Stats man Dick Ramsay, Floor Directors Lyndon Smith & Jim Sax

A couple of months ago I received a phone call asking if I would like to work as Floor Director for the World Junior Hockey Championships in my home town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As a Canadian prairie boy this was a dream come true: getting paid to watch world-class hockey!  I didn’t have to think too long before I said “yes”.

I was to work with on-camera talent Fred Pletsch and manage all things ice level during the team USA games. The client was Toronto’s Dome Productions (owned by CTV & Rogers) and we were to be broadcasting live on the NHL Network via satellite uplink. The crew was pulled from across North America. We had a director from Denver, a producer from Los Angeles, and several people from across Canada. I was part of the local contingent.

Local crew with Fred Pletsch & Lyndon Smith

These pros have a plan B and a plan C in place at all times to cover various circumstances. Even in the most stressful situations (e.g. mics or headsets going down right before an on-air cue) the banter in the headsets was always relaxed and often with good humor.

We began by running the requisite miles of cable from the new $10M Dome Majestic HD truck to the venue (Credit Union Centre), then hooking up cameras, lights, and microphones. The -30 degree temperatures made for quick trips to and from the truck and accompanying B Unit.

After teching the obligatory glitches we were ready to broadcast, and not a moment too soon. I have been fortunate enough to have never missed an opening cue during a live production, but sometimes it has been really close. This was one of those times. But everything was ready to go before the puck dropped, and we went on air for the next 7 games with few problems.

Eyes on the prize - World Juniors Gold Medal

Working closely with the American team was a pleasure. To the man, these guys were a class act. This was not surprising when you looked at Team USA`s coaching. Head coach Dean Blais showed great leadership in the overtime loss of the now classic New Year`s Eve game against Canada. Blais also demonstrated humility in the overtime victory of the Gold Medal game. As a Canadian, it was hard losing at “our game“, but we lost to fine young men who played well and were extremely well-coached.

In future posts I will discuss some of the camera, lighting, and mic setups that we used during this live television production.  I`ll also share some of the hockey action photos that I shot on my days off from the NHL network, and discuss the techniques I used to get those shots.

Cya next time.

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