Fade to Black

After seven years of broadcasting hockey and three awesome seasons in West Kelowna I have decided it’s time to hang up my microphone and move on to new challenges and opportunities.

And like a jelly-legged kid emerging from some insane roller-coaster, I’m not I can truly describe the rush to those who watched from the ground.

But I certainly am glad I took the ride and thankful for those who gave me the opportunity.

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Being a hockey broadcaster is a full-on job. Not physical like playing the game and not as stressful as being a coach. But it’s intense and it’s demanding – part of why I loved it.

Narrating the action from a perch above the great frozen game put me right at the epicentre of not just a terrific sport, but our very culture itself. A lot of nights I felt like I was watching Canada do its thing.

In my time in the booth, I got to bear witness to incredible skill. I watched moments of great passion and drama. I watched acts of courage and valour. I watched young prospects develop into not just fantastic hockey players but terrific young men.

And it went beyond the job. I was part of a positive organization doing good things in the community. I learned a ton. I made great friends.

garbage 2013

As a storyteller, I am grateful to many people on both sides of the story. It begins with Mark and Janelle Cheyne who really are among the best hockey owners around. I was truly lucky to work for such an outstanding organization surrounded by such excellent people. Rylan, Brent, and the coaching staff have been accommodating and helpful throughout my tenure here. Andrew, Kim, Alex, and the office staff leave no stone unturned to make this club a success. And the players themselves have been as friendly and collegial off the ice as they have been dynamic on it.

I also want to acknowledge not just the other teams I’ve worked for (in Whitecourt, Fort. St. John and Trail) but also the staff and players from opposing teams. Rival teams may hate each other on the ice, but they still need to be partners off the ice. Listen to Evan Hammond’s annual audio Christmas card and you’ll hear some of what I saw every night in every building across the province; Dedicated and passionate Canadians working for different teams but with the same common goals and interests.

And of course, I am also grateful to the fans who’ve read my stories and welcomed me into their cars and living rooms. Being a play-by-play guy, especially in a great situation like this, is an honour and a privilege. I will always be proud to have earned your trust and devotion.

rylan and jzWhy am I moving on? Well, I’m not sure I have an answer that will satisfy. Don’t worry; people who know me really well are often just as mystified.  It’s just who I am I guess.  I could point fingers at the evil media industry or my age or my philosophy – but at the end of the day I just feel like it’s time to move on.  Seven years at one career is nothing for some people, but I’m a nomad.  I need new challenges and new adventures.  It’s certainly not a decision I’ve made lightly.

What’s next? It may sound (even more) strange to some of you, but I don’t really have a concrete strategy. Travel plans for this summer include stops in Europe and Africa. After that? Who knows.

But I’m excited to be a free agent. I’m excited for new beginnings. And I’m excited to be stepping once again into the abyss, armed only with a pen and the strength of a thousand treasured friendships pushing me forward.

 

Thanks for the passion. Thanks for the friendships. And thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to Fade to Black

  1. Dustin Scafe says:

    Written like a true professional but best of all a true person! Thanks for teaching me what you have Jon and best of luck moving on, sure we’ll keep in touch but I know that everyone around you appreciate what you did every day.

  2. Derrek Schartz says:

    Jon,

    You’re a class act. I enjoyed your broadcasts, observations, and comments. It was a pleasure to listen to you call a game. I will miss you next year when Trail plays WKW. Best of luck to you. I’m sure whatever you choose to do that you will be great at it!

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