As many of you already know, Drew Remenda, the Sharks television color commentator, has decided to leave the organization to spend more time with his family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The San Jose Sharks would like to take this opportunity to thank Drew for his many years of dedicated service – not only to the Sharks organization – but to all of the Sharks and hockey fans across the world.
As he departs, Rink Report asked his television partner, Randy Hahn, to put down some of his thoughts and memories from the past six years.
When I was asked to write something about my departing broadcast colleague, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I decided to start at the beginning.
The first time I met Drew, I was not impressed with him or amused. It was 1991, the Sharks inaugural season in the National Hockey League.
I was the team’s backup television play-by-play announcer to Joe Starkey so I didn’t work very many games. In fact, I didn’t even live in the Bay Area, but commuted from Chicago.
The day before my first-ever telecast, I was in the gym of our hotel in New Jersey working out. Jeff Odgers and several other players were there too and they had the radio tuned to a country station. Being a Western Canadian boy myself, I was OK with that.
All of a sudden, this balding guy walks into the gym, profanely complains about the music, and switches the radio to a rock station. Clearly not knowing who I was dealing with, I told him to switch it back to country. Oops. Now, with the veins in his head threatening to pop through his dome, he told me to shut up, mind my own business and he turned up AC/DC a little louder. I had just met Drew Remenda!
The next night, the team lost 9-0 to the Devils and my career as a Sharks broadcaster was officially underway.
Over the next few seasons, including a very challenging 1992-93 season (11-71-2), I got to know Drew a little better and we were eventually able to laugh about the “Jersey Incident.” All the losses also made both of us a little less cocky.
It was back in those early days that Drew had his own segment during the intermission of our television broadcasts called “The Suit Doctor.” Drew would critique coaches from around the league on their behind the bench apparel – who had the best ties, which coach had the blazer that looked like a horse blanket, etc.. It was apparent even back then that he had a gift in front of the camera.
I believe that to be successful as a hockey television analyst, the first thing you have to bring to the table is the goods. You have to know the game inside and out and you have to be able to teach it without sounding like a teacher. This is where Drew Remenda stands out above the crowd.
When Kevin Constantine took over as Sharks coach in the third season, he kept Drew on as an assistant coach in charge of video. Constantine was obsessed with video and he’d have Drew breaking down tapes and editing things almost 24/7. I know how hard Drew worked back in those days but it turned out to be the perfect training for what he does now. I challenge you to find anyone in the NHL today doing television that can see an interesting play, then go back and explain it, with the help of the telestrator, faster or more simply than Drew can.
I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it once more. EVERY time I worked a Sharks game on television with Drew, I learned something about the sport of hockey that I didn’t know before. He’s that good.
In the six years we worked together, I watched Drew go from someone who was a little shy about coming into contact with his “fans” to becoming one of the best and most outgoing ambassadors the team has had. I think Drew connects with Sharks fans because he’s real. What you see is what you get. For the most part, he tells it like it is when it comes to what’s happening on the ice and he’s not afraid to give credit to the other side when credit is due. And Drew always had time for people who want a picture, wanted him to sign something, or just wanted to stand around and talk hockey. I’ve never seen him turn someone down or leave a young fan in tears because he whisked right past them.
We’ll all miss Drew on the telecasts, but I will miss him behind the scenes even more. You have no idea how much fun we have had over the last six years. When we first started working together, Sharks Director of Broadcasting Frank Albin told us to treat the telecasts as if we were invited into someone’s home for two hours and to have a good time. We were told to present the game authentically but not ultra seriously. After all, it is supposed to be entertainment.
Drew got the concept from that very first day and I can tell you honestly that it’s led to the most enjoyable stretch of my career so far.
So as we all say goodbye to Drew and wish him well in his broadcasting future, I want to say it’s been a pleasure working with him, learning from him and laughing with him. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s headed for the big time. Drew is one of the most loyal people I know and it’s been an honor to have him as a friend. So long, partner.