Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Playoff Hockey On The Road

  • It doesn't get old. Playoff hockey on the road is my favorite time of the season. The Kelowna Rockets bus is off limits for media types at this time of the year (see Bruce Hamilton for details) so the Kelowna media ( all three of us) hop into one vehicle and drive down to the city which is playing host to the Rockets over the next two games.
  • The three media types on this particular trip are myself, color analyst Gord McGarva and Kelowna Daily Courier sports writer Doyle (I still can't spell his name right ) Pontenteau.
  • The topics on the trip usually range from hockey to kids, to hockey, to hockey, to hockey and then to hockey. Doyle will often want to bring up the merits of soccer, something I refuse to participate in. With Gord McGarva on the trip, golf may surface as a conversation piece over the two hour trip.
  • The short distance between Kelowna and Kamloops allows us to make the trip the day of the game. Had this been Seattle in round one, we, like the team, would have traveled the day before.
  • Having separation from the Rockets at this time of the year isn't necessarily a bad thing. The stakes are higher and the intensity on every ones faces are evident. Sometimes a bit of breathing room between the team and the media isn't a bad thing. Often times comments can be misconstrued, as every ones anxiety level is just a little bit higher
  • So while we may not travel together nor eat together in the playoffs, the Rockets can still expect us to attend practices, pre-game skates and the games itself on the road. So will we be in their faces during the playoffs? Absolutely. We have a job to do too, and the team realizes that. No Rockets player or coach has ever been off limits to the media. Let's see if the same holds true with the Blazers prior too or after games three and four.
  • I like to take a positive approach to the playoffs. My role when around the players and coaches shouldn't be one of doom and gloom. I prefer to be upbeat and excited about the teams prospects of winning. A 'half full' attitude is far better than bringing a 'half empty' approach in my dealings with the team.
  • Spending a few nights in Kamloops isn't a bad thing. No, I wouldn't want to vacation there, but touring around the Thompson-Okanagan for a couple of days isn't a bad thing. The playoffs give us a chance to tour around the various cities that we travel to with the Rockets during the regular season, but often times see little other than the hotel we are staying at and the oppositions arena.
  • The home of the Kamloops Blazers has the best sight lines for the visiting broadcaster in the WHL in my opinion. Medicine Hat would be a close second. My general belief is the visiting broadcaster has a better vantage point than the home broadcaster,who has had to slid down to make room from video replay. The location of the broadcast booth is at centre ice, not to high, not to low. As Goldie Locks would say "it's just right'.
  • The PA announcer in Kamloops isn't annoying. I other words, you can understand what he is saying, even when the home team scores. I am all about being excited, and portraying that through your voice, but keep it audible so even a visiting broadcaster can use a goal announcement on the radio. In Kamloops it's a slam dunk.
  • The media/scouts room in Kamloops is nothing special, but the food sure is. Roast beef, hand sandwiches and delicious white chocolate macadamia nut cookies go a long way in the stomach of those attending the games. If you can't stomach what you see on the ice, at least you can feel satisfied with what you are being served in the media/scouts room.


Coreyg said...

Gord McGarva was a subsitute grade 6 teacher of mine. The regular teacher was out on materinity leave so he filled in the whole year.
I know its not hockey related but he was an awesome teacher! It's cool to hear him on the raido now.

The combo of you Regan and him is great! Keep up the good work!!

Regan Bartel said...

You have to remember that Gord is in his first year as a color analyst, so the learning curve has been steep. Yet in saying that, I think he's done a great job and has been a pleasure to work with.
If you don't know, Gord is scratch golfer, which may be the reason why he gets excited when we drive by a golf course.

Coreyg said...

I think hes done a great job. Hopefully he sticks around for a while!

entropyyy said...

no golf yet,Gord! :)