Not long ago, I got an email from a colleague in the BCHL asking about my goal calls. He was looking for ways to change up his goal call, feeling that it was too repetitive particularly when put into a highlight pack. So I thought it might make for an interesting post if I broke down my own goal call, explain why I do what I do and why I think it works.
As with a lot of things on this site, there’s no right or wrong. It’s what I love most about sportscasting, is the fact you can take 50 broadcasters and have them call the same event and wind up with 50 different versions. Some callers use different vocabulary, others with a variety of energy, others a different format of how they convey information. This is what I’ve developed and what I’ve grown comfortable and accustomed to using in my broadcasts.
The above video is a goal from late January for the Kings at home in Powell River. In this call there’s a catalyst for the play, the turnover by the penalty boxes from Kings forward Gavin Rauser. Rauser grabbed the puck in neutral ice and quickly turned it up the ice. Recognising the chance, I began to trend my voice up, injecting more excitement as it quickly progressed. In hockey, you won’t always get this opportunity as pucks bounce in different directions, but in cases like rushes or breakaways you get the luxury of building the play up.
For the goal call itself, I have a typical format that I like to stick to and it’s displayed here:
- Obviously a “SCORES” is standard. The length and intensity depends on the weight of the goal. In this one, it was a first period marker and not (at the time) a game winner or anything like that so there was no need for me to go over the top. Here is a case of goals ‘meaning’ more. A bitter divisional rival the Kings were chasing in the standings, two hometown favourites scoring big goals, there’s noticeably more energy in these goals because of their meaning.
- Then there’s a long pause. At home the goal horn drowns everything out, plus I want to hear the crowd go nuts so I take a pause until the horn dies down and then go into the next phase.
- The next and main phase of a goal call is to recap the play. I unfortunately don’t have the luxury of a replay screen in most locations where I broadcast around the league, so my replay is what I remember. In the case above the focus of the goal for me, the biggest piece of it was the pass from Gavin Rauser on the boards to Austin Kamer in the slot. The finish was nice, but the pass was inch perfect through traffic.
- Once I recap the play, then it’s focusing on the impact of the goal. The 6th shot of the game indicates that it’s likely an early goal, for the benefit of fans who have tuned in and haven’t heard a score/time check yet. Then it’s the goal count on the season for the scorer, the time and the score to round everything out.
Each one of my calls follows that basic formula. Scores, recap, goal number, time and score. I don’t really feel that it’s repetitive, however I don’t pack together audio highlights like some others in the league, rather deciding to post one or two goals on YouTube instead. Even so, the formula I’ve grown accustomed with is something that gets the information across, allows the energy to come through from a home crowd and ties everything up nicely at the end.
Everything changes just a bit when on the road, because you don’t get that crowd goes wild atmosphere. But often times, you get something even better.
Here’s a goal in Victoria. Being on the road and scoring in a fairly sparse building, there’s not a lot of crowd noise when the Kings scored. The goal call format is pretty much the same, but the biggest difference is the pause. There’s a shorter one, just enough to hear the silence with a hint of the Kings celebrating in the background, then I got into the goal call. It’s more or less the same format, scores, recap, goal number, time, score…but it happens a lot quicker as I’m able to talk over more of the pause.
At the end of the day, everybody is different and it’s again why I love sportscasting. Two big goals from the same player but two very different situations worthy of two very different goal calls and two very different descriptions of what happened. The concerns of my colleague about being formulaic are absolutely right, you never want to do the same thing over and over again…however with changes in energy, pace and the importance you put on a play can get any highlight pack that you want to build to tell its own story.