Lessons learned in Marines take Cadeau to ECHL’s K-Wings

The lessons Chris Cadeau learned during nearly eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps have served him well in his sports broadcasting career. That, and some good old-fashioned relationship building are leading Cadeau from Arizona back to his home state of Michigan. He is the new Director of Public Relations & Broadcaster for the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.

“I cannot just go anywhere for the job,” Cadeau says. “I have a wife and two kids to think about. This role is a good opportunity because it affords me the opportunity to keep striving towards my dream and do it with our entire family an hour and a half away in metro Detroit.”

Relationship building

Cadeau learned of the Wings opening through STAA. After that, he introduced himself to outgoing Wings broadcaster John Petersen, himself a former six-year STAA member. “Checking the STAA Job Leads & Heads Up emails has been routine for about two years now,” Cadeau states. “When I saw that John Peterson was congratulated for earning the [Texas Stars] job, and he was leaving Kalamazoo. I called Weston DeWitt of the Norfolk Admirals. First it was to poke at him for not letting me know about the opening because he is a close friend, but then to see if he knew John. He told me that John was an Arizona State grad and gave me his number.”

Cadeau is also an ASU grad and earned a Masters at Northwestern.

“When I contacted John, applications for his position were closed due to the team being far down the line with someone else,” Cadeau recalls. “He shared with me that the candidate had a ton of experience and thought he was a sure fit. I still took the time to share my life experience and goals, and told him to keep me in mind if anything fell through. A week later, I was asked to submit for the position.”

Multi-skilled

Cadeau’s experience spans a multitude of platforms including print, digital, broadcast, radio and magazine. His resume includes work for MLB, NHL, FOX Sports Arizona, PAC-12 Networks, and B1G Ten Network. Cadeau most recently was the Director of Public Relations and Digital Media for the Arizona Rattlers. His road to a sports broadcasting career has been long and winding.

After serving over seven years in the Marines, Cadeau spent almost two years in retail management before deciding in 2015 to enroll in community college. His goal was to earn a bachelors degree in journalism. He achieved that goal at Arizona State. Upon graduating, Cadeau was honored with the 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Student award from the Cronkite School.

A year later, Cadeau earned a Masters in journalism from Northwestern. He joined STAA in 2017. “I found out about STAA while at Cronkite in 2017. I was looking to do sportscasting in summer baseball, and was told that it was the best one-stop shop for cultivating a network and finding jobs.”

Lessons learned

When asked how his service in the Marines has helped his sports broadcasting pursuits, Cadeau takes a deep breath before replying, “Phew, it’s helped me in every facet.” Cadeau then lists professionalism, multi-tasking, organization, time management and developing relationships. “And the list goes on,” he says.

Upon further reflection, Cadeau concludes that the most important thing he took from his service time into his career is what he calls “faith-based working patience.” He explains, “Flat out, promotions are earned. In the service there has to be a need for your promotion (an opening), you have to have time in rank (experience) and you need professional development (on-the-job training) to ascend to the next level. So, when I was hitting walls trying to get my career in sportscasting off the ground post service, I just started working.

“For me that meant cultivating my network (being ready for an opening), doing the $75 one-camera prep sports streams (OJT/experience) & meeting with the local college’s club sport team and asking if I can broadcast them (OJT/experience), and then working a full time job in sports production or sports public relations (experience). Just because I went to Cronkite and Medill DID NOT mean a job was going to be handed to me.

“So, the most important aspect was having faith. Really believing that if I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, everything will work out.”

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