LAFAYETTE, La. — The SPHL Playoffs are underway, and we here at The Sin Bin and the SPHL are handing out their postseason hardware. For us, it’s giving out a little recognition to the boys for bringing us another great season of southern hockey.
There is a group of people, however, who go through the day-to-day grind of a hockey season virtually unrecognized. They are the ones who, through their drive and dedication, keep their teams in the public eye. If the players are the engines of their hockey teams, then the broadcasters and media directors are the voices.
In many teams’ cases, every game call, every Facebook post, every tweet on Twitter, every promotional video, every player & coach’s public appearances and interviews, and every press release comes from one source. It’s a multi-tasking job which requires incredible attention to detail and the ability to paint pictures with both the written and spoken word.
As of now, there is no official award for Broadcaster of the Year in the SPHL. Hopefully this changes in the future, but this year The Sin Bin will proudly hand out an award for this year’s top broadcaster/media director.
For starters, I have absolute respect for anyone – at any level – who has done play-by-play at a hockey game. We all know hockey is a fast-paced sport. Now, try putting the action on the ice into words. It requires incredibly fast thinking, amazing creativity, and it doesn’t hurt having a sense of humor. To all of my SPHL game-callers – Paul Chestnutt, T.J. Chillot, Erik Evenson, Brian Gardner, Eli Gold, Ben Garrod, Brad Kupiec, Steve Moulton, Tommy Pecoraro, and Joel Silverberg – You are all amazing, and this league is so lucky to have such excellent broadcasters.
Speaking of having a sense of humor, here are a few calls which made me spit out my beer. Let’s start with Huntsville’s Steve Moulton.
I know it’s part of the job, but I think Ben Garrod spends way too much time on social media.
I have a sneaking suspicion Brad Kupiec wasn’t an angel growing up.
Sure, all of these were pretty entertaining, but the award of funniest play call of the year goes to the old master, Eli Gold. Watch and learn, boys.
Our Andrés Cantor award for the longest goooooooooooooooooal call goes to our buddy Erik Evenson. My goodness, son… what (possibly edited) lungs you have!
If you haven’t read Brian Gardner’s blog about the Rail Yard Dawgs, you should. If you read down long enough, you’ll get to his piece about the team’s road trip to Southaven. It was here where Gardner met his season-long nemesis – RiverThing – for this year’s most awkward broadcaster moment.
Personally, I’m just waiting for the day RiverThing goes completely rogue. It’s coming, y’all, and probably when Gardner revisits Landers Center.
I get it, Thing… you like Gardner’s goal call. Nobody tells you the score like Brian Gardner does.
And Now… the Minor Awards
Best Broadcaster Blog: Brian Gardner – Rail Yard Dawgs Talk. Alright, so Gardner won by default. The rest of you need to step up your blog game.
Best Mixlr Account: Erik Evenson. Okay, I freely admit bias here, since the Macon Mayhem game audio is on our mobile app.
Best Social Media: Ben Garrod. If your team can have the kind of season the Fayetteville Marksmen had and your Twitter account is still entertaining, then that’s how you win at social media.
Best Press Releases: Brad Kupiec. Always timely, always informative, and incredibly witty sub-headlines.
Before we Serve the Gravy… a Montage
Here’s a five-minute montage from all of our SPHL broadcasters. I had a boatload of fun putting this together, and I hope y’all enjoy this as well.
Still, we’re here to crown someone with the big, unilaterally-consulted award.
Our 2017-18 SPHL Broadcaster of the Year
TJ Chillot – Mississippi RiverKings
TJ first caught my attention on the season’s opening night when he nailed Bekmukhambet Tolepbergen‘s name on the first try. No easy feat for the broadcaster having to say the longest name in SPHL history.
Throughout the season, Chillot, formerly with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, caught notice with his game calling and excellent on-the-fly insights. Chillot’s social media game is one of the best in the league, but what sets him apart are the preview videos before most RiverKings games. They’re all well-executed and produced.
As a media director, TJ – like all of the league’s media guys – has been fantastic to work with and continues the tradition of the SPHL having the best media directors within all of professional hockey.
Finally, he has a cat named Batman.
Here, Chillot – you get a montage of your own. Take a victory lap.
Finally, it’s again been an absolute pleasure to work with some of the best professionals around. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of you throughout the season, having you on our podcasts, occasionally clowning around with y’all, and making my job covering the SPHL a breeze.
As much as I’d like to have all of you around another season or two, I wish you all the best in your careers and hope to see you move up the ladder to bigger and better things because y’all deserve it enormously.