This past week, I had the privilege of standing in as the announcer at an ice hockey game in Aberdeen.
I was telling my friends and family that I was becoming the ‘John Mellis’ (Aberdeen FC stadium announcer) of ice hockey. Jokingly of course because I was only standing in for the normal guy who was away that weekend!
I was asked to step in on Tuesday last week for the Scottish Cup tie between Aberdeen Lynx and Kilmarnock Storm.
I enjoy the ice hockey in Aberdeen and I have written about it previously, reports on which are still available on the Mearns Leader website.
The fact that my better half and I went purely on a whim on Valentine’s day last year and returned again and again is testament to the entertainment that ice hockey offers the north east.
I used to host a pub quiz many moons ago, where I cut my teeth with students who thought they knew everything. Many an argument was had in the DJ booth over the years and let’s just say a lot of it was not family friendly.
When I was offered the chance this past week, I didn’t hesitate because I knew it was an experience I couldn’t pass up. What I didn’t expect was how much of a nervous wreck I was in the few days leading up to the event.
The ice hockey in Aberdeen, which is the second highest attended sport in the city, can attract more than a thousand people into the Lynx Ice Arena.
My prepation for the game was exactly what you would expect, going over player names and what was expected of me from the first to final period.
Last time I wrote about ice hockey I mentioned Jordan Leyden and Ross McIntosh who became early favourites of mine, and they still are. However I would be remiss not to mention that Mark Laing and the MacEachran brothers (Fraser and Calum) have impressed me this season.
I’ve also got my eye on you Sean Dyer, who has quickly become my other half’s favourite player.
Back to the game and with all my preparation done I arrived early Saturday night to set up the microphone and have a quick run through the team lines to get some on-mic time and settle my nerves.
All the preparation in the world couldn’thave predicted a 12-1 demolition of the visitors though! If it wasn’t for the stand-in DJ, off ice official and scoreboard runner, I doubt I would have managed to get through the first period.
My first penalty calls came when the boxes filled up with five players taking a seat at once. I think my announcement began “bear with me.”
One last thing to mention, Fraser MacEachran is terrifying when he has his game face on. He was in the penalty box a few times last Saturday and I am thrilled he plays for the Aberdeen Lynx, otherwise I’d be ever more frightened.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped me on the day and to the club for giving me the opportunity.
As I tweeted after the game “13 goals, 12 penalties, 7 bits of paper and one sore throat later I’m done and great win for Aberdeen Lynx.”
I hope I didn’t ruin the game too much for those in attendance and I’m slightly gutted I won’t make this week’s fixture because I’ll be away in Amsterdam on a friend’s stag do.