The Voice of The Everblades

by Sharon Weatherhead

WHO IS THE NEW ‘Voice of the Florida Everblades’? It’s Virginia Beach, Virginia native Alex Reed!

While Reed looks younger than his 33 years, he comes to the Everblades with a wealth of experience in the sports arena. His resume is impressive. Reed went to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, earning both Bachelors and Masters degrees. During his years at Marshall he not only won 47 broadcasting awards but was also the Western Virginia (Associated Press) Sportscaster of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Reed started calling play-by-play college sports when he was at Marshall on station WMUL-FM. He says it was a very hands-on experience and was their broadcaster for seven years, calling all of their sports games: baseball, basketball, football – but no hockey!

He explains, “Because Marshall didn’t have hockey, I used to sit in the last row of stands while watching the Norfolk Admirals play hockey during Christmas and Spring break. I would practice calling the games and finally made a demo tape of announcing the action out on the ice. I actually got my first hockey broadcasting position with that demo tape,” he said with a smile.

Reed got his first job with the Lewiston Maine-iacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “It was a great experience. This was an 18 team league. We were the only US team in the league. The Lewiston MAINE-iacs were from Maine (hence the spelling MAINE-iacs). The QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) is in Canada. I got to see many different cities and provinces in Canada as we traveled around for games.”

His experience there then led him to professional hockey with the Wheeling Nailors of the East Coast Hockey League (the same minor league as the Blades).

Reed explains, “The Nailors were down in Florida late in March of this year to play the Everblades. While we were there I mentioned how great I thought the team and the location was. Kevin (Reiter) mentioned that he was leaving his broadcaster position and that there would be an opening. I decided to apply and was selected over 100 other applicants.”

Reed laughed, “I have a very impressive title – Public/Community Relations Manager & Broadcaster.” He will be wearing many hats. “My job includes broadcasting, sales, media relations and community relations.

“I’ll work both the radio and TV commentary and play-by-play. The radio games will be aired on ESPN Radio 770. Internet coverage will be on AmericaOne.com.

“There will be six televised Everblades games this season on MyTV-8: Dec 19 vs Greenville, Dec 10 vs. Elmira, Jan 28 vs Greenville, Feb 18 vs South Carolina, March 3 vs Kalamazoo, March 31 vs Gwinnett.”

“It’s very exciting and there’s a lot to absorb. New systems are in place and have to be learned. Time management will be key for me here.”

What does he do to prepare for calling a hockey game? “Preparation is the key. You have to review the rosters, stat sheets, etc. You need a numerical roster for both teams. The first few games with the Blades will be a challenge, but after that it gets much easier as you get to know all the players. You need to read the news and know the players, know their scoring streaks, the trends, etc.”

And what is it like broadcasting the “fastest game in the world”? “Hockey is so different, but very exciting to call. It’s so fast and of course you have the constant changing of players on the ice as the lines change quickly. You also need to listen to your replays so you can critique your own performance. You get used to the flow with experience.

“Each sport has its own speed and challenges. For example, baseball is a slow game to call. The challenge is there is so much open time that the broadcaster has to fill and keep the spectators interested and engaged.”

When asked about the 2011-2012 Everblades? “I think we’re going to have a really good team. I have spoken with Coach Poss and Coach Tapper and they’re very excited. There’s a lot of new talent coming in – not a lot of players are returning this time. They have been recruiting really hard. We also have to wait to see what players we receive from our affiliate teams – the Tampa Bay Lightening and Carolina Hurricanes (each team has the option of sending players to the Florida Everblades for experience, training and rehab from injuries).

“Mathieu Roy (forward) is coming back. We’re excited about that. Another player returning, after some time with the Kalamazoo Wings (who won the Kelly Cup last season), is Ryan McGinnis (defense). He’s an excellent two-way defenseman. We have a lot of new players coming in that will add to the strength and excitement of the team.

“The Coaches and I are very excited about the coming season. Their goal is to change the direction from last season. They are really focused on a championship (the Kelly Cup) this year. The fans are ready and they deserve it!.” •

from the November-December 2011 issue

“I think we’re going to
have a really good team.
There’s a lot of new talent
coming in. They’ve been
recruiting really hard.”
“Hockey is very exciting to
call. It’s so fast and you
have the constant changing
of players on the ice.”