Old acquaintance leads Chambers to new job at High County Radio

An old acquaintance has led Aikman Chambers to a new job. An STAA member, Chambers is joining High Country Radio in Boone, NC as News and Sports Director.

“The opportunities for me in this job seem to be endless,” Chambers enthuses. “Between being the News & Sports Director to the connections I already have and have yet to make with nearby Appalachian State University, I truly believe the best for my career is yet to come and High Country Radio in my launching pad.”

Familiar face

Chambers’ new boss is a fellow STAA member and the man who suggested Chambers join STAA in 2021. “Dave Thomas was the play-by-play voice for James Madison University football and basketball. We talked one day about sportscasting and radio. To make a long story short, he became the new Ops Manager for High Country Radio back in the fall and everything fell in line for our paths to come together.”

Though still in his early 20s, Chambers is already in his eighth year in radio. His career started after his sophomore year in high school as a board-op and on-air talent in West Jefferson, NC. Since then he’s been a host, producer, play-by-play broadcaster and account executive at multiple stations in the Tar Heel State.

Influential voices

Chambers’ love for sportscasting is rooted in the voices he listened to while growing up. That includes former Appalachian State voice David Jackson.

“Hardly ever did a football Saturday go by that I was not tuning into 97.3FM WKBC to hear David Jackson,” Chambers reminisces. “My other [influence] was Steve Martin with the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats. Steve and Dell Curry, I felt, was a great team together. And I always loved how Steve was just so smooth and easy-going with his delivery. Also current Charlotte Hornets play-by-play man Eric Collins is fantastic. His enthusiasm and jolts of excitement are something I try to mold into my style.”

Chambers believes that being candid helped him land his new role with High Country Radio. “My ability to be honest about what my desires were as it pertains to daily tasks, along with hours and even money. Management here was honest with me and I feel the trust we built during the multiple meetings we had played a big role.”

And now Dave Thomas — the man who told Chambers about STAA – is Chambers’ boss.

“Dave told me how great STAA was for sportscasters and he was right. It’s worth every single penny each month,” Chambers grins.

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.”

Hadnot brings talent, gratitude to KSLA News 12

James Hadnot brings an attitude of gratitude to his sportscasting career. “Every day isn’t promised and every opportunity to do this work is a blessing that everyone is not afforded,” he enthuses.

The people of Shreveport, LA will love Hadnot’s infectious personality. He is the new sports director at KSLA News 12.

Upwardly mobile

Hadnot moves east from San Angelo, TX where he was the radio play-by-play voice of Angelo State University football and basketball. Moving to TV at KSLA allows Hadnot to round out his sportscasting resume. “It gives me the opportunity to do something I wanted to do coming out of college, which was anchor, report, and read highlights for sporting events. It also gives me the chance to be in a larger market, which opens up the door for more opportunities.”

Hadnot graduated from Syracuse in 2017 before earning his Masters at West Texas A&M. One thing he believes was important in his pursuit of the KSLA opportunity was his steadfast belief in himself. “I also made to sure to consistently reach out to people in the field to validate my work. First, you have to believe that you can do it. Then, it’s always good to hear from others in the industry that you are on the right track.”

Help from STAA

Helping Hadnot along the right track has been STAA. He joined in May. “STAA has benefited me in multiple ways, he says. “I received one of my biggest opportunities to date from STAA, which was calling the NJCAA Division I Soccer Championships. Also, I have the opportunity of doing TV play-by-play for football, something I had not done prior to my STAA membership. So, STAA has been extremely helpful in opening doors that I wouldn’t have known of or wouldn’t have been available for if I wouldn’t have had a STAA Membership. Also, I was a finalist for a DI job [through STAA], which is an ultimate goal of mine.”

As Hadnot starts his new job in Shreveport this week, he feels grateful for the opportunity. “When I look back on what I’ve done and what I want to do, I just thank the Lord because it could’ve gone differently for me.”

Naveja hits home run cold contacting Class-A Emeralds

Alex Naveja cold-contacted 35 Minor League Baseball teams this fall in his quest for a play-by-play job. He needed only one yes and he got it. Naveja will be calling road games and assisting in media relations and sales next summer for the Eugene Emeralds. Eugene is the High-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to pursue a career in broadcasting when I realized that I wasn’t going to play baseball in the Major Leagues. So I decided, if I can’t play in the Major Leagues, then I would like to cover a Major League team, whether it is by becoming a reporter or by becoming a broadcaster,” Naveja enthuses.

He continues, “It also means a lot to me that the Emeralds are only one state away from home and my friends and family can still come visit me anytime. Family is everything to me.”

Cold contacting

The Emeralds job come about when Naveja, who is bilingual, began cold-contacting teams about starting a Spanish broadcast stream. “I would give a short list of the benefits that a Spanish broadcast would provide. Teams would then ask for more information in regards to starting the stream and I had already created a full proposal as to how the stream can be started.”

The cold-contacting strategy wasn’t new to Naveja. He tried is last year as well. In 2020, though, the Los Angeles-area native limited his search to teams in California. “I let every job slip away, and when I saw other broadcasters getting jobs, I felt regret for not even applying. I finally got over it this year and decided to apply out-of-state. I started with all the teams on the West Coast and slowly moved Eastward,” he recalls.

Results varied. Some teams requested meetings with Naveja; others didn’t reply. “I started contacting teams by the end of September right after the season ended. The Ems didn’t get back to me until the second week of October.”

The Emeralds asked Naveja if he was only interested in Spanish. “I responded saying that I am also interested in English opportunities as well,” he recalls. He’ll be broadcasting for the Ems in English.

Busy year

2021 has been a busy year for Naveja. He’s the softball voice at UCLA and has called baseball, volleyball and women’s soccer for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He’s also the voice of Bishop Amat football near Los Angeles. Naveja has been an STAA member since 2020.

“I have remained as a member of STAA because of all the helpful resources the website has to offer, which has helped me to get the Ems job in the first place,” Naveja says. “I can’t take all the credit for that, especially with the countless emails and text messages I have sent to [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik, asking for his opinion and for his help. STAA has also helped me create some friendships and connections. It’s a great way to make new friends!”

One step closer

Naveja believes the Emeralds opportunity is important in his quest to reach the Big Leagues. “Broadcasting on a daily basis will help me get the necessary tools to be eligible for an MLB job and will help me improve as a broadcaster. To be affiliated with an MLB team gives me a lot of excitement and encouragement that I am one step closer to reaching my goals.

“Anyone is capable of anything, if you believe in yourself and truly believe that you can make it to the top, then you can do it, even if there’s a slight chance.”

Widman joins WVVA West Virginia

Josh Widman has played or coached sports for much of his life. “Once I realized I wasn’t going to make a living playing sports, I knew I wanted to work in sports in some capacity,” he reminisces. “I love to tell stories and talk about sports, so sports broadcasting was the way to combine my passion for sports and telling stories.”

Widman is taking that passion to West Virginia. The 2020 Syracuse grad is joining WVVA in Bluefield as a sports anchor/reporter.

“I’ll get to anchor, put together packages, live report and spend significant time with high school sports,” he enthuses. “There are nine counties and over 20 schools in the market. High school sports have the potential to make significant impacts on the local community, especially in a market like the one WVVA is in. I’ll also have the opportunity to cover some division one college programs.”

Widman is the fifth STAA member to join WVVA in recent years. The others:

Mason Horodyski was hired as a sports anchor/reporter in 2020
Colin Bowles was hired as a sports anchor/MMJ in 2015
AJ Good was hired as Sports Director in 2014
Brett Hiltbrand was hired as a sports anchor/MMJ in 2013

Searching during the pandemic

Like everyone in the Class of 2020, Widman had the misfortune of entering the sportscasting job market during the pandemic. “Graduating right into the pandemic wasn’t exactly fun and my lack of professional experience was the next greatest obstacle,” he recalls.

It was several months into the pandemic when Widman joined STAA. “After a few months on the job hunt and not much progress, I decided that I needed to change something,” he recalls. “I knew I had the ability to work in this industry but thought maybe I could improve something in my job hunt strategy. That’s when I looked into STAA further and found all the materials the organization has.”

Widman continues, “I felt the need to change the way I was going about trying to find a job. A more clear way of searching, re-working my cover letters and a resource to go to with any questions. It was a great decision. I saw better job search results almost immediately. I got more responses from employers, eventually interviews and now the WVVA job.”

Overcoming inexperience

Another challenge Widman had to address was a relative lack of experience. “I overcame it by looking for markets that would hire someone with my experience, but also framing the experience I do have in a certain way. I’ve done everything I will do in this job and I found a way to convey that to potential employers.”

Creatively following-up his applications further helped make Widman memorable. “I started doing video follow-ups between 7-10 days after I applied to a job. I’d reintroduce myself, restate my qualifications and tell the News Director or Sports Director why I wanted to work at their station or what set them apart from others. It gave them another chance to see me on camera and I thought it would help me stand out among other applicants.”

Once he was invited to interview with WVVA, Widman began to prepare. “I did research on the market and the station. I thought about possible questions they could ask me and prepared answers for them.”

Just relaxing

Being himself during the interview helped push Widman over the top. “For example, I spoke with the News Director prior to the Sports Director and Station GM joining the video call. He asked me how my favorite baseball team (the Cleveland Indians) had done this season and I said ‘they played like a team with a $40 million payroll.’ I showed some personality instead of saying something generic like ‘they did ok.’ He laughed and I think it gave him an idea of who I am and also helped me relax and settle in.”

Widman has collected many wonderful stories from his experience playing and coaching sports. Now he’s looking forward to sharing similar stories from others.

Berbari continuing his play-by-play career at Siena

Life changed for Emmanuel Berbari his freshman year at Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, NY. “A couple of my best friends launched the first live video streaming program at the school,” he recalls. “In late 2013, I called one basketball game out of the blue and something clicked.”

That click has become a career. Berbari is the new play-by-play voice of men’s basketball and other sports at Siena College in Loudonville, NY.

After his freshman year experience, Berbari continued feeding his newfound passion at a sports broadcasting camp. “Hearing from some of the people I had admired watching sports games — learning everything that went into the craft — inspired me to do more,” he remembers.

Onto Siena

Berbari learned of the Siena opening in an STAA Job Leads email. “I’d been looking for college basketball jobs since graduation and the summer baseball season, and thought it was the perfect opportunity,” he says. “When I sent along materials, they were still early in the process, but I followed up a couple of weeks later to gauge where everything stood.”

Two of Berbari’s mentors helped boost his candidacy. “They were nice and generous enough to go out of their way to put me in touch with those involved with hiring in the athletic department.

“People talk a lot about how great broadcasters often go hand-in-hand with great people, and I truly don’t think I get the job without references going above and beyond, mainly conveying who I was as a person. Following up and showing how much I wanted to be at Siena definitely helped, but the great people I’ve met along the way were more interested in helping than I ever could have expected.”

Developing his craft

Berbari’s play-by-play experience ranges from football, basketball and baseball, to softball, lacrosse and volleyball. Hoops, though, is among his favorites. “I absolutely love basketball radio play-by-play. The pace and energy of the game environment have always made it feel special.”

Berbari has continued honing his craft over his past four years at Fordham. He graduated this year. “The last few years have been a great learning experience — self-critiquing my work, finding a variety of ways to describe the same action and really working on improving how I use my voice to convey the story of the game.”

Practicing pays

His efforts paid off. Berbari twice earned STAA All-America honors as one of the nations six most outstanding collegiate sports broadcasters. He’s been an STAA member since 2018 and credits his membership with helping him land the Siena job. “Not only in making me aware of the job initially, but helping me become a better broadcaster over the last few years,” he says. “The play-by-play resources, videos and summits make you think about the craft in different ways that you can weave that into your own work.”

Now, the kid who started calling games as a high school freshman is the voice of an NCAA Division I men’s basketball program.

“It will be an awesome chance to continue growing as a broadcaster around a terrific program,” Berbari says excitedly.

Sheehan joins WAC as On-Air Talent

Kendra Sheehan has done plenty of sideline reporting for Southern Illinois University athletics during her two years at WSIL TV. “I knew that was the direction I wanted to take my career and to work for a major conference, professional team or one of the major networks,” she says.

Sheehan is taking the next step in that direction. She’s joining the Western Athletic Conference as an On-Air Talent and Broadcasting Coordinator. “I felt this position with the WAC will help hone my skills and serve as the right next step in my career,” she muses.

Well prepared

Sheehan’s preparation for a sportscasting career began with her undergraduate degree from Florida State, then her Masters from Syracuse. Her passion for sports, though, has deeper roots.

“I played multiple sports growing up,” she says. “Both my parents were athletes, as was my sister who ran track and field for Auburn University. My grandfather was a professional baseball player. As I started to look at career options, I knew I wanted to get into broadcasting. The ability to combine my love of sports and my passion for telling stories seemed like a natural fit.”

After earning her Masters, Sheehan accepted a job as a digital content reporter at Buffalo Bills training camp. It was on to WSIL after that.

Unique approach

One thing Sheehan believes helped her WAC candidacy was her unique demo reel. “I utilized creative stand-ups that would make my reel stand out from all other applicants,” she recalls. “During interviews, a number of people commented on some of my unique coverage.”

She also works hard to build meaningful relationships. “[It] has helped me build a list of references that would be willing to speak on my behalf.”

Sheehan joined STAA in 2019. “STAA has helped me stay on top of what’s happening in the industry through job postings and helpful tips for networking, building a reel and creating a compelling resume,” she says.

Sheehan’s resume is now even more compelling with her move to the WAC and a deeper dive into college athletics.

Mom’s advice starts Koier’s unlikely path to NAHL’s Warriors

The first time the Wichita Falls Warriors NAHL play-by-play job opened this summer, David Koier didn’t know about it. The team had given the lead to STAA but Koier wasn’t yet a member. When the Warrior’s hire left just weeks later, the team again posted with STAA. Koier didn’t apply because he has never broadcast hockey. When the team’s second hire reneged one day after accepting the position and just days before the season-opener, Koier again wasn’t going to apply. Then his mom encouraged him to take a shot. “The worst they can say is no to you,” she advised.

Mom’s are smart. Ms. Koier’s son is the Warriors new Broadcaster/Director of Social Media.

“It kind of just came out of nowhere if I’m being honest,” he muses. “I love hockey but didn’t have any hockey experience.”

An unlikely story

This summer, Koier asked STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik if it was smart for him to apply for hockey jobs with no hockey experience. “I was advised no, but given the tools to get reps and build a demo without calling an actual live game,” Koier recalls. “My plan for this fall was to reach out to teams within a few hours of me to see if I could utilize an empty press box to just try and get some reps and build a demo for hockey to potentially apply for jobs next fall.”

When the Warriors job opened the third time this off-season on Friday October 8th, Koier again decided against applying. “Not only did I still not have a hockey demo, but I am currently finishing my last semester of grad school and didn’t think I’d just be able to get up and leave during the semester. I called my mom for advice and she said, “Worst they can say is no to you. If you don’t have a demo they can only say no. If they can’t because of grad school, worst they can say is no. Just go for it.”

On Saturday evening October 9th, Koier submitted his application “just to see what would happen.” The next morning, Warriors Owner Mary Anne Choi contacted him for an interview. “She said she was impressed with my body of work. I sort of hinted once again that I had never called hockey. It didn’t seem to bother her.”

Pieces fall into place

Choi was especially impressed with Koier’s graphic design work. “On my website I have a few Photoshop edits I have made just toying around. She asked about grad school and said if I could finish it remotely the job was mine. I immediately called my mom and emailed my professors to see if it was possible.

Koier’s mind raced that night about suddenly moving halfway across the country alone for a new job in a sport he had never called. “Roughly seven years ago, my sister up and moved to North Carolina just for a change of scenery and has been there ever since, so she talked me through that aspect,” Koier says. “My sister is my role model and is always who I go to for advice.”

The next morning, Koier woke up to four emails from his professors, all stating that they were happy for his opportunity and were pleased to accommodate him so he could move to Texas.

Though Koier hasn’t broadcast hockey, he’s called plenty of football, basketball and baseball. He spent this past summer with the Sioux Falls Sunfish of the summer collegiate Expedition League.

Joining STAA

Koier learned of STAA after Chelesnik spoke via Skype to one of his classes at Western Illinois. He joined this year and, despite Chelesnik advising that applying for hockey jobs without a hockey demo was a fruitless endeavor, still appreciates his membership.

“All summer while I was in Sioux Falls trying to update my demo and website and get advice for applying for jobs, I sent email after email to Jon and he was so prompt in responding and gave the best advice. He was always genuinely interested in my time with the Sunfish and continuously told me to keep the questions coming. If you have a question, there’s a chance Jon has written a blog about it, and if he hasn’t, email him your question and there’s a good chance he’ll write one for you.”

One of Koier’s next challenges will be decorating his Texas bachelor pad. He’s smart; he’ll likely ask his mom for advice.

Kansas native Strathman stays in state at ESPN Wichita

Pat Strathman has lived his entire life in Kansas. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and has worked at radio stations in Atchison, Topeka and Salina. Therefore, it makes sense that his next move is again within the Sunflower state. Strathman has joined the new ESPN Wichita 92.3 FM as Sports Director/Assistant Program Director.

“I’ve been in Kansas for all 31-plus years of my life. There is something about that sunset that keeps me here,” Strathman chuckles. “In all seriousness, the Midwest mentality is truly remarkable. People here are hard workers and they deeply care for each other. Those are the people I want to be around.”

Uncovering opportunity

One of those people Strathman wants to be around is his new boss, Chad Boeger. Boeger is a radio veteran and president of Union Broadcasting, co-owner of the new station.

“Way back in June, a radio friend of mine contacted me and told me of 92.3 switching formats from country to all sports,” Strathman recalls. “After doing a bit of research, I decided to poke around. That led me to the doorstep of well-respected Chad Boeger. Following a few conversations, he asked if I wanted to join the team.”

On the move

An STAA member since 2013, Strathman spent the past five years as sports director at KSAL in Salina. His duties included a daily sports talk show and play-by-play for Kansas Wesleyan University. As much as he enjoyed his time there, moving to Wichita was a no-brainer for Strathman.

“For starters, Wichita is a bigger market that is crazy about sports,” he says. “I challenge anyone to find a fan base that supports its team like Wichita State men’s basketball fans. The Wichita Wind Surge made their debut this summer and the town backed them immediately. Wichita hosted the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and that resulted in the town being selected for 2021 (changed because of COVID-19) and 2025. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this town.

“That’s why ESPN Wichita was created — to serve the sports fans in the community of Wichita with nine hours of local sports talk to go with play-by-play of various events.”

Play-by-play hopes

Strathman has always loved play-by-play. Even though it isn’t part of his new position, he’s not giving it up. “Freelancing is very much a norm in today’s sportscasting industry. If an opportunity pops up and my schedule allows it, I’ll gladly put on the headset,” he says.

If he doesn’t do play-by-play, Strathman will spend time with his fiancée Cara. “A free day with the future wife doesn’t sound too bad either,” he smiles.

However he spends his time, Strathman is grateful for his new home in his home state.

“Working for a new locally-owned radio station is thrilling and it’s all sports with the big four letters E-S-P-N. What’s not to like about that?”

Thomas is second STAA member to jump from juniors to AHL this year

The likelihood of a sportscaster jumping from junior hockey to the AHL is similar to that of a goalie scoring a goal. Yet two broadcasters have done it this off-season; both of them are STAA members.

TJ Chillot moved from the Tier II Austin Bruins to the Charlotte Checkers in July.  Now Alex Thomas is moving from the Tier III Northern Cyclones to the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Thomas follows veteran Bob Crawford, who turned down an offer to return to Hartford for a 25th season.

A tip from a friend

“I heard about the potential of the job in the late spring/early summer from a friend who is employed by the team,” Thomas recalls. “They had told me that they passed my stuff along because the team may actually be looking for a broadcaster moving forward.”

Thomas was relaxing at home when the Wolf Pack called. “I was both a little surprised and really excited to receive the phone call. I knew there was a possibility that the team would be looking, but honestly I didn’t think much of it. I had just come out of two interview processes where I fell short, and had only heard the rumblings about the potential of this job.

“To be quite honest with you, I was a little down on myself at that point in time, but that call gave me that extra jolt of confidence I needed.”

Thomas is a 2016 graduate of Springfield College. He joined STAA one year later. “The [STAA] tools really helped me prepare for interviews, edit the reel I wanted, and to mold my resume in a way I felt presented me as a strong candidate.”

Thomas’ hockey experience includes broadcasting for Northeastern University, Tufts University, UMass Lowell and Holy Cross. He served as the main voice for Northeastern’s three-time Hockey East Champion Northeastern Women’s Hockey team.

Well-prepared

Thomas spent last season with the USPHL’s Northern (MA) Cyclones. He appreciates that jumping from Tier III juniors to the AHL might be unprecedented, but adds that the Cyclones prepared him well for the opportunity.

“I can’t thank Bill and Joe Flanagan, the team’s owners, enough,” Thomas enthuses. “If any organization was going to give me the tools to succeed and make the jump, it was them. They run the Cyclones like a professional organization and the expectations there are high. They invest the money to produce, in my mind, the best stream that the USPHL has to offer. The resources available to ensure that I had everything I needed to call a game was super important to me, and I believed helped me become a better broadcaster.

Things Thomas did off-air for the Cyclones helped prepare him as well. “The experience I gained running their social media platforms, running their website in terms of producing consistent content, hosting their ‘Coach’s Corner’ podcast and getting involved on the sponsorship side made me a more well-rounded broadcaster who could wear multiple hats. I feel like I’ve worked for a professional organization.”

Big shoes to fill

Following a local legend like Bob Crawford won’t be easy. Thomas speaks reverently about Crawford. At the same time, Thomas is confident Wolf Pack fans will like him, too.

“Hartford has been absolutely blessed with some terrific voices over the years, going back to the days of the NHL and the Whalers,” Thomas states. “I’m stepping in for a legend and one of the most well-known and well respected broadcasters the AHL has ever seen. To step into those shoes is for sure a challenge, but it is one that I embrace and I believe I am ready for.

“I’m sure I have some real work to do to win over this great fan base, but I plan on coming in and being myself, putting my own stamp on the call.”