A former Raider great and one of the team’s play-by-play broadcasters returned to Prince Albert on Wednesday, an appearance made possible by the NHL strike.
Edmonton Oilers defenceman Nick Schultz and former Raiders broadcaster Brian Munz, who now calls Winnipeg Jets games on TSN Radio, returned for the NHL Alumni Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon at the Ches Leach Lounge.
While Schultz would like to be on the ice, he thinks the right deal needs to be made.
“You want to be out there playing but we have to get the agreement right this time so when it expires in five or six years, whatever the agreement is, we’re not doing this again,” Schultz says.
Schultz played the 1998-99 to 2000-01 seasons with the Raiders, serving as captain in his 18-year-old season before graduating to the Wild as a 19-year-old.
He was drafted by the Minnesota Wild 33rd overall and played nearly 10 seasons there before being dealt to the Oilers last February for Tom Gilbert.
Schultz says it would have been nice to have a full training camp with his new team, which he played just 20 games with last season.
He admits that it’s tough emotionally.
“It’s a rollercoaster,” he says. “You see that in the media too. You hear an offer from one side and everybody gets excited to hear from the other side and it doesn’t go well. There are a lot of highs and lows.”
The strike has had one nice impact on Schultz. The father of three is around a little more than usual during the winter.
“Last year I missed my son’s birthday, Halloween, things like that,” he says. “Obviously you can’t control that with your schedule but I’ve had a chance to be around for a lot of things and help take them to their activities. That’s helped fill the void of not having hockey.”
The trip back to Prince Albert also gave Schultz the chance to give something back to the Raiders.
Section 5 will now be known as the Nick Schultz Section. He is making a donation to the team over five years in return for the naming of the section that mirrors the number he wore with the Raiders.
“It was something where I thought that it would be neat to give back,” he says. “It’s been a while so it’s nice to come back to where I played my junior and get a chance to give back and continue to be a part of the organization.”
At least there was a sliver of good news for Schultz and Munz professionally. Reports suggest the NHL and the players association have actually been negotiating rather than just exchanging proposals.
Munz qualifies as one of the people unintentionally harmed by the strike.
After four years in Prince Albert, he spent five years calling Manitoba Moose games with CJOB in Winnipeg when the news came that the Jets would be returning.
TSN won the broadcasting contract and decided to present both TV and radio broadcasts.
Munz was offered the Jets job on a Thursday, but after 17 years of working to reach that goal, he couldn’t tell anybody.
He picked one of his old stomping grounds as a place to hide out.
‘Me and my wife jumped in the car — I told the guys at CJOB that I needed to get away for a couple of days, and just kind of put this away knowing that I had the job — and I came here,” he says. “I went to a buddy of mine’s cabin up at Candle Lake.”
It didn’t make it any easier because his friends in the Prince Albert area also knew his situation and were asking questions.
The news completely came out a week later.
It was an easy transition for Munz because much of the old Moose staff moved over to the Jets.
But the move was still a big one.
“It was a dream come true,” he says. “At the end of the day you think when I was here doing Raider games or doing the Saskatchewan Junior League before, you’re watching and listening to guys and say maybe one day this can be you. It’s pretty special.”