On Monday, I was filling in as the Public Address Announcer for the Ottawa Senators as they faced the New York Rangers. This is nothing new to me, well, the announcing part anyway.
Back in the days that I lived in Ottawa I was the P.A. guy for the Ottawa 67s for 3 seasons, I also did some announcing for the Carleton University Ravens football games and Ottawa Lynx AAA-baseball games. But until a couple of years ago, I had never “been to the show”. I had watched a couple of guys I’d worked with in the past get hired by the Sens, including my little cousin Alex Marchand who has really developed into one of the top arena DJs in the NHL.
It all changed for me in 2010, when the Senators regular announcer Stu Schwartz was hired to work at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. With him in Vancouver, Ottawa’s head of Game Operations Glen Gower (and my former boss with the 67s) called and asked if I would be available to come to Ottawa and fill in for 3 games. I was getting called up. Scratch that, I was coming out of retirement. It had been almost 9 years since I had done any PA work at a live sporting event. But to be able to work at Scotiabank Place with friends and family in the building and doing so on an NHL stage was truly thrilling.
Ottawa played Calgary, Washington and Toronto in my games and went 2-1. Not bad. The toughest thing was that the loss came at the hands of the Maple Leafs, Ottawa’s provincial rival and with my wife the Leafs fan in the building. T’was a quiet ride back to the hotel that night.
Fast forward to 2012 and me opening my email one morning to find a note from Glen asking about my availability in April. Turns out PA Announcer Stu, who’s day job is that of morning show host on Majic 100 radio, was going to be in Barbados during the first week of the playoffs as part of a contest the station had held. Now, I can think of worse things than watching a playoff game in Sens owner Eugene Melnyk’s Barbados bar “Bert’s”, but I know Stu would be disappointed to not be at SBP. He is really a big part of the game experience at the rink and the number of people Tweeting me about the shoes I had to fill drove that message home to me in a big way.
Well, thanks to my boss Joe Thistel allowing me to do Hockey This Morning on the road, I was all in and headed up to Ottawa on Sunday.
Got up Monday and did the show with Mick Kern then grabbed my usual afternoon nap before making the 45 minute drive to the rink.
After setting up my game sheets and going over the script and through a sound check, here I sit….full of nervous energy.
The pre-game meal starts in a few minutes, then it’s back to the press box to make any last changes to the script and get set for the pre-game announcements.
After game 2, this game should be quite exciting. Can’t wait for the puck to drop.
Catch Mike Ross and Mick Kern weekday mornings from 7am to 11am ET / 4am to 8am PT on NHL Home Ice, Sirius 207/XM 92
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