Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth - Les Stoodley

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth – Les Stoodley

As I wrote about in my last blog, the 2006-2007 season was an outstanding success for the Wildcats, they finished in first place in the League, then went on to capture their first Presidents Cup. It was outstanding hockey and the Moncton fans reacted with a passion to the ploys used by Quebec coach Patrick Roy in his attempt to get the Wildcats off their game.

Moncton was the host city for the Memorial Cup and everyone associated with the experience was thrilled to be a part of the most outstanding hockey event ever held in the city. Memorial Cup fever gripped us all. No one whether they were paid staff or volunteers complained about 16 hour days. We were all caught up in hockey excitement involving the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, the Remparts and our Moncton Wildcats. The old Coliseum never heard roars like those that echoed off the rafters during those seven days in May of 2006.

In an effort to gain any kind of advantage, Sir Patrick’s mind games continued into the Memorial Cup and his tactics did not impress the Wildcats fans. However, the Remparts prevailed in the final game and Moncton’s hope of being the home of the national champions ended with a Remparts win.

Now we’re down to the championship final series between the Wildcats and their provincial rivals the Saint John Sea Dogs. For the first time in the history of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, two New Brunswick teams will meet for the right to claim ownership of the Presidents Cup.

It has been a tough road for the Wildcats winning all three lead-up series 4 games to 1. They faced a strong Cape Breton team in the first round, then went up against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, a team predicted to be a league finalist. In the semi-final round, Moncton defeated the defending League champion Drommondville Voltigeurs.

The Sea Dogs route to the final involved weaker teams, they faced the PEI Rocket in the first round winning 4 games to 1. In the quarter finals, they rolled over a tired Gatineau squad sweeping the series in four straight then got bit of scare from the Victoriaville Tigres in a series that went six games. In total both teams have played a total of 15 games to get the chance for a trip to the Master Card Memorial Cup in Brandon, Manitoba.

Who will the victor be – my money is on the Wildcats. Trying to be somewhat unbiased, if you look at the eight games between the two clubs over the season, the Cats won four of the games in regulation which the Dogs won three in a shootout and one in overtime. Shoot out wins are really skill competitions while an overtime game can go either way. One thing is certain; it’s going to be a tough, hard series. None of the current members of the Wildcats team have played in a final series while the Sea Dogs have two players who have experience in going the distance.
Both teams are well coached. Summerside native Gerald (Turk) Gallant in his first year behind the Sea Dogs bench was voted the League’s coach of the year this year while last season, Danny Flynn, the Wildcats head coach was awarded the same honor.

Look for a six of seven game series. Look for great goaltending with Riopel and Cousineau giving us thrills by the dozen, look for edge of your seat, nail biting, heart stop action from both New Brunswick teams. I can’t wait to call a second Wildcats Preisents Cup win.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blog from the Broadcast Booth - Les Stoodley

Reflecting on games and events during my eight years with the Wildcats brings back moments that have a special place in my almost 50 years of broadcasting. The game of May 9, 2004 is one of them.

The Wildcats had made it through to the final series by disposing of Baie-Comeau, the PEI Rocket, the Rimouski Oceanic with a young Sidney Crosby in the line-up, to meet the Gatineau Olympiques in the Presidents Cup final. It was clear the Olymipques were the class of the QMJHL and the series went only five games. In the games played at the Robert Guertin Centre, I had the pleasure of having my son Kurt join me as a color commentator. He had been a good minor hockey player and would have made the Dalhousie Tigers except for a career ending shoulder injury suffered in a playoff game during his final year of midget. He’d also done play-by-play of AHL games in Halifax with the late Bob Boucher as his broadcast partner. Kurt was delighted to join me since the assistant coach of Gatineau was his minor hockey team mate John Chabot.
The Olympiques won the fifth game 3-0 to take the championship. That game stirs my emotions because to the best of my knowledge, it marked the first and only time a father and son team, had called a championship game in the QMJHL.

The Cats were knocked out of the 2005 playoff series in the quarter finals but it was during one of the playoff games at the Coliseum that gave me chills. We had been carrying the games on the internet all season and our audience was continuing to grow. I was perhaps a little unaware of the power of this new method of broadcasting. The two European players with the Cats that season were Martins Karsums and Oscars Bartulis both from Riga, Latvia. We were in the second intermission when I was tapped on the shoulder and told there were people in the press box who wanted to meet me. I was introduced to the parents of Martins Karsums. Mrs. Karsums could not speak English but her husband, who was a cab driver in Riga, shook my hand and said, “I’ve very much been looking forward to meeting you,” he said and then continued, “it is one o’clock in the morning in Latvia when I log on to the Wildcats website and wait for your voice to say, ‘this is the Moncton Wildcats hockey broadcast.’ He left me with a lump in my throat when he added, “you need to understand that all season long, you have been my contact with my son which I deeply appreciate.” His sincere thank you left me speechless.

Fans of the Wildcats were more than delighted when in the early summer of 2005, Mr. Irving announced that Ted Nolan, former coach of a Memorial Cup winning team in Sault Ste. Marie, the Greyhounds and winner of the Jack Adams Trophy for the NHL’s best coach with Buffalo was coming out of retirement to put together a contending team for the 2006 Master Card Memorial Cup which was to be hosted by Moncton. What followed was the most remarkable year in the history of the Wildcats and the development of a friendship with a man I came to greatly admire.

There are a dozen Ted Nolan stories I could tell but space doesn’t permit them all, so I’ll highlight two. People are drawn to Teddy, especially people in the native community; he has a strong but humble persona. We were in Cape Breton early in November 2005. It was a cold, damp night. We had dinner up the street from the hotel. When we left the restaurant, Ted and I were legging behind the rest of the crew. A young native boy from the local reserve, stood under a street lamp near the hotel entrance. As we approached him he stepped toward us and looking at Ted said, “Excuse me sir but are you Ted Nolan?” “Yes, I am,” Teddy replied. “Excuse me Mr. Nolan but could I talk with you for a few minutes sir please?” the boy, who I figured was around 12, asked. “Of course” was the immediate response from the man considered by his people to be an icon. The boy’s eyes lit up like Christmas tree lights and I knew I had no place in that conversation and went into the hotel. It was 15 minutes or more later when a damp Ted Nolan with a smile a mile wide came into the hotel’s lobby. “What a great young man,” he said to me. “What a kind older man to talk with him,” I responded. Teddy’s eyes glistened a little and he said, “people in my community did things like that for me when I was young, I owed the same thing to that boy,” was his reply. I know that night was special for that young native boy, special too for Ted Nolan and special for me because I had seen the kindness of this gentle man.

The second story is all about hockey. Ted, Danny Flynn and Dan Lacroix had made some great moves from the start of the season and during the trading period to make the Wildcats a contender for the League championship.
It was game four at the Colisee Pepsi, the Wildcats were up 3-1 early in the third but Quebec came back, tied the game and sent it into overtime. Philippe Dupuis of the Wildcats was given a penalty at the 7:38 mark of the OT and a minute and 11 seconds later Brent Aubin scored to win the game for the Remparts and tie the series at two games each.

The ride on the bus to the post game meal at the Hotel Quebec was deathly quiet. You could feel the disappointment the Cats players were experiencing. When the bus stopped in front of the building, Ted got up from his seat and moved toward the back of the bus. Knowing he wanted to talk with the team, I went to get out of my seat but the Coach stopped me. “It’s ok Les, you can stay,” he said softly. With a voice carefully modulated to reach the back of the bus, Ted said, “boys, we lost the hockey game and sometimes you learn more by losing than you do winning. Here’s what I want you to do, first get your -------heads up,” there was a ripple of laughter. “Go into the hotel, enjoy your meal, we’ve ordered a special dessert, walk the two blocks back to our hotel, get a good nights sleep and tomorrow night boys, we’ll show ‘em.” The applause from the Wildcats was like thunder. It was the perfect motivation speech. As we stopped outside the hotel, I said to Ted, “that was some speech and if I were a player with the Wildcats after losing the way they did and the coach giving a talk like you gave, I go through a wall for the coach. I got the famous Nolan smile again and this response, “Don’t you know Les that’s what that speech was all about.” The Cats won the next night when Karsums scored 13 seconds into overtime and came back home to win their first Presidents Cup in six games.

Calling that championship game was, up to now, the highlight of my work with the Wildcats. When I got home late that night my wife asked me if I remembered what I had said when the game was over. I told her I had no idea, I was caught up in the moment. She then told me what had happened when the buzzer ended the game. “You said with increased intensity, your voice getting louder with each sentence, ‘the Wildcats have won the Presidents Cup, the Wildcats have won the Presidents Cup, THE WILDCATS HAVE WON THE PRESIDENTS CUP.”

I guess I’m somewhat selfish but no other broadcaster in the history of the Moncton Wildcats will be able to say, “I’m the guy who called the game on May 14, 2006, when the Wildcats won their first League title.” What a moment, what a thrill.

I’ll cover more of 2005-2006 in my next blog in a couple of days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth

In the spring of 2002, I volunteered to do four games as the play-by-play broadcaster with Rogers Television. It had been 20 years since I’d done any hockey broadcasting but it was the beginning of eight exciting years of my life closely tied to the Moncton Wildcats.

Now into the 2010 playoffs, with a strong team expected to battle for their second Presidents Cup, my time as the voice of the Wildcats is drawing to a close. I’ve decided to “hang up the pipes” when this season ends and return to my home town of Grand Bank in Newfoundland to retire, whatever that means.

General Manager Bill Schurman has suggested I do a retrospective look at the eight amazing season I’ve called games for the Cats and if memories were seats at the Coliseum, I have enough to fill the building. So let me take you with me and share some of the highlight moments of what can only be called an amazing hockey experience.

It’s strange the things that stand out in your mind but I vividly recall getting on the bus at the Cape Bretoner Motel in Sydney on September 13, 2002, heading for Centre 200 and the beginning of a new Q season. To say I was nervous would be an understatement; I only had the Wildcats lineup and wouldn’t get the names of the Screaming Eagles team until we got to the arena. It’s hard to call a game without knowing both teams. A brash young defenseman from Charlottetown, PEI was getting on the bus ahead of me; he turned back and asked, “Do you know who I am?” “Yes,” I quickly a answered, “you’re Murnaghan, number 6.” He laughed and said, “Right Mr. Broadcaster, you might be alright.” The nervous tension was broken.
That first season was stressful; there was so much to learn but after a few shaky starts, the flow that comes with doing play-by-play started to return. I started to get to know the Wildcats players on a personal basis and came to appreciate their dedication and commitment to the hope of playing in the National Hockey League. Two guys from that first game, Steve Bernier and Corey Crawford have seen that dream come true. Others like number 21 have moved on to other careers. He is now Constable Kevin Glode with the RCMP working in the Petitcodiac office.

My guide during that first year was Neil Hodge, the reporter who has covered the Wildcats through their 14 year history. Hodge would show me the press box in the arenas around the Q and would marvel at my sense of shock at the locations from which I’ve broadcast games. Neil and I have become good friends over the years, we’ve had disagreements about our roles with the team but there’s not a reporter in hockey who works harder than Hodgie in getting the story done.

Baie-Comeau stands out in my mind as one of these strange arenas, the press box is just six feet above the bleachers and once the game started, if the fans in front of me stood up, I couldn’t see the play. Baie-Comeau is also the site of the strangest broadcast I’ve ever done. By 2004-2005, we had graduated to doing the games on the internet. It was a matter of plugging your laptop computer into a telephone line, logging on to the website and doing the games after I would check with my wife in Moncton to make sure the sound was coming through. I’d run music off a cassette player to test the line. On one particular night, I could not log on to the website, I made a dozen different approaches to reach the internet but none of them worked. In desperation I called the Aliant rep in Saint John who connected me via telephone to his computer and I did the game with a phone stuck in my ear for the better part of three hours.

Then there was the game at the Bell Centre in 2003 when the Cats played the then Montreal Rocket. The night before, the entire Wildcats team had attended the game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres and the building was sold out, over 20 thousand people. The next afternoon the Wildcats and Rocket skated on the same ice except there were perhaps 700 people in the building which felt like a tomb from ancient Egypt.

Another advance in our broadcasting came during the 2004 playoffs. Corey Crawford stood on his head and led the team to a six game victory over the PEI Rocket in the quarter finals. My friend Stephane Paquette the reporter for Acadie-Nouvelle was sitting next to me in the press box at the Civic Centre in Charlottetown. I played an interview after doing the period summary, Stephane said, “It’s a shame you’re not bilingual, a lot of the players parents in Quebec would like to hear the summary in their language.” I agreed and threw the ball back in Paquette’s court, “why don’t you do it,” I asked. “Sure thing,” was his immediate response and so whenever possible we did summaries in both official languages. The addition of Frank Robidoux as a color commentator at home games insured this feature since Frank is bilingual.

One of the joys of my job with the Wildcats has been meeting hundreds of parents of the young men who have worn the Cat logo on their jersey. Here’s a funny story to wrap up the first of these memory blogs. In 2005, the Wildcats were playing Drummondville in the first round of the playoffs. We had finished the first road game and I had come down to chat with some of the Moncton fans who had made the trip up to Quebec. Off to my left were two ladies pointing at me and then talking with each other. I had no idea what was going on until one of the ladies hesitantly walked over to me and asked with a strong French accent, “Are you the man who talks the games on the computer?” I assured her I was indeed the same person. She said, “My English is not very good but I am the mother of Jean Sebastien Adam.” JS was one of the Cats defenseman, “I’m delighted to meet you,” I responded and then she broke me up with her next line. “I like to hear you but sometimes when the game gets exciting, you make my heart stop,” she said with a dead serious look on her face. It was a compliment I’ll cherish.

Next blog in a couple of days with stories of the 2005-2006 season, the beginning of webcasting and the thrill of calling the Cup winning game.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth

The teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are now in the final third of regular season play with the top teams gearing for a run at the League championship. The Moncton Wildcats are one of at least five teams considered to have a chance to hoist the Presidents Cup in mid May.

Despite a first half filled with injuries, the Wildcats, with dogged determination and extraordinary hard work, kept themselves in contention. In many games prior to the Christmas break, the Cats played with as many as seven of their regular line-up being scratched due to a variety of injuries.

Then on December 17th, 2009, the fortunes of the Wildcats took a decided turn for the better. The team announced the return of Nicola Riopel, the outstanding goaltender who last year captured the Q’s MVP award. Rio had been drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in June but was sent back to Major Junior Hockey for more seasoning. He brings talent, experience and a winning attitude to the Cats.

In an interview with me, after the trading period ended, Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Danny Flynn told me, Rio’s returned signified the beginning of a change in the plans of the team for this season. The Wildcats organization had been expected to have a clear shot at the league title next year but the return of an outstanding netminder, set in motion a whole new series of thoughts about this season.

With the strongest defensive corps in the Q again this year, the decision makers in the organization had to consider a number of possibilities. What if David Savard, Mark Barberio and high ranked draft pick Brandon Gormley made it to the pros next season. That would leave the blueline of the Wildcats in serious jeopardy.

So the race was on. The trade period brought several major moves to strengthen the Wildcats offensively and make them a legitimate contender this year. Gabriel Bourque of Baie-Comeau was the first acquisition, an outstanding two way player who had made it to the Team Canada National Junior team. Then came Nicolas Deschamps, captain of the Chicoutimi Sageueens who scored his first goal for the Wildcats, 19 seconds into his first shift, prompting coach Flynn to ask, “What took you so long?”
In the final hours of the trading period, Kelsey Tessier, another great two way player was acquired from Quebec. Flynn got Newfoundland native Alex Wall from the Montreal Junior and Tyler Metcalfe from Halifax to add even more depth to on defense.

With Kirill Kabanov expected back in the line up in mid-February and Simon Jodoin returning from a shoulder injury, in my opinion the Wildcats are a stronger team than the group that took them to the Memorial Cup final four years ago.

Danny Flynn has said there’s a difference assembling talent and assembling a team. I’m convinced a winning team will be assembled. It’s fair to ask why I say that. A few days ago I was watching the Cats wrap-up a tough practice. At the end of the 90 minute workout, the players gathered by their bench and let loose an ear splitting cheer. I had not heard that since the spring of 2006. Call it chemistry, call it team unity, call it determination, for me it’s called a winning spirit. That’s what exists with the Moncton Wildcats and the proof will be evident in May.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth - Les Stoodley

I’ve always believed part of the responsibility of the elders of our society was to help create, encourage and insure the dreams of our youth have the best chance of becoming a reality.

So, I was more than a little astonished a few days ago when someone related the story of a blogger, who had written a piece on the internet, filled with untruths and disparaging remarks about Kirill Kabanov.

It is not difficult to create falsehoods about anyone especially if you are not privy to the facts about them. Nor does it take a lot of intelligence to dent the character of any youth with gossip.

I wonder if the writer of the piece about the Moncton Wildcats left winger will read this offering, however, I feel compelled to present some facts about this 17 year old young man that I know to be true.

Kirill was born in Moscow, Russia. He graduated high school when he was 15 years old. He is gifted with a unique ability to play hockey, so gifted in fact he was playing as a professional in his home country when he was only 16 years old. This highly intelligent young man speaks two languages and is learning a third. In fact he shocked a long time RDS reporter last week, when during an interview, he replied in French.

Young Mr. Kabanov has a dream, he’s had that dream since he was a little boy. His dream is not unlike that of many young Canadian boys, to play in the National Hockey League. He is convinced the direction he needs to achieve that dream is to play Major Junior Hockey in Canada.

Many people with far more knowledge of the game than this writer believe Kirill Kabanov could be a super-star in the NHL. There is no disputing Kabanov’s desire to be a NHL hockey player. He believes his dream with such fervor that he turned his back on a lucrative professional career in his own country, left his family behind, and travelled half way around the world to join the Moncton Wildcats, the organization he believes will speed his dream to a reality.

The reason this very talented player is in Moncton is because he was so highly rated as NHL potential by the scouts who rank players. Danny Flynn, the Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations saw him play in an international, under 17, tournament last year. Mr. Flynn, known as one of the most astute judges of young hockey talent in North America, along with Wildcats President Robert Irving, decided to draft Kabanov and bring him here to play.

After waiting six weeks while a protracted battle with the KHL the Russian professional hockey league and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was waged to secure his rights, Kirill Kabanov signed with the Wildcats and scored his first QMJHL goal in the first period of his first game on October 10th.

Here are some other things I’ve learned about Kirill since I met him at the Moncton airport the August night he arrived in our city. He’s a typical 17 year old, being a father of two sons, I speak with some experience. He has the enthusiasm of every young person I’ve met over my 60 plus years. He delights in being around people, is constantly having fun with his teammates, and takes direction with appreciation. I watched following a recent game when the Cats coaching staff showed him video of his play and pointed out how he could improve. He not only smiled and agreed with them, he shook their hands and said, “Thank you”. He loves his family. Let me illustrate, I did an interview with him for our Wildcats website as he prepared for his first game. Two days later he came to me asking for a DVD of our conversation, he wanted it to send to his mother in Moscow. The Wildcats organization made sure he got that DVD and I’m certain his mother was proud and delighted with the manner in which her son conducted himself.

I also know that NHL scouts are flocking to the Moncton Coliseum and other rinks around the Q to see this young Russian player. At a game last week, no less than 12 scouts from the pro ranks were in attendance.

As the team’s broadcaster, there are only a few little things I can do to foster the dreams of Kirill Kabanov. I can share with my audience, interviews and comments about his hockey abilities and his dream. My job is not only to call the play of the Wildcats but to give understanding, support and encouragement to young men such as Kirill as they build their hockey dreams. I’ve had a chance to do that with many former Wildcats, whom I consider friends, outstanding young men, such as Steve Bernier, Corey Crawford, Josh Tordjman, Adam Pineault, Chris Gaudet, Bruce Graham, Martins Karsums, Philippe Dupuis and many others, over the past seven seasons.

What a unique responsibility and pleasure is mine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth - Les Stoodley

The Wildcats use the slogan, "Your Community Team" and it is accurate to a fault. When it comes to community involvement and exposure the best example would be team Mascot, Wild Willie, who makes appearances at dozens of events in the South-Eastern New Brunswick area every month. The fury, fun character, who by the way has a new look this season, brings laughter and joy the faces of sick children. Willie poses for hundreds of photos with fans and lifts the spirit of the team at the Coliseum. Knowing Willie is know happiness.

Then there's the support of local charities through many partnerships. The 50/50 draw is a cooperative venture between the Lewisville-Sunny Brae Lions Club and the Wildcats. Last year over $8,000.00 was raised to support the Moncton Food Depot Alimintaire.Every home game the Lions volunteer their time selling tickets and fans benefit. So far this year fans have won over $11,000.00 in the 50/50 draw.

At each game there's the Cats Corner, where area non-profit groups get 20 tickets purchased by the Greater Moncton Progress Club. This partnership was formed a couple of years ago and was conceived by Chris Morehouse, a New Brunswick native, who went on to captain the Wildcats. Hundreds of fans, who would perhaps not otherwise see the Cats play benfit from this program.

Next weekend the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation will benefit from the "Pink in the Rink" weekend. For the games Lewiston and Halifax, the Wildcats will wear pink and white jerseys and socks which will be auctioned after the games. Last year's effort was an overwhelming success and it's interesting to note that all 18 teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will participate in this year's program.

Since October has dawned on us, its not to soon to mention the annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans bring hundreds of stuffed toys which go to children in our area hospitals at Christmas time.

Finally, my favorite Community event. The Remembrance day tribute to our veterans which will take place this year on Friday, November 6th. Each year I have the unique honour of reciting "In Flanders Fields." It is a moment I cherish since it provides me the opportunity to, in a small way, remember and salute those who paid the ultimate price in battle. It also allows me to pay tribute to the women and men, who preserved freedom, one of whom was my uncle Tom Crews who served with distinction in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. A "Community Team" the Wildcats are indeed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blogs from the Broadcast Booth - Les Stoodley

Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago we were trudging out of the J. Louis Levesque as the Wildcats ended their season losing to Rimouski? Hard to believe it was April 10th when the Oceanic won game five 1-0 to take the series four games to one.A lot has changed in the past five months. There have been awards for the Wildcats, especially to Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Danny Flynn, who was named coach of the year in the QMJHL. Goaltender Nicola Riopel was justly named the League's MVP for his amazing 2.01 goals against average during the regular season. The Cats won the Robert Lebel Trophy for their outstanding defensive play allowing only 149 goals against in a 68 game schedule. The players and coaching staff could look back on the season with a pride and optimism for the new season. Brandon Gormley and Louis Domingue starred for Team Canada in the under-18 tournament in the Czech Republic in August.Training camp presented, as Coach Flynn called it, "the best group of rookies I've seen in a long time." It was a difficult call to let some of the young players go back for another year of seasoning or be told they wouldn't be making the team. There were the pleasant surprises shown especially by the Saulnier twins of Cape Pele. Allain and Alex had a great exhibition series run. Allain scored his first Q goal in the season opener in Charlottetown last Friday night.Now the season is underway. The Wildcats go into Home Opening Weekend with a 1-1 record after a hard fought 2-1 over the Titan, Sunday afternoon in Bathurst.Home Opening weekend promises to be three days of entertainment and heavy duty hockey. Two Tail Gate Parties in the Coliseum Parking lot, one Friday afternoon starting at 5, the other Sunday getting underway at 2. Saturday is Cats Cup Day on Main Street along with the formal introduction of the team, autograph signing and a Bar-B-Q at the Farmers Market at noon.Friday's game will give fans their first look at the team many predict will be in the top 10 across the country and should repeat as Atlantic Division champions. However, predictions don't win hockey games, the players and coaches do. If preparation is a measuring stick, the Wildcats are ready and looking for a level of redemption when they face the Rocket, who've lifted off to a fast start with two wins in their opening games.The opening game at the Coliseum may not show the depth of the Wildcats with Mark Barberio, David Savard and Scott Brannon at NHL camps but it will show, a faster team than last year, with some sharp shooting rookies, out to prove they belong in the Q. It augers well for the season ahead. I'm looking forward to a great season and to having you join us on News 91.9 as we call the home and away games.