Our first official game as part of the CBC crew started with watching from the CBC broadcast command center in New York City. Basically it’s a trailer that holds $15M worth of TV screens, more wires than you have ever seen and a bunch of men crammed into tiny spaces working furiously on computers. As we sat instantly bombarded by more hockey footage than is medically safe to consume at one time, a familiar face walked into the trailer. Amidst the intensity of the rapid-fire producer shouting out directions to an army of talented techies, it was a relief to see another woman inside the pan-fade-zoom-man cave.
The Ice Angel
We all had to be kind of quiet as everyone around us was busy on switches and headsets saying things like “Font up. Connect 4” which sounded like another language. I tried to remember where I had seen the new girl before. Was she an old friend from high school? Some sort of hockey personality that we should know? Who was she and why did I recognize her face? Finally, I pulled aside one of the only other females in the trailer Tina- a rockstar production concierge and she let me in on who this familiar face belonged to.
Not quite a friend from high school, but just a national hero of the 2002 Olympic Games – Jamie Sale. I can remember crying when she and her now husband Pelletier were finally granted the gold medal after some shady judging shenanigans went on. We cheered when they went on Letterman showing all the world Canada’s most, well-deserved gold. And now she was sitting next to me asking to borrow a pen.
We did not have a lot of time to talk, but in the short time in the packed trailer, one thing was very clear: Sale had seriously good energy. Not to get to Oprah-ey on you, but there is something to that whole thing about a person’s aura. When someone’s face reminds you of a dear friend before they even speak to you – that’s energy.
Suddenly, the three of us were on the move – Sale, Tina and I had been sent on a mission to find and escort a former New Jersey Devils player to the 9th fl broadcast studio. Cool. I barely had a grasp on who the current Devils are, much less a former Devil, but I’m game for adventure.
After navigating some decrepit halls and back-alleys, we got out of an elevator that opened up to a herd of sweat and beer coated men in (mostly) Rangers Jerseys (aka the guys in the cheap seats). We are talking one packed hallway where we had to fight our way through throngs of fans, even though we were being led by a 200lb NHL player – more on him in a minute.
So as we fought our way through the chaos trying to stay together, the Ice Angel held out her hand to me without even looking back. We needed to form a human chain to get through the testosterone jungle that surrounded us. Good energy was literally reaching out to save me from an accidental beer shower – or something worse. I took hold of the tiny, well-manicured, Olympic fingers and our human chain finally made it intact to the studio.
After some interviews with important sports people (no, I didn’t recognize them either) the Angel introduced me to the “former Devil”. Luckily, I had managed to fire off a text to my husband to find out who the “retired Devil named Ken was”. He was in fact Ken Daneyko – a 20 year Devil, and three time Stanley Cup champion. He’s the real deal. That would explain why all the beer soaked guys in jerseys – even ones in Rangers Jerseys were high fiving him, patting him on the back and calling him “Kenny”. Kenny also has a face that reminded me of someone. I thought he looked more like an older version of Vince Vaughn. (Vince was at the game too, but that is a whole other story.)
Even more impressive than his ability to transcend team allegiances and be loved by both Rangers and Devils fans (most of the time) is Daneyko’s energy. He too has the “X” factor that makes him instantly likeable. Not easy for your average guy with missing teeth, scars and hands the size of a snowshoe. Somehow Daneyko even did a stint on Battle of the Blades maintaining his manhood, while figure skating in tight pants. (We’d love to know where you find skinny jeans in his size by the way.)
Chatting with Ice Angel and the Devil
My new favourite champions turned out to be such good sports, I had a chance to ask them a few questions about the lighter side of hockey:
Q: Ken, do you think Jamie could beat you in a hockey game in a race for the puck?
Daneyko: Yes, most definitely she could beat me. I concede that one right away.
Sale: As you can see, he’s really intimidated by my size so he’d have to say “yes.”
Q: Ken, it’s game day, game 7, final round, for an NHL player, do you advise sex on game day?
Daneyko: (laughing hysterically) I don’t believe in superstitions, to each his own. Absolutely! I think it gives you energy. I don’t buy that you lose your legs, that’s a fallacy.
Sale: It’s invigorating!
UPDATE: Travel behind the scenes with CBC’s stellar Hockey Night in Canada crew in this video.
For more analysis of the Stanley Cup playoffs sure to give a whole new meaning to invigorating, stay tuned to our coverage. WhileTheMenWatch Hockey Night will be streaming live female friendly play-by-play for each of the final games in the series. Watch and Listen live at:
www.WhileTheMenWatch.com ~ where girl talk is a sport.