By Robyn Roste/Special to Langley Advance Times
Eddie Gregory is no stranger to the microphone, and he’s somewhat of a self-proclaimed hockey fanatic, making him the “perfect” addition to the Vancouver Giants team.
Earlier this season, the 40-year-old Coquitlam resident was signed on as the play-by-play broadcast for the G-Men, and he’s turning out to be a good fit with the team, said Giants senior vice-president Dale Saip.
“Eddie is a neat kid and we’re happy to have him on board,” said Saip, noting that “he has worked hard to get to this level.”
“I’m really excited to be making the jump to the Giants and the WHL,” Gregory shared when he took the position a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the season.
It’s been a pretty exciting ride, so far, added Gregory, who admits to getting caught up in the rush of the games.
Among the highlights, so far, he remembered the palpable energy and emotion evident in the arena when he broadcast the 6-5 come-from-behind overtime win last week in Victoria.
“We scored twice with the goaltender pulled to tie the game at 5, and then won it in overtime. That was quite a thrill,” he recounting.
Being the voice of the Giants means that Gregory travels with them to all the games, and even in a short time he’s been able to get to know the players and staff, allowing him to become “fully invested” – not only in the games but the team.
“You sort of ride the emotions of a hockey game and enjoy the good vibes when they win… and you feel for the players when they lose because they give it their all,” he said, noting he played a little hockey at the minor league level as a child but never personally sought to the play at the WHL level or higher.
“Obviously a big hockey fan, I’ve loved the sport my whole life… but I got the broadcasting itch when I was a teenager and started pursuing it shortly after high school.”
That said, Gregory admits his ultimate career goal might one day take him to the NHL, he hopes – but as a broadcaster.
“I mean, the dream would be to get to the NHL. But you know, it’s one step at a time, and it’s one experience at a time, right,” he said. “See how this goes, and go from there.”
Although this is Gregory’s first season in the Western Hockey League, he spent 16 seasons as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Junior A’s Coquitlam Express.
In fact, that’s where he got his start. Gregory began as a volunteer for the Express, helping in various roles including PA announcer, DJ, and scorekeeper. In 2004, he began announcing the play-by-play and provided game broadcasts for both home and away games.
During this time, he also gained experience setting up the video web stream broadcast, and added high-definition encoding to upgrade the broadcast quality for HockeyTV a technique that has since became standard practice in the BC Hockey League.
In 2011, Gregory was named the BC Hockey League’s broadcaster of the year.
“I’m grateful to the Coquitlam Express for my time with them to develop my passion and take this next step in the hockey ladder,” he added.
Gregory also produces shows on Sportsnet 650, including The Sport Market, Seekers and Price, Donnie an Moj, The Bro Jake Show, Pratt and Taylor and Sports Saturday. And, he’s helped produce many live game broadcasts for the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Canadians, and even Vancouver Giants games before becoming an official member of the team.
“Eddie is an experienced and well-connected individual in the Vancouver sports media scene,” said Peter Toigo, Vancouver Giants assistant general manager and vice-president of operations. “We feel that he will be a great asset as the voice of the Vancouver Giants organization.”
A little more than a month into the regular season, Gregory said he’s settling into his new position and new duties, and loving it.
“The Giants had a memorable finish to last season, I’m looking forward to seeing the next step they make in their growth. It’s a great honour to follow in the footsteps of my friends Dan O’Connor and Brendan Batchelor here with the Giants,” he said.
The Giants play their next game this afternoon, starting at 2 p.m. in Calgary, against the Hitmen. This is the third in their eight-game road trip.
– with files from editor Roxanne Hooper
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