|NHL hockey was carried over the airwaves for the first time ever in the northern reaches of Canada this past weekend. |
Mike Soloy was in his car outside the gymnastics club in Yellowknife Sunday when he turned on his radio and heard Jack Michaels more than three thousand kilometres away calling the Edmonton Oilers game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
“It was absolutely fabulous - I never thought I would be able to drive around up hear and listen to my team’s games on the radio,” says Soloy. He was so excited about the first broadcast Sunday he started phoning people and soon the game was being played on speakers inside the gymnastics club, the twin pad arenas, the field house and other places Soloy called.
It was, indeed, a big day as the Oilers made hockey history as the broadcast of their game against the Jackets was heard in Yellowknife and across the Northwest Territories. Michaels’ call and Bob Stauffer’s colour commentary were carried on CJCD Mix 100 in Yellowknife, marking the first time a station in the Territories picked up an NHL game for listeners in the northern reaches of Canada.
“It’s great to be able to share the excitement of Oilers hockey with our passionate fans across the north can listen to our exciting brand of hockey. The Oilers network is the voice of hockey in Northern Canada. Oil Country keeps on growing and, obviously, knows no borders,“ said Oilers President and COO Patrick LaForge.
The new addition to the Oilers Radio Network cements the relationship between the Oilers and their fans in the north, which was taken to a new level back in 2007, when the team staged another historic event by becoming the first NHL team to stage a Rookie Camp in Yellowknife, a community located just 500 kilometres from the Arctic Circle.
The passion of the fans in the north is symbolized by Soloy, who has been an Oilers Season Seat Holder for the past dozen years. He used to make the 14 hour drive to watch the Oilers play their home games, though these days he gets on a jet to fly to Edmonton to watch the blue and orange in action. When he can’t make a game, he shares his tickets with family and friends who live closer to Alberta’s capital city.
“I love being there in person to watch the most electric team in the NHL. But it’s great now that I can listen to the games no matter where I am. You have no idea how much this means to the Oilers fans up here,” said Soloy.
The addition of CJCD Mix 100 means the Oilers Radio Network now numbers 16 stations across Alberta, the Northwest Territories and into British Columbia. The anchor station in Edmonton is 630 CHED.
Back in Yellowknife, Soloy says he heard a lot of positive feedback with the first broadcast in the far north. He also noted, with a smile in his voice, “And the Mighty Oil is off to a 1-0 start over the airwaves in Yellowknife!”