People say pursue your dreams, no matter the hardship. Being a queer hockey announcer is perpetually difficult. There are virtually no other broadcasters in my boat, and a lot of times I do feel alone at sea. I'm fighting against deeply entrenched beliefs about sports commentators, who they should be and what they should sound like. I'm here to expose those beliefs for what they are: barriers. Barriers that I will break down with your help.
Hockey has been my major passion for as long as I can remember. I grew up listening to Sam Rosen and John Davidson depict Rangers games–and every now and then the Devils games called by Doc Emrick. They fascinated me. It was addicting. The anticipation, the breathless buildup of action. It was incredible. Practicing and practicing, I found myself on the bench broadcasting action to friends and teammates. But, I never knew how to pursue my newfound passion.
In 2002, I was offered a job working game nights in Merchandise with the Binghamton Senators. Soon after, I was promoted to Assistant Merchandise Manager, where I acquired several different skills within the professional hockey world. I spent the next 9 years learning about different franchises, from the Binghamton Senators to the Florida Everblades to the Milwaukee Admirals, before taking a step back to finish my degree. I went back to school and earned a Master's to ensure my credibility.
During my college career, I was blessed to intern alongside play-by-play broadcaster Grady Whittenburg, handling road intermission reports. In addition, I was calling games for SUNY Broome Community College. Broome's athletic director was so impressed he offered me a position as the voice of the NJCAA tournament. The NJCAA was so impressed they offered me the chance to broadcast two Men's Lacrosse Championship tournaments in 2016 and 2017 as well as the final three NJCAA National Hockey Championships.
The next year, Binghamton University granted me the opportunity to broadcast for their Men's Hockey team. I also provided some color commentary for the CWHL's Boston Blades, as well as an internship with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where I learned from Nick Hart and Mike O'Brien.
After completing my Master's, I found myself in Elmira, NY as the full-time broadcaster for the Elmira Enforcers. A franchise owned by a former NHL drafted player in Robbie Nichols, and I was lucky to be involved in their growth. In my time there I built community rapport, established relationships, created team hype, and much more. The chance I was given in Elmira was truly special. To impact the community and bring back hockey, it was incredible.
Looking for my next challenge I have had the chance and privilege to bring SPHL hockey to the people of Danville, IL, once again being a part of opening up a new franchise and helping to create a first impression which has had the organization filling seats night after night. I came into an organization less than two weeks from their first game with just 90 tickets sold and jumped in with both feet learning a roster, selling sponsorships and groups, and finding ways in fourteen days to accomplish what we previously had months to do. It has been an exciting and challenging task, but finding ways to get it done has been incredibly rewarding.
Not only can I broadcast, but I can sell. I've sold over $375,000 in corporate sponsorships, not including group sales. I've also helped take a previously unknown franchise to over 10,000 Facebook followers and over a million social media impressions. And I'm reliable: I've called over 290 games.
I've experienced a lot of hardship in my life. But I'm working every day to prove that nothing can stop someone who's truly determined to make a difference.