As you may know, I recently accepted a position with the WHL's Regina Pats to be the team's Media and Communications Manager. Obviously this means I've had to resign my position with MBC in La Ronge and make the move to Regina.
I'm going to be handling pretty much everything to do with the Pats' media side of things. Writing press releases, managing media conferences, gameday stuff and everything in between. I'll be displaying my personable side with sales mixed in as well. Even with all of that I won't be leaving the booth. I'll be taking care of colour commentary on all of the Pats radio broadcasts, home and away. I'll still get to log ridiculous hours on the bus (even more now!) and talk your ear off on the air.
I'm incredibly excited and the whole thing hasn't really had time to sink in just yet. It isn't all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops, because the excitement of looking to the future is somewhat tempered by what I'm leaving behind in La Ronge.
I don't know if words can truly express my gratitude to MBC Radio for giving a 22 year old straight out of school the chance to take over their Ice Wolves broadcasts. I didn't really know what I was getting in to and everyone at MBC helped me through the transition from school to the working world and Calgary to La Ronge (though I'm admittedly still quite the city guy). I honestly can't think of a better place I could have started out in my broadcasting/media career.
I'm going to avoid getting into specifics because inevitably I'll leave someone out and that would be terrible. Also, this post would end up being a novel.
To all of the volunteers working with the Ice Wolves. It's amazing what you are able to do for a season of hockey (and off-season). From the doors to the concession and everywhere in between, I was lucky to be a part of the organized chaos of a Junior-A hockey team. The people giving up their time to make sure the team stays viable and so the players and coaches can worry about what's going on inside the boards are first class. Speaking of which, they can always use more help, so feel free to get involved!
To the fine gentlemen inside the glass. It was a pleasure to call your games and spend those long days/nights travelling the wintery roads. While my back may not agree, I wouldn't trade those bus trips for anything... well, maybe a plane. Some of you I got to know better than others, but I know you'll all find success in whatever you put the effort into. Thanks for doing those interviews!
To Bob Beatty, the rest of the Ice Wolves coaching staff and trainers. Your tolerance of my inexperience early on was admirable (and appreciated). I owe so much of my development as a broadcaster to you guys and it was an honour to work with you. The Wolves are a top of the line organization because of the countless hours (and kilometres) you put in.
Because I didn't know where to put him, bus driver Kenny gets his own bit. While we were all sleeping, you were still awake getting us where we needed to be. I don't know how you do it, but the long hours you put in are greatly appreciated.
To Ice Wolves fans, parents and the people of La Ronge. Your support, suggestions and friendship meant more than you can know for my two years in the North. Any time someone mentions they read the blog or listen to the sportscasts/hockey games it's nice to know you're getting the same enjoyment out of them as I put in. It's the people that make a place great, and there are a lot of great people in LA North. For parents, it must be tough watching your son head away to play hockey, but know they're in great hands with the Ice Wolves and their group of billets.
To the media I've worked with the past couple years. You guys are awesome. Getting together and swapping stories whenever we could was a blast. It was always a treat to work with you when I was calling a game in your home rink or you were getting rained on at the Mel. Your advice and support hasn't and will not go unused. I just hope I was able to return the favour on occasion. I'm excited to see what the future holds for all of you as you get ready for your next season in whichever league you may be calling games. I'm glad that I'm still be able to work with many of you next year, just in a different capacity.
Finally, the whirlwind of the past couple weeks reminds me of what an amazing support structure I have around me. There's probably some way to write how much I appreciate and admire every one of you, but my grasp of superlatives in the English language is apparently too limited. So I'll have to settle for "thank you for everything".
I'll get specific momentarily to thank my amazing girlfriend Breanna who has had to deal with the constant stream of text's, emails and calls as I worked out everything in my head over this entire process. She handled me running off to Northern Saskatchewan to chase my dream with strength I can only marvel at. I hope I can repay to her what she has given to me with her understanding and patience.
Looking to what's next, I'm already moved into my new apartment and office in Regina (crazy last few days). It's an unbelievable opportunity to work with a prestigious organization like the Pats. I'm ready to prove myself to the team and justify the faith they have in me for offering the position. I look forward to meeting everyone involved with the Pats, and I'm equally excited to get to know the sports media in Regina and around the WHL for that matter.
There's no doubt in my mind this move will present challenges beyond what I already anticipate (and I anticipate there will be a lot), but I know with your continued support I'll be able to overcome those challenges. I'm thrilled for the chance to be learning new things about hockey from a new perspective and broadening my horizons in so many areas.
To the fine person who will be taking over for me at MBC. You're entering as great of a situation as you can get. Whether you're starting out, taking the next step or even making a lateral move, your employer is first class, the hockey team is first class and the town is brilliant.
It's my intent to continue writing this blog, though the content will be shifting in its focus towards the Pats and the WHL.
To finish up, I'll quote the great Douglas Adams...
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
(it's a Mel thing)