Monday, August 8, 2011

Sports Fix Reflections.

Tonight marks the end of an era for yours truly.

After three-and-a-half years, and approxomitely 190 episodes - I will no longer be hosting the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix after tonight. After I leave the Battlefords, the show will be taking a temporary hiadus, where it is my sincere hope that my relacement at CJNB/CJNS will continue the show once they get up to speed on their other duties at CJNB/CJNS.

The Sports Fix was born on April 4, 2008, but the idea of the Sports Fix was born long before that. In February of 2008 I wrote a letter to my superiors asking for their blessing to start the show. After a few meetings, they agreed to let me start the show, provided that we find an appropriate sponsor.

It didn't take long for David Bartko and Leisure Time Sports to hop on board, and after a month of planning, the first episode aired on the 4th of April. My first two guests on the Sports Fix were hockey hall-of-famers Gordie Howe and Marcel Dionne. Darryl Sittler became the third Hall-Of-Famer to join the program in August of 2008.

From there, the show continued a strong mix of both local and national content. Local coaches like: Ken Pearson, Blair Atcheynum, Martin Smith, Brian Cottini, Jamie Sommerfeld, Roger Blacquiere, Pete Clayton, Dallan Schwab, Bruce Yockey, Craig Paylor, Trent Cey, Regan Beck and Pat Orobko all very kindly made themselves available to the program.

I find it fitting that the new North Star's coach and G.M. Kevin Hasselberg will be a guest on tonight's final show.

During hockey season the SJHL coaches were incredibly dependable and I can't thank all of them enough for making the time. It was such a thrill to speak with the likes of: Darrell Mann, Larry Wintoneak, Karry Biette, Bob Beatty, Mike Reagan, Dean Brockman, Jamie Fiesel, Trent Cassan, Kevin White, Gavin Holcumb, Keith Cassidy, Doug Johnson, Marlin Murray and Colin O'Hara. I also want to thank Laury Ryan and Bill Chow for making themselves available to the program as well. Your contributions to the show were tremendous, and I think we all managed to promote the SJHL very well together.

To the many North Star players who have appeared on the program over the years. I loved getting the chance to with you guys on a personal and in-depth level. I'd rather not name all of you for fear of forgetting somebody, but you have all made a great impact on me, and the program was richer for having you.

To my Junior A. Hockey broadcasting colleagues. You have been my saving grace for so many of these shows thanks to your incredible insight and contributions to the show. Craig Stein, Daniel Fink, Gino De Paoli, Darryl Skender, Kevin Smith, Blaine Weyland, Josh Lewis, Brenden Ullrich, Rob Hart, Dallas Hicks, Bill Burfoot, Darren Dupont, Fraser Rodgers, Kenny Trenton, Robb Hunter, and Kevin Jeffery were all fantastic contributors.

As the show gained steam, more and more personalities from the WHL made themselves available for the show. I want to recognize Drew Wilson, Bruce Leubke, Jeff Hollick and Lorne Molleken for their help. Jack Brodsky was also a two-time guest on the program. I was so grateful for the WHL insight courtesy of Cody Nickolet and Kelly Friesen. Brian Munz with the Manitoba Moose was also a great friend of the program.

One of the things that I was most proud of was the in depth CFL coverage that the show was able to provide. None of that would have been possible had it not been for the likes of: Jamie Nye, Wray Morrison, Mitchell Blair, Sean Campbell, Giullio Caravatta, Mike Hogan, Dave Campbell, and Dave Rowe.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were very helpful as well. The definitely understood the fact that Rider Pride extends well beyond Regina and Saskatoon. Ken Miller, Brendan Taman, Greg Marshall, Gene Makowsky, Rob Bagg, Neil Hughes, Andy Fantuz, Barrin Simpson, and Scott Schultz were all great guests. I would be remissed if I also didn't extend a HUGE thanks to both Ryan Whippler and Sheri Trapp for their continued help. If not for those two, none of the previously mentioned players and coaches would have appeared on the program.

One final CFL note. I want to thank Commissioner Mark Cohon for making an appearance on the show in 2009. I love how popular the CFL has become in recent years, and I truly believe that Cohon and his team deserve a ton of credit for helping the league earn it's way back into the hearts of the casual fan.

The Toronto Blue Jays have also been very good to me over the past three-and-a-half years. They always stepped up and helped me lock down guests for my anniversary shows. David Eckstein, John McDonald, Travis Snider and Cito Gaston were all memorable guests. The Blue Jays will always be my favourite baseball team, and they have always treated me with the utmost class and dignity. I wish them nothing but the best moving forward.

I also want to thank both the Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins and Cincinnatti Reds for opening up their organization to the Sports Fix as well. Jeff Francis, Joey Votto and of course North Battleford's own Andrew Albers were guests. Speaking with all three of those men was a huge thrill for me.

I also had the tremendous fortune of interviewing several NHLers on the show. I have great memories of speaking with: Wade Belak, Curtis Brown, Jordan Eberle, Scott Hartnell, Kyle Brodziak, Blake Comeau, Boyd Gordon, and Jordan Hendry. All of those men were very candid and took plenty of time to answer all questions. I am so humbled and grateful to have spoken to such classy players. I also want to thank Todd MacLellan, Scott Arniel and Dave Tippett for making time for the program as well. None of these interviews would have been possible if not for several Media Relations Directions from around the NHL who very kindly accepted my interview requests. Add the likes of Bob Nicholson, and Al Murray from Hockey Canada along with Cassie Campbell from CBC - And I feel like the Sports Fix audience got some excellent NHL perspective.

Lastly I want to recognize three guests who defy any type of specific description. Three of my favourite sports-radio hosts who have made a lasting impression on me: Dan Russell, Jim Robson and Tomm Looney. I've long looked up to all three of these men both as professionals and as people. I am so grateful for getting the chance to hear your stories and pick your brain about sports. Thank you.

When I think back to all of these interviews, and all of the hours of laughter, happiness, stress, frustration, and pride that this show encompassed, it leaves me feeling very humbled and blessed to have been able to steer this program for the past three-and-a-half years.

To each and every listener who went out of their way to tune into the program, I thank you most of all. You were the reason why I kept putting the show together. Your feedback, e-mails, guest requests and support made all of the difficult days worth it. I love sports so much, and I love the fact that I got to share my passion with such an accepting, loyal audience. Thank you for being great fans, and for being such an accepting, welcoming community of people.

I hope that down the road I will again get the opportunity to host sports-radio in some capacity. I grew up listening to sports radio, dreaming of the day that I would get to have a show of my own. And thanks to a trusting company, a great sponsor, helpful Media Relations staff, and great fans, I got my wish. By listening to the program, or by appearing on the show as a guest, you helped me live my dream and that is something that I will never forget.

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