© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Prince Albert Raiders captain Josh Morrissey chats with Reporter For A Day winner Brianne and her brother Ethan, who she gave the prize to after she won because she thought he would enjoy it more. After hearing the story, editor Perry Bergson invited them both to participate and meet Josh.
I have a complicated relationship as a journalist with the Prince Albert Raiders.
On one hand, I need to be objective. There’s nothing worse than a homer who’s emotionally invested in the team that they cover.
You need to be an emotional step back to accurately assess what you’re watching.
As someone who has been a hard-core fan of teams in the past -- and who knows how much it can sting when a beloved team loses -- I know I’m no longer in that spot.
I didn’t cover hockey when I worked in Brandon so I was a huge fan of the Wheat Kings. While I like to tease some of the people who I encounter when the Wheaties come to town, I can truthfully say that they are now just another team on the ice.
The complicating factor in this relationship with the Raiders is the fact that you get to know and like people involved with the team.
My primary point of contact is Evan Poitras, who I deal with on almost daily basis during hockey season. Our joke is that my secondary office is their boardroom, where I interviewed all of the players for the posters that we did earlier this season.
Business manager Bruce Vance is one of the first people that I got to know in the city and I still stop to chat every time I see him.
GM Bruno Campese is always helpful and seems to have found that happy balance -- at least around me -- where he doesn’t take what we write personally.
I’ve written before that the revelation that will forever change junior hockey for me was getting to know the players a little bit.
I no longer look at them as just hockey players; now they are teenagers and young men with personalities.
This thought came to mind when Raiders captain Josh Morrissey spent some time after the game with the winners of the Reporter For A Day contest after the Raiders final regular season game at home.
I chatted with him briefly during the award presentations after the game so he knew what was up.
After the awards were handed out, Josh came over to the player’s box and met Ethan.
Big sister Brianne had won the contest but thought her younger brother would enjoy it more. When their mom told me that story, I invited both along to take some pictures in the second period, watch the third period from the press box and to meet Josh later.
I have pictures of Ethan looking up at Josh, obviously astonished that he was in his presence. It was a wonderful moment.
And Josh was wonderful with the kids. He asked them questions and chatted with them for several minutes.
I’ve always liked the Raiders captain but at that moment my respect grew for him a great deal.
The kids later sent me a note to get to Josh. Here it is.
We want to thank you for letting us interview you after the hockey game. We were very excited to be able to ask you questions and get to know you better. Getting to spend time with you was the best part of being the reporter for the day! It was awesome!
Brianne and Ethan Louiseize
I’ve told Bruno that he doesn’t have any bad kids in his room and I believe that.
Leon Draisaitl is always friendly and eager to chat.
Reid Gardiner is 18 going on 38; he’s shockingly mature for his years.
Carson Perreaux and Dakota Conroy are two of the team’s most outgoing guys. Carson’s dad Mike is a friend of mine from Brandon.
Tomas Andrlik has done a wonderful job learning the language after arriving here without any English. I chatted with him a couple months ago for the poster page and again after the awards ceremony and was thrilled with his progress.
I interviewed the three highly touted rookies -- Brendan Guhle, Nick McBride and Matteo Gennaro -- during rookie camp and they still say hello when they see me. Their presence suggests a promising future for the team.
Calder Brooks, Ryan Coghlan, Collin Valcourt and Graeme Craig were all generous with their time after arriving a couple of months ago. I chatted with Graeme in one of the back staircases at the Credit Union Centre and it struck me as sad that he was standing there in his suit, not able to play one final time in Saskatoon due to injury.
Craig Leverton and Sawyer Lange are the “local” boys and I see them both more than some of the others.
I’m a former goalie so I was fascinated by Luke Siemens last season and Cole Cheveldave this season.
Some of the guys I haven’t chatted with much, like Jayden Hart, Mackenze Stewart, Darcy Zaharichuk and Gage Quinney. Gage, a Las Vegas product, is quite shy so I don’t like to bug him.
I chatted with Tim Vanstone prior to the season and I see him around a lot. He’s a nice young man. It was awful seeing him injured in a fight last year.
In a shockingly small world moment, Chance Braid’s grandmother has a connection to my parents. Her sister is a friend of theirs. To Chase’s amusement, his grandma and I now email back and forth.
One of my favourite people around town is Carol Ring, who just happens to billet Shane Danyluk. As a former goalie I appreciate the game he plays and as a journalist I found him terrific to deal with.
They are a nice group of kids. Regardless of what happens this season, that’s the memory that I’ll carry forward.
Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org