In the blink of an eye summer is over and hockey is about to start back up. It leads me to ask one simple question. Where the heck did the summer go? Time flies when you are having fun I guess. So here we are again. On the cusp of another season of Junior B action as the Fort St John Huskies kick off their run at a championship tomorrow on home ice against the Slave Lake Wolves.
To be honest the events of the last Huskies season seem a long way away. They are a distant memory that I have a hard time conjuring. Like I am walking through a thick fog and can vaguely make out the shapes of dice games, horrible movies and trivia on the bus. And the games on the ice. Some of them stand out. Like preventing the Whitecourt Wolverines from going undefeated on the final weekend of the season. Then there was Payden Wongstedt’s hat trick in the final game of the playoffs that just wasn’t enough to fend off the Wheelers. But for the most part the events of last season are tough to remember. And there is one simple reason for that.
Three words. The Allan Cup.
It’s ironic that the season ended that way. Because up until the Flyers hosted, and of course won, the Allan Cup there was no doubt that Jon and I were enjoying the Huskies season more. (More on Jon Zacks a little further down) The bus rides were more enjoyable than ever. The team was fun to watch and the broadcasts were getting better and better. Several times Jon and I discussed how much we were enjoying covering the Huskies, and the NWJHL, and how it just never felt like the Flyers season really got going. And then that one week in April erased all of that.
So here I sit typing out the first Pups related blog of the season and as the memories of last season come back into focus I can feel the excitement rising. There will be times when the grind will get to me as it always does. Long bus rides after a bad broadcast when all you want to do is get in the shower and hit the sack can be tough. But those moments are few and far between and ultimately worth it. I guess at the end of the day I love broadcasting hockey games.
I have to say at this point that I am very happy that the same coaching staff has returned. Coach Bob Kalb along with Jeremy Clothier, Bill Snow and Vince Pederson are all back for another year. All of the Huskies staff are a pleasure to work with and to spend time with on the bus. Plus they help us immensely as we prepare for broadcasts. Whether it is a look at the lineup well in advance of the game or a quick word of what to look for when the players hit the ice the coaching staff helps make sure we are as prepared as possible.
Speaking of the coaching staff I have a sense that they feel this could be a good year and I know they are putting in a lot of work to get this team ready. What you see on the ice tomorrow will very much be a work in progress. Some players will be added and some will be let go. But impressions can also be made and the coaching staff will be very keen to see who steps up to the plate now that the games really matter. They are all working to put together a championship caliber team and tomorrow is the first step down that path.
Huskies hockey is back for another winter. It almost makes you glad that summer is over. Don’t miss it. Saturday and Sunday at the North Peace Arena the Huskies and Wolves will kick off the 2010/11 NWJHL season.
A quick note on the changes at the Moose
Just in case you hadn’t heard Jon Zacks, who has been doing an incredible job calling the Huskies and Flyers for the last two and a half years, has moved up to call Junior A hockey in the BCHL. The new voice of the Trail Smoke Eaters was a wonderful partner on hockey broadcasts and I wish him all the best. I don’t need to wish him luck though. I have seen how much effort he puts into his work first hand. There won’t be any luck involved.
So I, Mike Feeney, will be the new voice of the Huskies and Senior Flyers. It’s a little daunting to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jon Zacks and Ryan Pinder. Big shoes to fill? Doesn’t even begin to describe it. But I am absolutely fired up to get going. I will be doing my utmost to bring you a hockey broadcast in keeping with the quality that you have come to expect. I will be joined in that endeavor by Matthew Lago a new recruit to the Moose who will be joining us in time for the first Huskies road game. He is coming all the way from Ontario so it is a long shot but let’s hope he isn’t a Leafs fan. We don’t need any more of those on the bus. Matt is a Humber and Wilfred Luarier grad and has an extensive sports and news background. He is going to be a big addition to the Moose team. I hope you join me in welcoming Matt to Fort St John. As always we welcome and encourage your feedback whether it comes through email or just stopping us in the halls of the NPA for a quick chat.