Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

With the announcement on www.winterhawks.com this morning, it is official that I am returning to my broadcasting roots by relinquishing the play-by-play chair to my partner Todd Vrooman and am moving back to the color analyst role that I originally occupied when working with Todd’s father Dean.

In reality, the change had already taken place as Todd handled the play-by-play of the preseason games that we broadcast this season on the Hawks website.

This decision had been brewing for a while for me.  When Todd was hired as the color analyst two years ago, I let him know that this was probably in the works and if he wanted to pursue the broadcasting role, it would be a great opportunity for him.  He took that and ran with it and I want to congratulate him on not only taking the play-by-play job but also being named the Broadcast Communication Manager position with the team.

It was never my desire to be the full-time voice of the team when I started doing color with Scooter eight years ago.  I enjoyed working the games and being a part of the organization that I had followed since I was 10 years old.  We were a good team and I certainly learned a lot in those years about being a broadcaster during that time.

When Scooter decided to leave for the banking industry, it was late in the summer and I knew it would be hard to find a suitable replacement for him in that short time frame before the season started.  So…I stepped forward and offered my services knowing that it would be a tough go with the hockey schedule, family schedule and my normal full-time work schedule.  I somehow made it work for four years…but it has been a grind.

Don’t get me wrong…I have loved every minute of it…I have seen this team go from 11 wins to a Western Conference Championship.  I am going to miss a lot about the job, but I know that I am not leaving it entirely.  I won’t miss long bus rides with little to no sleep and lugging radio gear around some of the rinks in the WHL.

The timing of this change makes sense with the migration to the new format using live365 as the main broadcast channel for the team.  There will be much more work and content needed than before and I know that Todd will do a great job in getting that running at full steam.

I will say that I have been blessed…I’ve been able to (and will continue to) work with some tremendous people in the Hawks organization and the WHL and that I’ve had many more supporters than critics.  It will be a change for me to go back to the analyst role as it takes a different eye to do that job well.  I’ve focused on the puck more as the play-by-play guy and now I will need to break that habit and see the whole ice to deliver the kind of analysis that I did once before.   And…I’m sure Todd will let me do a little play-by-play as well.

And now…I will be able to attend more of my daughter Aiden’s swim practices and meets and spend more weekends at home with her and my wife Vicki…I’m looking forward to that.  Those two have been incredibly supportive and understanding the last few years and I couldn’t have done this without them.

This is an exciting time for the organization and I’m glad that I can be a part of that, even if it is in a less prominent role.  I’ve had my years as “the voice” and it was great fun.  Now, it is Todd’s turn to take the lead role…join me in wishing him well and I know that I look forward to many more years as his partner in the broadcast booth moving forward.

 

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. Thanks for all you have done. It has been great getting to listen to you broadcast the games. I know Todd will do just as well and it will be nice getting to hear him do the play by play. Good luck with all your future adventures.

  2. Andy,

    Your broadcasts of the past few years have been a big part of the Hawks success. I am very glad to hear that you are staying on as the analyst. Looking forward to another great year.

    Mark

  3. I appreciate what you have done with your broadcasts and hockey insights, as well as, the personal sacrifices that were required to make them.

    I am a grateful fan.

    ron

  4. I would like to thank you for all the magic you provided with your verbal description of Hawk activities. I listened regularly as my Grandson (Brett) played for 5 years in your city for the Winterhawks. Thanks for the memories.

    Ron

  5. Andy –

    Can’t say thanks enough. You stepped up when things were rough…not too many folk would have done that. Maybe, in that color analyst role, it will give you more time to enable you to turn off the mike and tell Kirk exactly what kind of ref he is, when you want to. Heh.

    I do have to say I am disappointed in the move to a majority online broadcast. While I understand that hockey fans are saavy enough to find their material anywhere they want, the casual fan of Portland won’t get an opportunity to really stumble across a radio broadcast on their dial (except on Friday nights).

    That said…I am WAY excited that there is an online repository of games and chat shows to keep the hockey madness alive and grow it even more amongst the fans that will seek to connect.

  6. Thank you Andy for your support of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club with the mentions of events and happenings. it has helped a great deal and I hope that it continues with Todd. Your columns for the HAWKEY TALK newsletter were both informative and exciting and gave the reader a different perspective.

    I look forward to seeing you enjoy walking through, not rushing through the concourse at games and being able to relax a little.

  7. Andy,
    Your broadcasts have made the Hawks seem about 9000 miles closer. Thanks for the hard work these past few years and I look forward to listening to you and Todd again this season.
    Pat Nolan,
    St. Leon-Rot Germany

  8. Andy,
    Congratulations on being able to spend more time with your family; I know you were torn on many occasions trying to balance family and Winterhawk commitments.
    Rest assured that there are many PWH fans that enjoyed your p-b-p broadcasts; I definitely am one! I’m glad that you are staying on by returning to the color analyst position!
    All my best wishes for a wonderful “family and Winterhawks marriage” for years to come.

  9. Thanks, Andy! You and Todd are still a team, just in different positions…you’re left wing and Todd is center this time! I hope we can still get the in-house radio broadcasts on FM. That makes the game completely the best, and we always learn something new from you that way.

    Cheers! Go Aiden and Go Hawks!

  10. Andy,

    Congrats, and thanks for 4 years, you stuck through a couple of years that must have made stepping in to such a crazy situation even harder. So happy that we got to have you holding the reins last year on the championship run. Enjoy the color commentary duties this year and please, blog it up from time to time still! I love your perspective on games and players and I especially love the number.

    Thanks for everything and go hawks!
    -Matt

  11. Andy, in my car and in my home you are a welcomed guest . . . someone I value for himself and not just the content he brings. Being a Winterhawks fan is all the better because of the broadcasters — Scooter, you, and Todd — each a gentlemen and each a terrific compliment to the other’s excellent work. Thank you for the time and energy you put into bringing the Hawks to us over the air.


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