It’s two-and-a-half hours until puck drop at Prospera Place, and a Zamboni is cleaning the ice for the pre-game skate.
Regan Bartel, the longtime voice of the Kelowna Rockets, is getting ready to punch the clock and go to work.
Bartel climbs the stairs to the press box, high above the ice surface where the broadcast booth is located.
Bartel starts his pregame ritual by setting up the tools of the trade.
It’s second nature to Bartel, who’s been calling Rockets play-by-play now since 2000.
The secret to his longevity and success?
“Practice, it takes a lot of practice.” Bartel told Global News.
Because as we all know, practice makes perfect — especially when it comes to anything related to hockey.
“When you do over 2,000 games you would think by game 1,999, hopefully it comes out relatively coherent,” Bartel said.
Last summer, Bartel’s practice paid off when he got a call to the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame recognizing his work as a broadcaster.
“The Bernie Pascall award, it was the highlight in my broadcasting career for sure,” Bartel said.
Another highlight of Bartel’s career? Calling the championship game of the 2004 Memorial Cup in Kelowna, when the Rockets beat the Gatineau Olympiques 2-1 on May 23.
The man they call the voice of the Kelowna Rockets is looking forward to calling those games again, as the Rockets get set to again host junior hockey’s biggest prize in May.
“Can they run the table like they did in 2004, when they won every game that they played? Maybe that’s not the case,” Bartel said.
“But again, it’s going to be some thrilling hockey, and it’s going to be great to see that Kelowna will again come alive and will fall in love with this franchise again like they did in ’04.”
Hopefully once again area residents will rally around the hometown team and Bartel’s signature play-by-play call of: “He scores!”