Luisi embracing leaving comfort zone for Odessa Jackalopes

When Brandon Luisi told his wife that he had a job offer in West Texas, Jammie Luisi was less than thrilled. “She was terrified,” Luisi laughs. “She originally was super scared because neither of us have never lived outside the state of Illinois.”

The Luisi’s quickly got past their trepidation and are moving to Texas where Brandon is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL.

“The more Jammie got to learn about the Permian Basin area, the more excited she got,” Luisi recalls.

Odessa connection

Luisi learned of the Jackalopes opportunity in an STAA Job Leads+ email. “The reason I was so excited for this position is because of Peoria Rivermen broadcaster (and fellow STAA member) Jason Ruff, who I’d been interning for the past two seasons.” Ruff formerly held the job in Odessa. “I knew that if I reached out to Jason, he would have more information on what it’s like being there and what the leadership group was like. He got me in contact with the owner of the team and it went from there.”

One thing Luisi believes helped his pursuit of the Jackalopes opening was how quickly he contacted team president Rick Matchett after learning of the opportunity. “Rick is a fast moving guy. I reached out to him with interest in the position; one other broadcaster did as well. By Monday he told me that it was between us. He is a very busy guy and likes to move fast when it comes to hiring people. Therefore he didn’t really have a window of time for applicants, which ended-up benefiting me.”

Relationship building

Relationship building, as he did with Jason Ruff, has long been a strength of Luisi’s. He encourages young broadcasters to not be scared when contacting new people. “Throughout my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I DM’d multiple NHL journalists, beat reporters, announcers and studio hosts and asked for advice. I would get a response within a day from 95% of them. Some of those connections are still prevalent today. One of them being the Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster, Mike Maniscalco.”

Luisi is a 2023 graduate of Bradley University, where one of his instructors was the highly regarded Dave Snell. Luisi broadcasted Braves hockey while on the Peoria campus. That was in addition to internships with the Rivermen and the Peoria Mustangs. He joined STAA after his junior year.

“My STAA membership has been the cornerstone for me in becoming a broadcaster,” he states. “While I may not be the most engaged person in the [private STAA Member] Community, I do read every single email. I read through threads. I read the job leads and see who’s contributing [in the Member Community]. The community that STAA has built is beneficial for any broadcaster of any sport at any level.”

Luisi, and his wife, are excited to start a new chapter in Odessa. “The NAHL is a perfect league for broadcasters to get their first gig right out of college, to hone their skills and get better,” Luisi believes. “I also think being in the South division is going to benefit me because of the style of hockey they play. It’s old-time hockey. A lot of physicality, a lot of the hockey I grew up on.”

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