co-owner of Cod Rock Media Productions, a company that was started in 2003 along with another outstanding broadcaster, Eric Frede, who coincidentally won the Concannon Media Award in 2005, the year prior to Dan's receiving of the prestigious award. Cod Rock Media Productions is a video production company focused on sports and corporate visual presentations. The company's website refers to the goal of the company endeavoring to " help their clients visually tell their stories, emphasizing the best that each organization has to offer", which is very apropos because Dan is an excellent storyteller himself, a fact which has been proven true on his radio broadcasts. I can tell you this for a fact firsthand because I have listened to Dan on many occasions, and he is as good as it gets. If you'd like to learn more about CodRock productions, I invite you to stop by and visit the company website at www.codrockmedia.com.

Dan also is currently doing TV work for Maine Black Bear football as well, seamlessly making the transition from hockey. He also is covering Maine hockey on a national basis, as many of his calls are featured on Fox College Sports Atlantic alongside Mike Tuell. One of the things that amazes me about Dan is his dedication to Maine hockey- he has arguably the longest commute of any broadcaster in the league- from his home in Kittery, ME to Orono for home games- but he answers the bell in spite of that and has done so for 20 years.

Here is a clip of Dan's play by play of a game against Massachusetts at Alfond Arena on 10/31/14 alongside longtime color commentator Larry Mahoney, a 6-5 Maine overtime win:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Ypj59HpXk

And additional play by play highlights of a Maine victory over UNH on 1/25/14:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYLHkUY9Tkc

To listen to Dan and his longtime partner  Larry Mahoney on the call of Maine hockey, they are on several radio stations around the state of Maine- the flagship station being WVOM radio (103.9 FM) in Bangor. Games can also be heard on WVQM 101.3 (Augusta), WSYY 1240 AM (Millinocket), WLOB 1310 AM (Portland), WJJB 96.3 (Portland), WRED 1440 AM (Portland) and WVOM 1450 (Rockland). Internet audio can be found through www.GoBlackBears.com as well. Those stations can also be searched for on the Tune In radio app as well for mobile devices.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Alex Giner, Connecticut Huskies

Moving right along with our Hockey East broadcaster profiles, we'll now take a look at the voice of the UConn Huskies, Alex Giner.




Alex Giner is in his 9th season as the radio voice of the UConn Huskies hockey team. Alex started his Husky broadcast career in 2006-07. He did a few games on play by play in that initial season and then transitioned into the full time role the following season. The radio role with the Huskies on WHUS-FM is Alex's first foray into hockey announcing. Alex actually came upon this broadcasting opportunity in a very fortunate circumstance... He went to investigate a problem with the tieline unit of the football broadcast team while working in engineering.. the broadcasters were forced to call the game on their cell phones. Alex was asked to stay in the booth to isolate the problem at the next game, and coincidentally one of the announcers failed to show up due to a previous engagement with ESPN radio. With the sports department seriously undermanned, they asked Alex to stay on and provide commentary. Through this experience the school asked him to do some hockey. He began by helping to board op UConn hockey games and provided technical assistance which got him the opportunity to call hockey for the Huskies.

Alex was shaped by listening to Chuck Kaiton broadcast Hartford Whaler games as well as Joe Castiglione calling Boston Red Sox games on the baseball side. He is very astute as it relates to hockey broadcasting- Alex listens to college games whenever he can and also listens to NHL games to pick up tidbits and strategies for use on the air.

In addition to his hockey work, Alex has done some work doing football and basketball commentary for two seasons on WHUS, with a highlight being a part of the 6 overtime broadcast between UConn and Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. He also did baseball and softball for three seasons.

Alex works with Will Moran on UConn hockey broadcasts and has been paired with Will since November of 2011, when they debuted at Yale. Will is a very talented young broadcaster who brings his own blend of passion and dedication. He is very well respected and brings great energy alongside Alex in the call of UConn hockey.

To listen to Alex and Will on the call of UConn hockey, check them out on WHUS radio at http://whus.org/live/. You can also pull up WHUS on the Tune In radio app on your mobile devices.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Broadcaster Profiles- Bob Ellis and Jim Connelly, UMass Lowell River Hawks

Thanks to all who have been checking in on my weekly posts which spotlight the great radio voices who call our great game of hockey on the radio. Continuing on with the theme as of late, we'll stay in Hockey East and feature the voices of the UMass Lowell River Hawks, Bob Ellis and Jimmy Connelly in this latest edition.




Bob Ellis (left) is in his 31st season as the radio voice of the UMass Lowell River Hawks. Bob is a decorated broadcaster who has won several awards in the industry. Those awards include being recognized by the United Press International, as well as becoming the 18th recipient of the Joe Concannon Media Award in 2009. Bob is as passionate about his craft as anyone in the business, as evidenced in part by his deep, booming goal calls. He is also one of the most technically sound, computer literate broadcasters I've met- he has taught me a few things, notably, cueing up highlight clips for the post game show, a skill I've always wanted to master. Bob also acts as a staff photographer for UMass Lowell, as he brings his camera to UML hockey games and captures the action for the River Hawks website.

Bob has made his mark in hockey, but anyone who knows him also knows his passion for baseball as well. He is an official scorer for the Boston Red Sox and also served in that capacity with the Lowell Spinners as well. Bob also did play by play work for the Spinners at WCAP radio in Lowell for nine years. He also co-founded and co-instructs at the Baseball Official Scoring Seminars, for which he conducts several clinics throughout the year. He graduated from Emerson College in 1975 and began his broadcasting career in Sayre, PA, in that same year. He came to Lowell in 1984 as a news reporter for WLLH radio and also has done work for WKBK in Keene, N.H. He has interviewed presidents, presidential candidates, and done reporting work overseas.

He recently accompanied the River Hawks to their first ever Frozen Four appearance in the 2012-13 season, from Pittsburgh, PA.

His radio analyst, Jimmy Connelly, is a highly respected and knowledgeable hockey writer for USCHO (United States College Hockey Online), who is in his 17th season of covering Hockey East. Jim won the distinguished Joe Concannon Media Award in 2012 and has been involved with college hockey in many different capacities, including co-writing a weekly national column, "Tuesday Morning Quarterback", while also co-hosting USCHO's weekly radio show, " USCHO Live." He began his writing career in 1999 and has covered every NCAA regional and NHL draft since 1999, as well as every Frozen Four since 2000.

Jim has also been published in the Hockey News as well as numerous national hockey websites. He has also appeared on CBS Sports Network and NESN as a college hockey commentator. Before coming to UML to replace Chaz Scoggins, he served in the role of color commenator on Vermont hockey broadcasts alongside Alastair Ingram (who will be profiled in a few weeks).

Jim attended UMass Lowell from 1992 to 1996 and served as an equipment manager for the River Hawks during that time. He also has built a solid career in corporate communications, leading to the founding of his own personal company, JMC Communications.

Both Bob and Jim added international hockey to their long and storied broadcast careers when they broadcast the inaugural Friendship Four tournament in Belfast, Ireland, in November of 2015.

Here is a clip which includes some excellent commentary from Bob Ellis along with some narration and an audio clip from Norm Bazin, the head coach of the River Hawks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QwBdlpQzME

And here is a NESN clip of Jimmy doing a feature on Jack Parker's imminent retirement just before it was formally announced:




To tune in to the call of UMass Lowell hockey with Bob and Jim, check them out on the ESPN New Hampshire website at http://espn.go.com/espnradio/playPopup?s=wgam-am. You can also hear River Hawk hockey on WCAP radio (980 AM on the dial) and on the TuneIn app on your mobile devices.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Broadcaster Profiles- John Hennessy and Brock Hines, University of Massachusetts Minutemen



We continue on with our look at the radio voices of Hockey East. This next feature will spotlight the radio team at the University of Massachusetts, John Hennessy and Brock Hines, two veterans with decades of experience of calling hockey.



Hennessey and Hines.png



Beginning with John Hennessy (left), John brought his considerable talent to Amherst after stints in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and the Albany River Rats of the AHL. John spent six seasons with the Devils, with his finest accomplishment most likely coming in 2003, calling the Devils run to the Stanley Cup. He has plenty of college experience as well, as he has been the voice of RPI hockey, and also has worked at Northeastern and Providence over the course of his career. In fact, John began his career calling the Friars on WDOM radio in Providence before moving on to Albany where had a seven year run as the voice of the River Rats. While there he hosted a program called NHL Face Off as well as a radio call in show. Over the course of his career he has also covered the New England Patriots and Boston College football. He is a 1982 graduate of Providence College and is in his 36th year of broadcasting hockey on the radio. John also survived a very serious bus crash while working for Albany after returning from a game in Lowell. Many broadcasters have stories to tell about buses and travel (myself included), and thankfully John was able to recover from that harrowing experience.

John is one of the most professional broadcasters I've ever met, very polished prepared and he possesses a wonderful pleasing personality. He blends well with everyone he comes into contact with and has an excellent symmetry with the man I am going to discuss next, Brock Hines.

Brock Hines is the color anayst for UMass hockey and has held that position for 22 years. He is the senior member of the UMass Sports Network. He is an award winning broadcaster who has won two Massachusetts Broadcaster Awards, an Associated Press award for broadcast excellence, and the prestigious Joe Concannon Media Award in 2010-11 from Hockey East. He has been involved in the game of hockey for over 25 years and currently hosts the UMass Hockey Radio Show.

One of the things I admire most about Brock is the path he has taken to get where he is. He has done plenty of high school reporting and commentating (as I did myself when I broke in to the business 20 years ago).... he did work for Greenfield High school from 1989-1992, doing hockey color commentary and football sideline reporting. He then launched his radio career, hosting a weekly radio show on WGAJ in Deerfield. Brock also provided color analysis for UMass women's basketball for two seasons. He began playing hockey at the age of 12 and has also been involved in coaching as well, so between all of his hockey pursuits he has been involved with the game for over forty years.

Brock made history on the night/morning of March 6-7, 2015, as he teamed with Cody Chrusciel to call the longest college hockey game in NCAA history between UMass and Notre Dame, a first round playoff game that ended in the fifth overtime. The Minutemen won the game 4-3 in a game that began at 7:35 PM Eastern and ended at 1:25 AM.

Brock added international hockey to his resume in November of 2016 when he travelled to Northern Ireland to broadcast the second annual Friendship Four Tournament with Donnie Moorhouse for the UMass Radio Network.

Here is a clip of John and Brock in action, along with some commentary from Adam Frenier during a UMass game against BC in the 2013-14 season:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKYSp6bIEk8

And a second clip of John and Brock, with again additional commentary from Adam Frenier, the third member of the broadcast team during a game against Denver:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvuVYubShPg

To tune in to John and Brock on the call of UMass hockey, you can catch them at WHMP AM 1400 and 1240 AM as well as 96.9 FM on the dial. You can access their broadcasts also on the TuneIn radio app for your mobile devices, or simply click the link at http://www.umassathletics.com/umass-sports-network.htmlto access the stream.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Jon Rish, Boston College Eagles

I hope you have enjoyed the broadcasters profiled on the blog so far. I began by profiling the radio voices of Hockey East, and then took a look at some broadcasters at the AHL and NHL level while Merrimack was away from league play. With league play now back in session, I will turn my focus back to Hockey East and will begin by spotlighting the voice of Boston College hockey, Jon Rish.





Jon Rish is in his 18th season as the esteemed voice of Boston College hockey on WEEI radio in Boston and has been a huge part of the college hockey scene, not to mention the sports scene in general. A BC alum, Jon began his broadcasting career at WZBC, the Eagles 1000 watt FM radio station broadcasting to the Greater Boston area. He began calling BC hockey in the 1997-98 season before switching to play by play during the 1998-99 season. Jon has also done work for ESPN radio and for many years was paired with Ken Hodge Jr. on BC radio broadcasts. Ken was a former Boston Bruins winger and is now current color analyst for NBC Sports Network's coverage of college hockey.

Jon has covered many notable BC hockey games through the years, including the Beanpot on a yearly basis and Frozen Fenway games and is as crisp and clear with his commentary as anyone I've come across in the business.

Of course, Jon is well known for his work in baseball, too. He has done radio work for the Boston Red Sox on WEEI, working alongside Joe Castiglione and filling in for Dave O'Brien. And this past summer he filled in for Don Orsillo on NESN broadcasts alongside Dennis Eckersley when Don and Jerry Remy were on vacation.

Jon graduated from Boston College in 1994.

I will hope to add some audio of Jon on the call of BC hockey in the very near future, but for now here is a clip of Jon at the mike of a Red Sox-Indians game alongside Jerry Remy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LqFOlkl9cU

To tune in to Jon alongside Andy Powers on the call of BC hockey, the games can be heard on 850 AM on the dial, and online at http://www.weei.com/.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Bob Wilson, Boston Bruins (1964-69, 1971-1994)

My next installment of my broadcaster profiles honors a man who was a true genius and legend behind the mike, who we lost just three days ago. The radio voice of the Boston Bruins, Bob Wilson.





A few weeks back I talked about Fred Cusick, an iconic staple on my love of hockey on the radio and broadcasting the game. Fred was one half of my inspirational role models. The other was Bob Wilson, who did Bruins games on radio for three decades. Bob's booming voice and his passion for the game made you want to listen to every game. A quick history- Bob began his career in the late fifties at WCOP in Boston, breaking in as a DJ. He moved on to WHDH radio, which was back then at 850 on the dial (a spot now occupied by WEEI). He began his Bruins career as an analyst alongside Bill Harrington from 1964-67. He then became the Bruins radio voice in 1967, succeeding Jim Laing. He left Boston for one year- when the Bruins left WHDH for WBZ in 1970- and was not here, unfortunately, for the Bruins Stanley Cup championship in 1970.

However, as we all know, his departure was only temporary. After spending a year in St. Louis at KMOX radio in St. Louis, he came back in 1971 and was reinstalled as the Bruins radio voice when Fred Cusick moved over to TV to replace Don Earle. In his first year back, he called the Bruins championship season in 1972. He would remain as the Bruins radio voice until the 1994-95 season, at which point he retired due to the lockout that year.

Bob had a great reputation in the industry. He was picked by ABC to cover game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979 between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. However since the series ended in five games the game was never played, and Bob never got the chance to call the game- which was scheduled to preempt Wide World of Sports, which was a major program on Saturday afternoons at that time. After retiring he worked part time in New Hampshire on 104.9 FM hosting a music program.

He won the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting in 1987 and is enshrined in the Broadcaster's Wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He was elected to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007, and the radio booth at the TD Garden in Boston is named in his honor.

Bob impacted so many people positively in this business. Two of my colleagues who I have already featured on this blog, Mike Logan and Ken Cail, have both shared their views with me on how Bob influenced them- Bob was Mike's inspiration to get into the business and Ken worked directly with Bob as a statistician and gave him his first big break in the industry. As for me, Bob was an indelible fixture in my love of hockey. He was the guy I listened to on the transistor radio with the headphone attached late at night when it was past my bedtime under the covers- it had to be that way because if my parents had found me listening the radio would have been taken away. He got me riveted into the game.

As stated earlier, I got to meet all the radio personalities when I worked at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and when I met Bob and John Bucyk, who were doing the games back then, it was a thrill I just can't describe. Bob could not have been nicer to me. With Bob, it wasn't just a case of him making the game interesting to listen to. He made it FUN. I also loved his passion for calling fights on the ice. The fans loved it. Even though not everybody was a fan of that approach, I thought it really helped me to enjoy the game more.

Here is Bob's classic description off a heartbreaking loss to the Montreal Canadiens in  Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 16, 1978. Bob was paired with Bob Lobel. Included are postgame commentary and a pre-game warmup show for the next game. This will give you an excellent look at the spectrum of Bob/s enormous talent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBjhWfnqr4

And here is a video which shows the dedication of the radio booth at the Garden in his name, complete with commentary from Jack Edwards, the current TV voice of the Bruins.

http://blip.tv/nesn/bruins-honor-legendary-radio-voice-bob-wilson-prior-to-rangers-game-4955926

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on one of the all time greats in this business.

My next feature will be on Boston College's Jon Rish, as we return to spotlighting Hockey East radio voices.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Ron Weber, Washington Capitals (1974-1997)

Continuing on with the theme as of late, I will stay in the NHL with the next post to highlight another influence on my career, the longtime former voice of the Washington Capitals, Ron Weber, who called Capitals games for 23 seasons on WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. I will be returning back to Hockey East radio broadcasters very soon, as Merrimack gets back into league play on January 21. Following my look at the rest of the Hockey East broadcast voices, I will spotlight the rest of the NHL radio personalities.



I love to tell the story of my experiences in listening to hockey on the radio growing up- sitting at home with an AM radio by my bedside just tuning up the dial from bottom to top listening to radio voices calling the game I love. Getting to the top of the dial for me always meant listening to Ron Weber, who called the Washington Capitals on WTOP AM 1500. Ron was one of my favorites, so much so that he actually turned me into a Capitals fan (a pretty impressive feat, with me living in Boston). To be fair, it was a case of me being a Bruins fan first and a Caps fan second. But his descriptions really helped me to see the game in my minds eye, a skill that is crucial for any broadcaster to have. He also had a very folksy style which was very comfortable to listen to. I remember Ron hosted an in between periods segment called " Capitals Mailbag" in which he selected random letters from listeners and read them on the air. If your letter was selected, you won Caps tickets. He read my letter on the air one night, and I got my tickets. I took an Amtrak train down to Washington D.C. and got to see my game.

I'll never forget the night I met Ron, one of my childhood idols, for the first and only time. I was working for the San Jose Sharks in the early 90's at the old Cow Palace in San Francisco, doing security. My assignment was at the radio and TV area, so I got to meet all of the radio and TV talent from each team. Washington came to town, and I got to see him in action. I talked to him briefly after the game, explained who I was, and how much of a fan I was. To see him up close and personal was a thrill I will always cherish as a memory.

Ron called the first 1936 games of the Capitals existence. He also received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting and was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. I will never forget the Easter marathon he called against the New York Islanders in 1987, a four overtime game that went well into Easter morning. I had his call on WTOP while simultaneously muting the TV feed (no disrespect meant to the men who called that game on ESPN that night, Mike Emrick and Bill Clement, who were great in their own right).

Ron also did other sports, like the Minnesota Twins of MLB, the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, the Washington Diplomats of the North American Soccer League, Penn State football and tennis and weightlifting matches. He also covered the 1968 Olympic Games, but hockey was his bread and butter.

I remember listening to him in Calgary one night and he had a major disruption on the air- coffee or some other liquid spilled all over his notes. One of the skills you have to have as a broadcaster is to adjust and adapt to changes quickly, on the go- and he did it perfectly and seamlessly. It is through him I learned to keep calm and adapt in such a way that the audience doesn't even know that there was a problem.

Here is an excellent website with many great clips of Ron's outstanding play by play with the Capitals over the course of his career:

http://caps-audio.blogspot.com/

And, here is a brief video of Ron's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji0uJeDHf3M

Ron retired in 1998, but his work will always be a major reason why I pushed myself to enter this field and live my boyhood dream.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Fred Cusick, Boston Bruins TV voice (How it all began for me)

I'd like to continue on with my spotlight of hockey broadcasters with this latest post here at Hockey On the Radio. Merrimack is still a couple of weeks away from returning back to Hockey East play, so I'll continue with the man who was my role model growing up- Fred Cusick, the legendary TV voice of the Boston Bruins who served in that capacity for 27 years. Although this is a blog about hockey radio voices, it's important for me to discuss Fred's impact on my life and decision to enter the field. And it is important to note that Fred also did radio work for the Bruins prior to his time on TV.



Fred Cusick (right) pictured with analyst Derek Sanderson during a Bruins broadcast.

Fred Cusick carved an indelible niche into the Boston sports scene. He served as the voice of the Bruins on TV from 1971 to 1997, on WSBK Channel 38 in Boston and then for two seasons on the Bruins cable carrier, NESN. In total, he covered the Bruins for an amazing 45 years. His career began in 1941 on WCOP in Boston while in his senior year at Northeastern. He played the game at NU, before going into the United States Navy, ultimately reaching the rank of lieutenant in charge of a subchaser. After spending some time in Washington during the Korean War, Fred was named the Bruins radio voice in 1952, a post he would hold until 1963. Also at this time he was the sports director at WEEI in Boston. In 1957 he would become the first broadcaster to call a National Game of the Week when he did so for the CBS network.

It was Fred who was responsible for getting Bruins games on TV, at first doing an experimental broadcast of a Bruins game from the old Boston Garden in 1963, and this led to a long run of broadcasting on WSBK in Boston (TV 38). He became the Bruins radio voice from 1969 to 1971, then switched over to TV when Bob Wilson was brought in. (I'll discuss Bob in a separate post). Fred replaced Don Earle on the telecasts (Don's voice can be heard on the vintage LP album, GOAL BRUINS! of which I still have the original album, since converted to the iPod).

Fred was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and was given the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting (he was the first ever recipient of the award, along with Montreal's Danny Gallivan, Rene Lecavalier, and Hewitt himself). He did the last ever game at the old Garden (an exhibition against Montreal in 1995) and the first ever game at the new Garden (then called the Fleet Center, now the TD Garden) against the New York Islanders, which was broadcast on NESN. He finished his career by calling the Lowell Lock Monsters AHL broadcasts with former Bruins defenseman Brad Park on cable television. He was then posthumously inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

I met Fred on a Saturday afternoon back in the mid to late 70's. The Bruins were playing an afternoon game at the Garden against the Chicago Blackhawks, and back then at the old Garden the broadcast booths were located as such that you could walk over and literally reach out and touch the broadcasters. I went over and introduced myself after the game and asked for his autograph. I am not much of an autograph person in terms of collecting them, and I'll only ask for one if I really have a compelling need to have it as a memory. In fact, I have only gotten two autographs in my whole life, the other being the great Irish ballad singer Tommy Makem.  It was a big deal meeting my role model.

In later years, after I got the radio job at Merrimack in 2005, I got in touch with Fred's daughter Martha in the hopes that I could persuade him to come on the air with me during a game. He accepted- but sadly he fell ill and I was unable to get him on the air. But it was wonderful having the chance to interact with him before he passed away in 2009. I watched him on TV for my entire childhood and emulated and copied his style. It was because of him that I would turn down the volume on my TV set and pretend to be the "voice of the Bruins." Listening to his work highly influenced me to choose broadcasting as a career path.

Here are some goal calls from Fred, teamed with analyst Johnny Peirson on WSBK:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXRisXzn7Ik

And here is the pre-game intro from Fred and Derek Sanderson prior to the Bruins final game in the old Boston Garden in 1995. Sean McDonough also appears in this clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTWj1KilaR0

Thanks for stopping by Hockey On the Radio!