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Bublé in the booth

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Performing in front of a packed house is nothing new for musician Michael Bublé.

He’s at home on centre stage trapped in the spotlight, microphone in hand; the controlled chaos of entertaining adoring fans is a way of life.

Naturally that made Bublé, a BC native and longtime Canucks fan, the perfect guest colour commentator during a recent Canucks broadcast on the Team 1040.

With staple colour man Tom Larscheid out of town being inducted into the Utah State Athletics Hall of Fame for his football heroics, Bublé took over for the radio great and complimented play-by-play commentator John Shorthouse when Vancouver welcomed the Chicago Blackhawks to town on Feb. 7.

Going into the game it might have been a stretch to say that Bublé would come close to filling Larscheid’s immense shoes, after the game it was clear that they were just his size.

Bublé was charming, charismatic, delightfully droll and zealous. He was everything a colour man should be and considering it was his first kick at the can, his radio debut was down right impressive.

“I didn’t think of it as a performance, I thought of it more as a situation where a very lucky fan got to sit up in the box with one of the great play-by-play commentators and just enjoy the game,” said Bublé, adding that despite preparing his whole life for the opportunity, it was much more difficult than he ever imagined.

“It’s funny because when you’re an armchair quarterback and your sitting at home and watching the game, I think you can be a lot more astute. But when you’re sitting there and it’s in the moment, it goes by so quickly and I was actually just dumbfounded by how fast Shorty’s mind worked.

“To watch him call the play and process what was happening the way he did was amazing.”

Born in Burnaby in 1975, Bublé was treated to Canucks games often growing up as his grandfather Frank had season tickets back when the Rink on Renfrew was the place to be.

Whether it was with grandpa Frank or his dad Lewis, little Michael was a regular at games, which left him in awe of everything Canucks.

“I remember being on my dad’s shoulders, I was just a young kid, and Vancouver was playing Chicago. I think it was ’82 and I remember the white towels and singing ‘Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye.’”

From that point on, Bublé was hooked and like many of us, the Canucks are now a big part of his life.

That’s what made stepping into the broadcast booth special for Bublé as he wasn’t there plugging a new album or hyping some useless product, he loves the Canucks so this was literally the experience of a lifetime for the 33-year-old.

Bublé is a Grammy Award winning singer with six Junos under his belt and countless other achievements to his credit, but those honours aren’t even in the same league as his night with the Canucks.

“It’s up there with any kind of big moment of my life,” said Bublé, who is part of the Vancouver Giants' ownership group.

“It was more enjoyable probably than the Junos or the Grammys or any other thing.”

Now that’s saying something.

Not surprisingly, the jovial Vancouver fan within Bublé surfaced on a few occasions during the game, an exquisite 7-3 Canucks win.

When Henrik Sedin tipped in a shot from brother Daniel just 53 seconds into the first period, Bublé gleefully embraced Shorthouse – for those of you unfamiliar with Press Box Code, hugging is a no-no according to Article 53.

“There was a hug after the first goal, then I realized that you have to be a serious journalist and that isn’t protocol, but I was excited. I’m just such a huge fan and especially at that point with how badly the Canucks needed that win, that was a big win.”

With the exception of that minor mishap, which he was not fined for, Bublé was smooth the rest of the way, he even dusted off his crystal ball and predicted Steve Bernier would score on the shift that he put Vancouver up 4-0 early in the second period.

That wasn’t a fluke, according to Bublé, as his prognosticating skills were sharp on this night for a reason.

“I went down and talked to some of the boys from both teams and I asked them for a few favours so I knew the score was going to be 7-3; I picked the goal scorers and everything,” said Bublé, who also predicted the scoreclock would fall.

“Okay, I was off on that one,” he laughed.

Whether Bublé actually played a part in Vancouver’s win remains unclear, the only way to test his powers would be to put him in the hot seat again.

Bublé is down with providing more colour in the future, but he’s hoping Shorthouse and Larscheid won’t need replacements for a long time to come.

“I think those guys are sweethearts and I say that in the most manly and macho way.

"They have great chemistry together, I think they’re great classy guys who have a great knowledge of the game, a great sense of humour, obviously a nice relationship and it’s really fun to listen to them, I think they make it even more exciting.”

  Honouring a great
Canucks on air
Broadcaster bios

  1 - Grammy Award for Bublé

6 - Juno Awards; Bublé is nominated for another this year

  4x- Bublé's third album, Call Me Irresponsible, has gone 4x platinum in Canada

1 - Hug handed out during his colour commentating debut

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