Thursday, June 25, 2015

A media friendship forged

Potenteau with a passion to tell a story, even through a lens
It is a bitter sweet day as colleague Doyle Potenteau officially leaves the sports department at the Kelowna Daily Courier. I have known for a while now that Doyle was likely on the 'back nine' at the 2015 Memorial Cup in Quebec City and was contemplating a change. The writing was clearly on the wall. Potenteau wanted to change the direction of his journalism career which would allow him to spend more time with his family. For that alone, I applaud a man who I have developed a close relationship with over the years.
Potenteau in Brandon 2007 on one of many Rockets road trips
I dare say that Potenteau and I have a very unique relationship among competing media in the city of Kelowna. While he was covering the Rockets as the Courier's beat writer for print, I was trying to get the leg up on him as the radio broadcaster of the team. Our relationship wasn't built on competition though, but more on a mutual respect we had for one another's craft.
With the Memorial Cup in Rimouski 2009
Our friendship blossomed thanks to countless days and nights spent on the road together. We were travelling companions who ending up treating each other as brothers.
Potenteau speaking to a soft spoken Jamie Benn in 2008
My first introduction to Potenteau came in the fall of 2000 when I left the Swift Current Broncos to join the Kelowna Rockets and Potenteau arrived a few months earlier at the Kelowna Daily Courier after a stint on the lower mainland. We were both new on the scene and quickly gravitated to one another more out of support than anything else. Quickly that developed into a friendship.
We almost always roomed together on Kelowna Rockets road trips. We spent 15 seasons travelling with one another, going in and out of hotels, covering hockey games, eating at restaurants and most importantly laughing at what life threw our way. We travelled endless miles/kilometers in a radio station vehicle over those 15 years, many times in the early morning hours with very little sleep. The only thing keeping us awake, with Doyle at the wheel, was often an 80's song cranked on the radio or CD player that prompted us to break into song.
Doyle or I would take lead vocals while at others we attempted to sing in harmony.
We attended four Memorial Cups together with many a late evening in a local watering hole. We would sometimes put our life in danger by visiting an establishment that came on the recommendation of a local citizen, but we always seemed to come out unscathed.
A trip to Portland in 2015 WHL playoffs
I will always remember the time, in 2002, when Doyle and I hesitantly exited a warm Kelowna Rockets bus on a -34 degree day in Regina, with a windchill to match, and feverishly ran as quickly as our legs could carry us inside a warm restaurant. We often marvelled how we became so soft living in the warm climate of BC despite both originally growing up in Saskatchewan.
On the road, Doyle and I were pretty much inseparable.
In a media world full of egos, Potenteau doesn't carry that with him. Doyle has the right to considering he has the ability to churn out a game story with pin point accuracy, clarity and quotes in the blink of an eye. Potenteau isn't arrogant. He isn't cocky. Doyle is confident in his abilities, but cranking out story after story while covering one of the best junior teams in all of Canada will do that.
Potenteau is smart, honest, trust worthy and generous. I mention generous because more often than not, Potenteau was the first to pick up the bill at any establishment we happened to frequent. Sure, I have alligator arms, but one of Doyle's greatest attributes is his generosity. Potenteau is a giving person. He gives of himself which makes him such a valuable friend.
Seeing Doyle officially resign from the Daily Courier sports department is a sad day for me selfishly. I won't have him by my side as a wing man on those long Kelowna Rockets playoff runs we both are accustomed to enjoying.
While Potenteau and my relationship as colleagues on the Rockets beat is now over, our friendship remains as strong as ever and will remain that way. The only problem I see is finding a new singing partner that enjoys 80's music and is willing to break into song without hesitation on a long playoff road trip.
Something tells me it just won't be the same without Potenteau at my side.

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