Very early in my broadcasting career in Brandon, I hit a road bump. I wasn’t sure if the industry was for me — so much so that I applied for a position with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the team’s communications department.
I knew all the staff and the organization’s culture through my experience covering the team.
I felt it would be a good fit, and explained that in my interview for the position with Wheat Kings owner Kelly McCrimmon.
I left the interview thinking I nailed it and really had a shot at the job but deep down I was torn because I truly loved being a broadcaster.
But when the time came to decide about the job I didn’t have to make a decision. McCrimmon made it for me. He called on a Sunday afternoon and said, “Leah, its Kelly. Listen, you are qualified for this position and I know you would do well… but I’m not giving you the job. You have tremendous potential in what you’re doing and I believe you need to keep going.”
I thanked Kelly, hung up the phone, and was relieved. Kelly had made the choice for me and I’m so thankful he did.
From there, I built on Kelly’s belief in me and the belief I had in myself. I continued working the Wheat Kings beat, which laid the foundation for my entire career — which led to a moment in March: my first NHL play-by-play assignment calling the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights.
Just prior to puck drop, as I walked the catwalk towards the booth, there was the Knights’ GM — Kelly McCrimmon, patiently waiting outside to wish me luck.
It was unprofessional, but I gave Kelly a big hug and he said, “Be great, have fun.”
I’m not sure I can express how thankful I am for Kelly’s support over the last 18 years. I can only imagine what he thought when I first walked through the Keystone Centre doors. Trust me, I saw him shake his head a few times at my questions over the years.
I am a better professional and person from knowing Kelly.
And as he ends his era of owning his beloved hockey club, the Brandon Wheat Kings, I say to Kelly, “Be great and have fun.”