Fans tuning in to Kootenay Ice broadcasts this winter finally know who to listen for.
On Friday, the Kootenay Ice along with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group announced the hiring of Chris Wahl as the club’s new play-by-play broadcaster.
Wahl replaces longtime play-by-play Jeff Hollick, who in May announced he was leaving his post after 16 years behind the microphone in Cranbrook.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a radio partner with the energy and enthusiasm of The Drive 102.9 FM,” said Jeff Chynoweth, general manager and president of the Kootenay Ice, in a team release. “The addition of Chris to the radio broadcasts will only strengthen that relationship and will keep our fans connected all season long.”
Wahl’s name is likely a familiar one to hockey fans in Cranbrook as he has been the director of sales and public relations for the Kootenay Ice since August 2014 after coming over from the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to fulfill a long-standing dream of calling play-by-play in the Western Hockey League,” Wahl said in a team release. “I look forward to sharing another exciting season of Kootenay Ice hockey with our fans both at home and on the road.”
Play-by-play is familiar ground for the native of North Vancouver, who has called more than 150 regular-season and playoff games in the BCHL as the voice of the Trail Smoke Eaters and Surrey Eagles from 2011 to 2014.
Prior to his time calling B.C. Junior A, Wahl got his start as the play-by-play man for the Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).
Wahl will remain on with the Kootenay Ice as director of sales and public relations in addition to his new responsibilities of calling play-by-play for all 72 Kootenay Ice regular-season games and playoff games on The Drive 102.9 FM this season.
“We had a lot of interest from across the continent for this position, which was understandably coveted,” said Leo Baggio, general manager of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group – Cranbrook/Fernie Division, in a Kootenay Ice team release. “We are elated that the best candidate was right here in our own backyard.”
Wahl studied broadcast journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) prior to embarking on his play-by-play career.
On March 24, the Kootenay Ice and The Drive 102.9 FM reached a new three-year broadcasting rights agreement running through the upcoming 2015-16 season through 2017-18.