August 25, 2006
(TORONTO) -- Jody Vance was a rink rat.
"I grew up in Vancouver. I was a sports fan and a tomboy," said the Maple Leafs new voice on Leafs TV. "I followed the (CFL) Lions and the (baseball) Canadiens, but a ticket to the Pacific Coliseum, that was the ultimate."
Vance's dad ran the physical education department at Britannia High School. That meant a constant diet of sports and countless hours at the school rink.
"I spent every second weekend with my dad and that meant every second weekend was spent at sporting events," Vance said. "My first memory from a sporting event was from Empire Stadium (home of the B.C. Lions). I wasn't quite three years old and I remember looking up and seeing all those people."
But Vance always liked watching hockey best. Now she is working in the game's epicenter.
"As a Canuck fan, I never saw anything like the Leafs nation," she said.
Vance will join Brian Duff as the voice of that nation.
She will host Leafs Latte Saturday mornings and Late Night Leafs on Saturday night. She will also co-host 41 regular season games with Duff and contribute interviews for pre-game and game broadcasts. Vance will host the documentary show, Leafs TV Marquee, periodically host Leafs Today and host Marlies this week.
Vance idolized Canucks play-by-play man Jim Robson and set out to emulate him. Her career began in 1988 as a remote broadcast hostess, handing out stickers in a shopping mall. She advanced steadily and eventually covered the Canucks Stanley Cup run in 1994.
Two years later, she made the jump to television and worked as the sole sports voice on a new CTV station, Vancouver Television.
Her work caught the attention of talent appraisers at Sportsnet. They brought her to Toronto, first as a fill-in anchor, then the morning host. Four months into that job, she was promoted again and became the first Canadian woman to host her own prime time sports show where she worked until this spring.
Vance strives to make her work accessible to men and to women.
"You wouldn't believe the number of women who come up to me and say, "I understand what you're saying. I don't want the viewer to be sitting there at home saying "Wow, is she ever smart.' I want the viewer saying "Wow, what a good question. I really want to know the answer to that."