Back in the Saddle

By Jeremy Ellis

After an adventurous Friday of travel from Chicago, I am finally here for my 7th go-round, the 20th annual NARCh Finals.  The weather in the Toronto area got downright nasty yesterday with thunderstorms, high winds and even tornado sightings.  All of those led to a long delay for me taking off from Chicago, which allowed the Chicago weather to turn for the worse delaying my departure even more.  After exploring O’Hare airport for 8 hours I finally took off and ended up here in Toronto after 3am.  My baggage decided to hang out for a night in Chicago and I look forward to a cheerful reunion with the two of them this evening at the hotel!

Well what can I say, pretty impressive is what comes to mind as I take in the 2013 edition of Finals.  The live streaming is incredible, the geography of the teams, the facility, the staff here in place, and best of all the familiar faces here at the rink make this one of my favorite times of the year.  Witnessing the behind the scenes of the video stream and how Jason Monroe and his crew do work is pretty intense.  Having a background in TV and Radio myself, I can honestly say that the equipment and production value are top-notch.  Stay tuned, as we may have some added features to the live stream as we go this week.

I had the opportunity to watch the Junior Gold final between the Tour Excitement and Top Gunn this afternoon.  A close game throughout, the excitement clung to a one goal lead and then added a late empty netter to win it by a final of 4-2.  George Brown and his boys take home the gold with an intense victory.  It is always a great experience to see these games in the arena setting like we have here and also in Fort Myers.  The sounds of the game echo and the voices of the players on the floor and the officials are piercing.

My role this week will be diverse, as I assist with Tournament directing, announcing, production and also officiating.  It is a good chance that I will cross paths with each and every one of you at some point so feel free to introduce yourself if we have not yet met and say hi.  The new relationships that I leave the NARCh finals with every year are part of the main reasons that I rearrange an already busy schedule to come be a part of this.  

The city of Missassauga has always been a big proponent of what we do and this year is no different.  Their support truly makes a difference.  The sponsors area is in a league of its own with all of the space available to them and the displays that they have to interact with our participants.

I will try to keep up with the high level of content that Lonny has provided thus far and add some feature stories to the mix over the next week.  There is one in particular that I wrote about from last year that I would like to follow up on (Casey Strale).  I am looking forward to everything that is in store for me here in the next ten days.  It is going to be a great ride, hope you can join me for it!