It’s hard to know where to begin. Everyone involved in the Coyotes’ franchise has been through an off-season like no other. Since the May 5th announcement that the team had filed bankruptcy, it has been an emotional roller coaster. For me, the questions were difficult because no one had any answers. Would the team stay or move? If it stayed would there be a job after the dust settled? Would there be a TV deal? If yes, how many games? If it moved would there be any available job in the league? The emotional and financial strain that this entire situation put on our family caused us to bend…but we didn’t break.
Several friends and associates around the NHL were there throughout the summer to hear the latest updates and never hesitated to take my call when I just needed someone to tell me that everything would somehow work out in the end. Their support was invaluable in getting me through several rough days and nights. I want to thank everyone who was there for me but in particular the ones I called on the most: Darren Pang, Bob Heethuis, Joe Micheletti, Brian Engblom, Mickey Redmond, Lisa Seltzer, Darren Blake, Bill Daly, Doug Moss, Doug Cannon, Jeff Holbrook, John Breslow and my agent Lloyd Friedland. I also need to give a special shout out to our good friends Diane and Henry Pauquette who hosted us for several “counseling” sessions.
|NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. |
Yet, even with all that support, there was the love and patience from my wife and family that really got me though all the uncertainty. Colleen and I have been together since our senior year in high school. Anyone in this business will tell you that the spouses make tremendous sacrifices in order for us to pursue our careers. All the travel…all the time they spend alone…the hectic schedule when we are at home during the season. The summer months are generally spent recharging our batteries and spending quality time as a family. This summer didn’t quite work out that way. But we survived and I owe it to Colleen and our terrific three boys - Chris, Casey and Trevor…and my daughter-in-law Karen. Next summer will be better…I promise!!
While Judge Baum’s decision still leaves some questions unanswered, the most important ones to me have been answered. The team stays, there is a TV deal and I have a job. Now I can focus on what I love to do: calling play-by-play action in the NHL!
Our TV deal with Fox Sports Arizona is 50 games, all in high definition! Most of the same production people are back from last season to continue bringing you some of the best coverage in the NHL. The most noticeable difference? No Panger. After four seasons as the analyst on Coyotes’ telecasts, Darren opted to take an offer from the St. Louis Blues due to the bankruptcy situation. He landed on his feet, but I can tell you how painful it was for him to walk away from a franchise and living situation that he truly loved. Darren and his wife Lynn were so helpful in getting Colleen and I familiar with life in the desert. He’s one of my best friends in the business and I’ll miss working with him.
|Tyson Nash. |
Now, normally I would say that Panger’s successor has big shoes to fill but what’s Darren…size 6? Seriously, it’s not easy to follow someone like Panger but I think Coyotes’ fans will be excited that Tyson Nash is joining me in the TV booth after a season working alongside Bob Heethuis in the radio booth. In typical Heeter fashion, he was thrilled that Tyson was getting this opportunity even if it meant Bob would be working most games by himself. Nasher is new to TV and I know he’s nervous, but we just need his personality and passion for the game to show on the air and we’ll be fine.
I’m looking forward to this season. I don’t even want to look in the rear view mirror at the past t four-plus months. There is plenty to be excited about on the ice. The roster that Don Maloney has put together along with the new coaching staff led by Dave Tippett should give all of us an exciting ride this season.
I’m ready . I hope all you Coyotes’ fans are ready too. Let’s not forget all the diligent work that Heather Schroeder and the Booster Club did in supporting the team and updating all of us on the legal proceedings throughout this ordeal. Tune in Saturday night at 7:30 as a new era begins and I hope to see all of you at Jobing.com Arena giving this team the support it needs now more than ever.