Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Things that make me go hmm....

My broadcast location at Le Colisee
  • Have we finally come to grips with what happened Sunday night in Quebec City? Didn't think so, but it will get better. The good news is I haven't see anyone with Kelowna Rockets jersey's preparing to jump off the W.R Bennett Bridge, so we are taking baby steps. Joking aside, it was a great season and several banners will be raised this September at Prospera Place including a red WHL banner as league champions. I know, I know, we wanted the white one which is symbolic of Memorial Cup champions. Let's make a sixth appearance shortly and get it done!
  • I have had the privilege of attending five Memorial Cups with the Kelowna Rockets. This one in Quebec City will go down as the best ever. It edges out the 2004 tournament in Kelowna for several reasons. At the 04' tournament, I called every game which didn't allow me to really enjoy the night life and all of the other fabulous things outside of the arena that make the Memorial Cup such a special event. Don't get me wrong, I had to compose myself when Josh Gorges lifted the Memorial Cup over his head in celebration to the 66 hundred onlookers at Skyreach Place, (it was called Skyreach Place back then) but it was a hectic work week. Fulfilling but busy. 
  • Having attended the Memorial Cup in Quebec City in 2003, I will admit I was able to enjoy it more this time around. Twelve years ago I was a deer caught in headlights when it came to covering the event in the most efficient manner. It just seemed easier to cover this time around and experience has something to do with that. I was able to obtain the content I needed for a one hour pre-game show before every Rockets broadcast, yet I had the ability to enjoy the sights and sounds that Quebec City offers.
  • I never did get used to the Eastern zone time change. We would regularly hit the sheets at 3 am and had to bounce out of bed in order to catch a shuttle to Le Colisee for morning practices and interviews with the players. Afternoon naps were a part of the routine.   
  • Growing up loving hockey, I had a great appreciation for Le Colisee and the fact the Memorial Cup was the final sporting event ever in that historic building. Calling Sunday's game in the broadcast booth was an honour and a privilege that I will never forget. The press box was old, dirty, musty and oh so beautiful! I am grateful to have called Memorial Cup games in that building twice. It was so rewarding being a small part in the final hockey game there before Le Colisee feels the wrath of the wrecking ball later this summer.
  • What does the building mean to those in QC? Many volunteers that worked the games were crying as they exited the building. The ice plant was shut down once the game was over. No one will every skate on that ice surface again, which graced the likes of a young Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur.   
  • I just received word on the number of listeners who clicked on our AM 1150 media player to listen to Sunday's Memorial Cup final. The clicks were off the charts. Our media player was on fire. We had 22 times more traffic than normal. Thanks for listening. I guess radio isn't dead by a long shot. Those that believe it is are misguided. 
  • I keep telling people that the biggest difference from the 2003 tournament in Quebec City to 2015 was the language barrier. In 03', it was tough to move around the city while communicating in English. Quebec City is French speaking (don't change. It makes you glowingly unique) primarily but the number of people, whether in media or in restaurants, pubs or at a corner store had a good grasp of the English language. It made my trip so much more enjoyable and I think the locals got a kick when I attempted to speak their language. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention when I was taught French in grade seven. Why we started taking French in school that late is beyond me?
  • It was a busy week taking phone calls from colleagues across Western Canada inquiring if I could appear on their sports talk radio show for a bird's eye view on the atmosphere at the Memorial Cup. Radio stations in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa led the charge. They were all over it. The most mind blowing, or should I say disappointing reaction was the lack of interest from Vancouver media. I didn't hear a peep from anyone in Vancouver over the Rockets playoff run nor the Memorial Cup. Maybe they just tried to avoid me? If so, it worked. 
  • It makes you wonder how much of an impact Tyrell Goulbourne would have made at the Memorial Cup? A top nine forward, who essentially played on the teams number one line with Nick Merkley and Rourke Chartier for the majority of the season, you would think his grit and speed would have been put to good use in the championship game.
  • The Rockets will return 21 of the 27 players that participated in the 2015 Memorial Cup. Sure, the team loses stars like Leon Draisaitl, Josh Morrissey, Madison Bowey, Chance Braid, Tyrell Goulbourne and Cole Martin, but a truck load of great talent returns at both ends of the ice.  Losing three marquee d-men seems like a massive hit, but honestly, the evolution of Lucas Johansen, Joe Gatenby and Devante Stephens was impressive. Stephens was on the ice when the game winning goal was scored in the Memorial Cup. I am not saying that to embarrass him, but pointing out that a 17 year-old (17 in hockey age) rookie was trusted in that position in the crucial overtime. All three played significant minutes against top notch competition during the playoff run and Memorial Cup. That experience is invaluable.    
  • Nick Merkley assured himself that he will be selected in the opening round of the NHL draft in Sunrise Florida after an excellent Memorial Cup. Merkley was a tournament all-star. If Merkley is indeed chosen in the opening round, it will be the first Kelowna Rockets forward taken since Scott Parker re-entered the draft and was plucked up by the Colorado Avalanche. 
  • One season does not make a player, nor does it make a coach. That said, it must open the conversation for head coach Dan Lambert to look at pro opportunities in the not so distant future. Lambert has more growing after a brief one year stint as a head coach in the WHL, but the future looks bright for the likeable players coach who will undoubtedly fast track his way to pro hockey. 
  • A nice message I received today on Facebook. A listener named Casey sent me this: "Hey Regan, just wanted to reach out and say although I am not a Rockets fan I check up on your blog almost daily. I enjoy reading it because it's always honest and unbiased, yet you still show that you care for your team. I have also been watching your WHL Live feeds for years and I will continue to do so in the future. You make the game sound exciting even when it's not. You are hands down the most exciting play by play man in the Dub! Keep it up. - die hard BWK fan from the Wheat City. P.S - "MERKLEY SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS"
  • Kevin Parnell had a terrific week at the Memorial Cup. The part time member of the Kelowna Rockets, who works in the public relations department, was thrusted into full time duty by setting up interviews between the Rockets players and the various media. It was a busy ten days as he handled numerous requests, mostly all with a smile on his face. It was honestly nice to see him given the responsibility. If he stumbled, I didn't see it. As they say, don't let them see you sweat!!   
  • I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary in Quebec City without my wife Diana. In this business, where travel is prevalent, it is nothing new. It's our normal. It is expected and my wife understands that anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions will be missed because of hockey. That said, it is time to make up for lost time with a nice weekend away at Veranda Beach in the Osoyoos area this week. A three bedroom cottage awaits and we are grateful to spend the weekend together. Thanks to Veranda Beach for working out the details. You should check it out. It is beautiful. A piece of heaven if you will. Click on the banner to the right and check out the resort yourself. In French it would be described as 'Spectaculaire'!   

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Such a great season for the Rockets. As a Tbirds fan, I look forward to playing the Rockets because they always elevate the game, for themselves and for their opponent. I loved following along on the awesome ride to the Memorial Cup and, while it didn't end the way we wanted it to, sharing in the highs and lows of it all. I know that saying "it was a heck of a run" doesn't make the end result sting any less, but HOLY COW, what a run!!!

I agree with your commenter on Facebook. You are always unbiased and truthful, but it's still clear that you see yourself as part of the team. That's such a difficult balance to find and you've done it well.

Have a great summer and CANNOT WAIT FOR TRAINING CAMP!!!! :)