During the inaugural season of IceMen hockey back in 2008-2009, there were no radio broadcasts during the regular season. But when the All-American Hockey Association playoffs began, IceMen hockey play-by-play was available for the first time thanks to “Power Rock” 93.9 WKTG.
IceMen Public Address Announcer and WKTG Office Manager Stephen Rickard called the action, and the broadcasts were streamed live worldwide online at WKTG.com. After working with Stephen throughout the season at Swonder Ice Arena (I wrote the PA scripts for IceMen home games among other things), I had the pleasure of joining “The Man with the Golden Pipes” on the air as color commentator. It was the first time either of us had called live hockey on the radio.
Both games of the Best-of-3 opening round were played at The Rink (since re-christened “Revolution Arena”) in Battle Creek, Michigan. The #3 seed IceMen (16-26-0) took on the #2 seed Battle Creek Revolution (26-13-3) on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, 2009.
The games featured 8 players who would go on to be a part of Evansville’s 2010 Davidson Cup championship team the next season. The IceMen roster included Isaac Coy, Ryan Ford, Aaron Naphan and Tim Recio. Battle Creek’s roster featured future IceMen champions Brad Bohlinger, Ryan Huggett, Steve Koich and Brett Riley. (Revolution goaltender Mario Passarelli also came to Evansville the following season, but was not a part of the IceMen championship run.)
If the teams had split the two games in Battle Creek, a decisive Game 3 would have been played in Evansville on Sunday, March 22. Unfortunately though, the short-handed IceMen dropped both games in Michigan (5-2 and 1-0), so the series never came to Evansville. Still, it was a historic pair of hockey games – not only the first playoff games in Evansville’s pro hockey history, but also the first radio broadcasts in IceMen history.
Now, for longtime fans who want to take a trip down memory lane and for newer fans who want to experience a key piece of IceMen history for the first time, WKTG and IceMenManiacs.com are making both broadcasts available for FREE download. Both downloads are in MP3 format and commercial-free!
To set the scene: Your trail-blazing radio team was not broadcasting from a posh press box with all of the latest high-tech communications devices. We were actually calling the games using a laptop and a cell phone’s wireless connection, from a table at ice level at one end of the rink and directly beneath the building’s only scoreboard – while looking through incredibly dirty glass, unable to hear the PA announcements, and without the benefit of any real-time statistics or even accurate shots-on-goal tallies.
Game 1 includes the entire game broadcast with intermission reports, along with about 28 minutes of pre-game and post-game coverage. Plus: Rubber chickens, Me Like Hockey, Ryan Ford’s greatest prank, and blowing bubbles with beef jerky!
Game 2 includes the full game broadcast with intermission reports, as well as about 23 minutes of pre-game (joined in progress due to technical difficulties) and post-game coverage. Plus: A 9-minute interview with Kira Hurley, cowbells and thundersticks, the National Guard does the Chicken Dance, and someone quite literally throws in the towel!
To download the broadcasts, simply click the links below. Enjoy, Maniacs!