During his studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College in his hometown of Winnipeg, Rob Mahon had the chance to be invited up to the press box of the then-named Westman Place in Brandon and pick the brain of Wheat Kings radio announcer Bruce Luebke during the 2015 Western Hockey League final.
“I was up there watching the warmups for the Wheat Kings and the Kelowna Rockets and I thought to myself, ‘if I could one day get the chance to call games at this level, I’d be so thrilled,’” Mahon said.
The 28-year-old has now accomplished that goal as he was announced as the new radio play-by-play voice for the Prince Albert Raiders on Monday morning.
“I really don’t think it’s sunk in for me yet as I’m still trying to coordinate my move up here,” said Mahon, who will be taking over the announcing duties from Trevor Redden, who stepped down from the post last month.
“I think it will start to hit me once we get closer to opening night and I can only imagine what I’ll be feeling like once Oct. 1 rolls around.”
Mahon has spent the last four seasons in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as the voice of the Estevan Bruins.
During his time in The Energy City, Mahon had a front row seat to the Bruins’ run to the 2018 league final against the Nipawin Hawks, a 3-1 quarter-final series comeback against the Humboldt Broncos that ended in a Game 7 overtime triumph in the spring of 2019 and Jayden Davis’ viral toe-drag dangle and between-the-legs move goal against the Weyburn Red Wings during the 2019-20 regular season.
“I was downright spoiled in Estevan,” Mahon said. “I know there are guys that have called Junior A games for a decade that don’t get to see the things that I’ve had a chance to witness. I consider myself very lucky.”
When asked about his approach to broadcasting a game, Mahon described his style as fast-paced and energetic.
“I listen back to myself sometimes and say ‘you could probably slow this down a bit and it probably wouldn’t hurt,’” Mahon joked.
“I’m pretty excited when I call the game, as I love what I’m getting the chance to do and I consider hockey to be one of the most exciting and fast-paced sports out there. It’s so hard to try and script a game of hockey, especially at the junior level, because it’s so easy for things to go completely off the rails. I think that’s what makes it so entertaining.”
Since getting the chance to call University of Manitoba Bisons games while pursuing his studies in Winnipeg, Mahon has received a lot of pointers from some of the top voices in junior hockey as he’s worked his way through the ranks.
“When I first started out, people like Bruce in Brandon, (former Regina Pats announcer) Phil Andrews and (Moose Jaw Warriors announcer) James Gallo were all really helpful,” Mahon said.
“Then in the last couple of years, I’ve gotten some great feedback and advice from the likes of (Saskatoon Blades announcer) Les Lazaruk, (London Knights announcer) Mike Stubbs, (Kelowna Rockets announcer) Regan Bartel and (former Red Deer Rebels announcer and current Edmonton Oilers radio broadcaster) Cam Moon. I’ve found the whole play-by-play community to be super welcoming.”
After finishing up his job duties with Golden West Broadcasting in Estevan, Mahon will officially start work on Aug. 16 for Pattison Media, where he will also be doing news work for 900 CKBI.
“I’ve been up here in Prince Albert for a couple of days this week to search for a place to live and I’ve started to get a feel for the community a little bit,” Mahon said. “There’s parts of the city that feel very familiar to my hometown as it’s almost like you’ve cut a chunk out of Winnipeg and put it right in northern Saskatchewan.
“Everyone I’ve met has been very welcoming as well, which reminds me a lot of when I moved to Estevan back in 2017. It’s been all positive so far and I can’t wait to get started here in a couple of weeks.”
Raiders Schedule Finalized
About a month after announcing their home dates for the 2021-22 season, the Prince Albert Raiders released their full schedule for the upcoming campaign on Tuesday.
The 68-game slate, which will consist of only Eastern Conference teams, will get underway at the Art Hauser Centre on Oct. 1 against the Regina Pats and will conclude on April 2 with another visit by the Pats.
The Raiders’ longest homestand will be a four-game stretch from Jan. 29 to Feb. 8, which will see them welcome the Brandon Wheat Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen to town.
Their longest stint away from Prince Albert will be a five-game road swing against the Medicine Hat Tigers, Hitmen, Rebels, Oil Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors from Feb. 21 to March 4.
Around the WHL
It will be status quo in the hockey operations department for the Calgary Hitmen as they announced multi-year contract extensions for general manager Jeff Chynoweth, head coach Steve Hamilton, and assistant coaches Trent Cassan and Joel Otto.
Otto has been with the club for the last 15 seasons, while Cassan will be starting his sixth year with the team.
Chynoweth joined the Hitmen front office in 2017 and Hamilton became the bench boss prior to the 2018-19 season.
The Regina Pats and Victoria Royals made a minor trade on Tuesday as the Pats dealt overage forward Carter Massier to the Royals in exchange for 18-year-old netminder Keegan Maddocks.
Massier is coming off the best season of his career as he had 12 points in 24 games in the East Division hub, while Maddocks has posted a 0-1-0 record with a 3.26 goals against average and a .900 save percentage in four appearances over the last three seasons.
The Royals would fill the hole left in their goaltending depth chart as a result of the trade on Wednesday as they signed 2021 CHL Import Draft pick Sebastian Wraneschitz.
The 19-year-old from Austria had a 5-7-0 record with a 3.18 goals against average, an .886 save percentage and one shutout for the Vienna Capitals during the 2020-21 campaign.
Wraneschitz also represented his country at last year’s World Juniors in Edmonton, where he turned in a dazzling 61-save performance in a 4-0 round-robin loss to Sweden.
Meanwhile, the Kelowna Rockets announced on Thursday that potential overage netminder Roman Basran had been released after going unclaimed through WHL waivers.
The 20-year-old from Vancouver was a third round pick by the Rockets in 2016 and posted a 52-41-11 record with a 2.90 goals against average, a .905 save percentage and five shutouts during his time in Kelowna.
Overager Cole Schwebius split time with Basran this spring and is currently slated to be the starter, with 19-year-old Cole Tisdale and 16-year-old Nicholas Cristiano being the other signed netminders on the Rockets depth chart.