A hockey announcing career lost in the five-hole
March 12, 2010 by William K. Wolfrum
My radio career began like many do – I walked into my college’s radio station asking about sports announcing possibilities and they said “Sure, wanna cover tonight’s hockey game?”
Thus, like most things in my life, my career as a sports announce started quickly with me having almost no grasp of what I was actually doing.
I mean, I know hockey the way the average American sports fan knows hockey. I can keep up with what’s happening on the ice. I know who’s winning and basically why. But I don’t know the lingo for the life of me. And let me tell you, from personal experience, you need to learn the lingo before you go on the air.
Now here’s something they don’t tell you – hockey’s a really fast game. Really, really fast. And here’s something they didn’t tell me – the team the fearsome University of Alaska Anchorage team would be playing a tea, made up from guys from Vick’s Vertigo Recovery Institute.
Adding up all the factors, and you see I had fallen into a dream assignment – Announcing a really fast sport I really didn’t know that well for my first time on the radio, in which one of the teams ends up scoring 18 goals.
That’s right, the final score was 18-1. You try and make that interesting. So my first experience on the radio consisted of me desperately trying to keep up with the game while finding different ways to describe the un-holy amount of goals.
Sadly, the one bit of lingo that stuck in my mind was “the five-hole.” Thus, about 11 of those goals were made through the five goal. the Vertigian goalie had a HUGE five-hole, and I filled it up with pucks, real or perceived. And honestly, I still don’t know where the five-hole actually is.
The final indignation? The fact that the engineer cut me off for the entire third-quarter. Meaning I was announcing the game (terribly) while no one was listening and no one was recording. It was totally the right thing to do.
My radio announcing career continued and got reasonably better (I was never again asked to cover hockey, and instead covered a lot of girls’ volleyball, which is a lot more fun). For the most part, I’d say that my desire to be a sportscaster was filled, much like that poor, overburdened five-hole so many years ago on that fateful night.