BOISE, ID – When sports fans in the Boise metro area tune into KTVB News Channel 7, they are likely to be greeted by one of two faces: Sports Director Jay Tust or Sports Anchor Will Hall.
The latter of the two joined the KTVB Sports Desk in October 2014, fresh off of a two-and-a-half year stint working at WOI-ABC 5 in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, Hall covered the Iowa State Cyclones while attending ISU, graduating in 2011 with his BS in Broadcast Journalism.
With his coverage of Iowa State’s prominent basketball and football squads, Hall’s transition into the southwest Idaho sports scene was effortless. Since the Boise State Broncos are also well known for their outstanding football and basketball teams, Hall hit the ground running, joining Tust in covering BSU athletics three-and-a-half years ago.
That said, Hall is more than comfortable reporting in a football and basketball-heavy market. But, you may be surprised that his favorite sport is neither of those previously mentioned…
Plain and simple, Will Hall loves ice hockey.
The Sin Bin had the pleasure of speaking with Will earlier this week regarding his passion for the sport, color commentary for the Idaho Steelheads, how the Treasure Valley has embraced the Steelheads organization, and what the future holds for Idaho moving forward into the postseason.
The Sin Bin: Your alma mater, Iowa State, is not a university one might equate with a rabid hockey following. That in mind, how did you obtain such a passion for the sport?
Will Hall: My love for hockey came from me playing it my whole life, from Mites all the way through college intramurals. It was my “first love” when it comes to sports. And although they are known as a basketball and football school, Iowa State has a pretty good club hockey program and fan base.
TSB: When did you start doing color commentary for Idaho Steelheads games? Had you ever done live commentating before that, hockey or otherwise?
WH: I started this year with the Steelheads, primarily doing rink-side reporting, pregame interviews with (Head Coach) Neil Graham, and then talking with players during the first intermission. Usually when (former Idaho forward) Marty Flichel is there, he takes over as the prominent color analyst. But, when it’s just Brian and me, I will do both the reporting and color commentary.
TSB: How does covering hockey differ from covering other sports (like basketball and football)?
WH: Covering hockey is different in that the game itself is obviously much different than other sports I cover. The pace of the action is non-stop (which is awesome & why I love it), but it also forces you as a broadcaster to react quickly and realize, more often than not, that simplicity is best. Since there’s so much action going on, you don’t want to be talking over the play-by-play guy.
TSB: Being for a number of years now, what’s your take on how the Treasure Valley as a whole embraces the Steelheads?
WH: I think the Steelheads have great support and fan interest here, evidenced by the numerous sellouts this season (Idaho’s 18 sellouts are the most since the 1999-2000 season.) They are a blast to watch from a fan’s perspective — action, offense, constant movement, you name it. I think the common sports fan, and not necessarily hockey fan, is quickly realizing how much fun they are to watch. Obviously, the Boise State Broncos, football, and basketball, have the biggest following here in the Treasure Valley. But, I would put the Steelheads right under them, and ahead of the (Class A Short Season) Boise Hawks.
TSB: Most memorable Steelheads game for you so far?
WH: Probably my last one, back on March 21. Steelies started fast, (Rapid City) rallied late…we went to overtime, where there were numerous chances. The guys won it in a shootout…Charlie Dodero with the game winner. Just a fun game.
TSB: From what you’ve seen this regular season, who has been the MVP for the Steelheads?
WH: That’s a tough question. The captain, Jefferson Dahl, leads the team in points, and he just got a well-deserved call-up to the AHL. My vote would actually be for Justin Parizek; I think JP has had such a fabulous rookie season. Obviously, he’s talented and skilled, but to be second on the team in points in the month of April…as a rookie? Not sure anyone thought that would be the case. (Parizek) also has an elite shot…it’s special…and he’s used it often this season. He’s second on the team in goals, fourth in plus/minus, and third amongst all ECHL rookies in points scored (just five back from the leader). He’s been such a fantastic threat, night in and night out, for the Steelheads’ offensive attack.
TSB: More favorable first round match-up for Idaho: the Allen Americans, Wichita Thunder, or Tulsa Oilers?
WH: Having seen them all in person during the regular season, I would say Wichita. I wouldn’t like to see Allen in the first round…they have some talented pieces, and have plenty of successful playoff experience to draw upon.
TSB: How far do you think Idaho can go in the playoffs? Who do you see stepping up for the team down the stretch? Where do you think the Steelheads may run into trouble?
WH: I want to see these guys take this thing as far as they can. They have put in a regular season of hard work, deserving of making a playoff run here. I think there’s a hunger and urgency around the players and coaching staff after the frustrating early exits from the playoffs the last few seasons (first round losses to Allen and Colorado), and the realization that a deep run is theirs for the taking. With Jefferson (Dahl) up in the AHL, this team obviously will need a group of guys to fill that leadership void. Whether it be one player of multiple players, that will be something to watch for moving forward if Jefferson isn’t back with the club by playoff time. Colorado obviously would provide a big challenge for the Steelheads in the playoffs — (Michael) Joly is so scary good — but it would be a blast to watch it play out and see how it unfolds.
Will Hall can be seen covering Southwest Idaho athletics, both amateur and professional, on Boise’s local NBC affiliate, KTVB. He can also occasionally be heard on color commentary opposite “The Voice of the Steelheads” Brian McCormack during Idaho home games, airing live on 1350 AM (KTIK), CableOne, and ECHLTV.
You can also follow Will’s sports endeavors on Twitter (@WillHallKTVB) and at http://hearwillhall.weebly.com/.