As the LA Kings prepare for their first big chunk of road games this season, first-year TV play-by-play voice Alex Faust is looking forward to seeing several hockey related sights in his maiden voyage around the NHL.
He's also looking forward to trying some top-notch meals and checking out a few tourist spots on off days. But most importantly, he's looking forward to some of the creature comforts on the team charter plane.
"I'm so used to commercial travel. Even though the meals are great, the first-class seats are nice - I've flown enough where I get the first-class upgrades on Delta - but I love that the Wi-Fi is free! That's what I'm looking forward to! Five hours of uninterrupted free Wi-Fi working," Faust joked. "We had a little taste of it with the charter to San Jose and that was my first charter experience. Even that was fun and I can't wait for the big cross-country flight."
Faust's first season calling Kings game will surely have several special moments and some of them will likely happen on the road -- like when he calls his first game at New York's Madison Square Garden where he grew up watching hockey.
We talked with Faust about the upcoming road schedule and how he's going to approach his first full NHL slate.
LAKings.com: You've called a few games in NHL cities, but is there one place around the league you haven't been to that you really want to check out?
Alex Faust: I haven't been to most of the NHL. I've done the Frozen Four in Chicago. I've done college hockey at TD Garden in Boston. I've done the NHL in Tampa Bay and now in San Jose. I really want to see some of these Canadian arenas, especially Montreal with the history with the old Forum, and I've heard the new building is tremendous. Toronto and Montreal with those fanbases are what I'm looking forward to the most. Calling a hockey game at Madison Square Garden is a 'bucket list' item. As a native New Yorker, that's something to look forward to. And then you get a place like Nashville and the atmosphere around that building and especially down Broadway. When I was driving to LA over the summer I had a chance to go to Nashville the first time, and I can only imagine what it's going to be like on a gameday because in the middle of July there were still Predators flags everywhere.
Is there a hockey tourist destination you most want to see this season?
The Hockey Hall of Fame for sure - I think we may have a spare day in Toronto. I actually want to see the Situation Room in the NHL offices in Toronto, too.
Will you walk the Calgary press box catwalk?
I've heard of this, and I've heard of the gondola in Montreal. I have to tell you, I was most terrified by a hockey situation in two places. One was (what was then called) Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, which has kind of a catwalk situation there that sways when people are walking on it. It's that scary and it's an older building so you're kind of thinking 'OK, how's everything doing here? Is everything safe?' and XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut where you are looking straight down at the ice. It's a pretty interesting 'Bird's Eye' perspective but very steep - hanging from the ceiling.
Is there a tourist destination you've always wanted to see?
In Vancouver, I'm hoping for a nice weather day when I'm there because I love that city. I'm looking forward to that and hopefully we have some good weather to cooperate because much like Seattle or Portland a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat.
I really want to take Jim (Fox) and our crew to dinner in Ybor City in Tampa because I love that area. I've been fortunate to go there to do college basketball a couple of times.
Honestly, I think I'm just going to love Montreal - having dinner there and experiencing the food and the culture of Quebec. I'm all in on Montreal.
Is there a food item you want?
I can't think of one but I'm not exactly clamoring to get a giant plate of poutine. It's not high on my list. Sorry, Canada.
Is there a broadcaster you really, really want to talk shop with on the road?
Not necessarily on this trip, but at some point, I want to chat with Jim Hughson of CBC and Doc Emrick of NBC. They are both at the top of their craft. I would love to pick their brains about their habits and the research they do to make their broadcasts as special as they are.
You mentioned how going to the MSG would be a 'bucket-list' item. How badly do you want to call a Kings goal in that building?
I would love to. It's weird, when you grow up in New York, you're so used to that goal horn, but it'll be fun to call a goal there and have the entire arena fall silent, especially considering my fiancée, Carolyn, is a giant Rangers fan!
Do you think your family will go to that game or try to watch your call at home on TV?
I actually think they would almost rather stay home and watch it on TV. We've been to Islanders games before in Brooklyn. It depends on if they want to watch a hockey game at MSG or just watch me do my thing on TV because I know they do enjoy that.
The Columbus goal cannon seems to always be a hot-button issue. Do you have a gameplan to not let it startle you during your broadcast?
Well, it's a good thing I know it's coming and it's a good thing that I've been warned by several people in advance. Even then, I'll probably still flinch, but hopefully I'll be ready for it.
Did we miss anything? What else would you like to share?
It has been terrific working with Jim Fox through the first month or so and I can't wait to hear some of his stories from when he was playing on the road, and even through the last two decades as he has been calling these games. Just some of his war stories along the way, some of the folks he knows well and can introduce me to. Half the fun in this business is the personal connections as much as the cities you're visiting.