A Great Start…

Suffice it to say that today was a tremendous day for Portland Winter Hawks hockey.  With the press conference announcing the ownership change to Bill Gallacher, the new era for the Winter Hawks has officially begun.

The conference itself was handled very professionally and was well attended by the media, sponsors, fans and dignitaries.  All of the papers were represented with Jason Vondersmith of the Trib, Paul Danzer of the Columbian and Bo Herzog of the Oregonian in attendance as well as some of the TV media.

Today was the first time that I had the chance to meet Bill Gallacher, Mike Johnston, Travis Green, Rich Campbell and Rob Gagne and I came away very impressed with their openness and eagerness to get going on the job at hand to turn this team around.

All of the new hockey operations staff has professional experience and the impression that I have received is that this team and organization will be ran in a professional manner, on and off the ice.  This is music to the ears of Hawks fans, I’m sure.

It was also nice to have WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in attendance as well as Cory Flett, the WHL Communications Director, on hand for the conference. 

The City of Portland was represented by Commissioner Randy Leonard and Vulcan Sports was represented by Mike Golub.

It was also good to see Gallacher and crew taking the time to talk to the fans in attendance as there was time to mingle after the conference was over.  They all understand that the organization needs to do whatever it takes to earn the fans trust back and to provide a quality product for the fans to be excited about.  Everyone knows it won’t happen overnight, but today was a step in the right direction.

On the ice, I had a chance to catch part of the afternoon practice and watched the coaching staff run the players through some drills.  It is obvious that teaching will be a huge part of Johnston, Green and Kyle Gustafson’s plans for this young team and hopefully the players respond.

Also, the Hawks had a couple familiar faces back on the ice with the team today in Tayler Jordan and Brock Cornish and they are expected to make the trip to Tri City on Friday.  Chris Francis was also taking part in the practice and it appears that he too will be back in the line-up soon.

I recorded the entire press conference and I’m working on being able to post that audio for download in the next day or so.  I did send the recording to Jon Keen, who puts together the WHL This Week radio edition and he will edit out some highlights for this week’s show.

All in all…a great start for this new ownership  and the new hockey operations staff.  The black cloud appears to be lightening over the team and hopefully there will be many more sunny days ahead for this team and the organization.

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11 Comments

  1. Wow, interesting that Cornish and Francis were there.

  2. I find it really interesting that the Portland media decided to show up for this. It seems like the Hawks have been an afterthought on sports segments (if you can find them) and they deserve more than a “and the Winter Hawks defeated Tri City 4 to 1.” I hope they can do a new type of feature on them from time to time. Would also like to see a higher power radio station covering the games. I cannot pick up KKAD after 6:30 at night in Gresham. (Andy, this is not against you.) Hope all the changes will make a better product in the long run.

  3. It’s feeling right from all the comments I am hearing and reading.

  4. Dido. I can tune in Spokane Chiefs hockey clear as a bell in Sherwood, but am lucky to hear every 5-6th word from Andy on “sunny”.

    This should be one of the first things on the to do list for the fans, though short of breaking the current radio deal (which one would have to think will happen at some point after the season), I’m not sure that there really is a fix for this.

  5. Andy–

    It was great metting you in person this morning… I’d been meaning to track you down and shake your hand for some time.

    I’ve got a feeling of optimism that I haven’t had about the team in a LONG time… let’s hope it translates to the ice!

    Random question, I had heard that the Hawks were going to be increasing the number of practices they have at the MC, and possibly make it their exclusive practice site? Any idea if that’s the case?

  6. I HAVE TO JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON OF HOPE WITH EVERYONE ELSE.

    I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO HEAR MORE FROM THE PLAYERS ON WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING. I DON’T THINK THIS IS LIKE THE PROS WHERE YOU CAN BE A LITTLE MORE OUTSPOKEN AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

    SINCE IT REALLY CAN’T GET ANY WORSE, THE PRESSURE MIGHT NOT BE AS GREAT AS ONE MIGHT THINK.

    LOOKING AT THE NEW COACHING STAFFS’ CREDENTIALS, YOU CAN’T BLAME THE COACH FOR A POORLY PERFORMING TEAM.

    I CAN’T WAIT TO ATTEND THE NEXT GAME TO SEE THE NEW “SYSTEM”.

  7. WOW — listening to all the feedback, I EXPECT to see 6,000 at the MC for the next game. New ownership is nice and dandy and all, but unless this team starts being more competitive and winning some games while scoring some goals, this whole thing is a mute point.

    For the whole radio station thing? Remember when the Hawks were NOT on the radio? The ownership did not care, and loved to cut corners, so they picked the smallest station, with the weakest signal. There thinking was at least we are on the radio.

    The Hawks need to go back on 1080 KWJJ – AM …. those were the days

  8. I have to agree with everyone on here. As someone who speaks with some of the ‘high school age’ players, I can tell you that they are all excited and anxious under the new ownership and coaching staff. They have already talked about practices being different with a lot more teaching going on. They all also realize that with some players being ‘brought back’ this is an open tryout with no spot safe on this team.
    It is nice to see some respectability being brought back to hockey in Portland.
    The on ice product is going to take some time but with the commitment already being shown by the owners and coaching staff, things should get better in the future.

  9. My husband and I both attended the press conference this morning and we walked away totally excited. The excitement of the new owners and coaching staff rubbed off. We are really looking forward to seeing the changes on the ice and hoping to see a different attitude with the players. As I think we are probably already at rock bottom, we can only go up from here!

    GO HAWKS!!!

  10. I find it really interesting that the Portland media decided to show up for this.

    Never underestimate the power of free food.

    The Goldsmith group never did anything to help their situation with the local media. The low point was when they had poor Dan Folwick read the script about how The O wasn’t publishing game photos. Attacking the media is no way to get them to cooperate. Doing stuff like they did today will go much further.

  11. “The low point was when they had poor Dan Folwick read the script about how The O wasn’t publishing game photos.”

    I remember that. It always came across as very petty and childish to me.

    Anyway, for the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited to see where this whole change leads the team.
    GO HAWKS!!!


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  • Questions?

    Got a question for the broadcast crew? You can email questions to hawksradio@gmail.com and if you include your name and city, we just may answer them on the air!