It’s Peter Maher tonight, just like the good old days

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For the first time this season, I will not have even the option of watching the Flames play tonight. No TV network, pay-per-view service or Internet streaming portal has deigned to broadcast Calgary’s game with Minnesota — rending my costly Centre Ice package useless. Unless you call the option to watch the ultra-important Blues-Oilers game on something called KPLR, “useful.”

But, having exhausively covered “apathy,” “pessimism” and “Jim Playfair sucks” lately, I’m actually kind of relieved — almost looking forward to tonight, actually — and all because of Peter Maher.

When I was five years old, my mom bought me a Baycrest clock-radio that was about the size and dimensions of a 200-page novel — in other words, perfect to hide under my pillow. So I would go to bed, pretend to be asleep, and listen to Peter and Doug Barkley describe my heroes’ battles, and learned about the game I was just starting to love. Hockey wasn’t a big deal in my house, so if it wasn’t for Peter and Doug, I’d have been lost. Sometimes, it took me a while to figure out the terminology, which is why I thought for years that Lanny McDonald and Kent Nilsson were flush with free house- and car-insurance from all their “insurance goals.”

(I also think my mom was kind of in on the whole thing, because she never seemed to investigate when I yelped in glee at a Flames goal despite my “sleeping.”)

When I was a hockey reporter, many moons ago, I met Peter Maher when he was covering the Calgary Hitmen, keeping busy after a typical Flames year of missing the playoffs. He was nothing but gracious. Quite honestly, it was a thrill to meet him, and I let him know that. We talked about the game, and being around the game, for a good 20 minutes. It was in a cold arena after a long game, and he would have stayed as long as I wanted to chat.

For all the “Yeah, Baby!” calls, the thing I’ve always liked best about Maher is that he’s honest about the game. He gets excited about opposing clubs’ goals (unlike the bozos in, say, Tampa Bay) and works with his colour guys to provide an honest analysis of the game — without sounding know-it-all like Roger Millions does.

So considering the adversity the Flames have been going through lately, I’m probably due to check out a game on the radio and hear Peter’s take on what’s been going on.

Hell, might even bring me a little perspective.

Or it might make me even angrier at The Rog, but what are you going to do?

(The pic’s from the Air Canada Centre concourse earlier this year, where I watched Maher give a pre-game interview, smiling as always, before Calgary’s OT loss to the Leafs.)

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~ by duncan on March 17, 2007.

6 Responses to “It’s Peter Maher tonight, just like the good old days”

  1. dude…. you were a hockey reporter ???? i’m not surprised, with your kickass flow and good points, but if you WERE a reporter, you must have the BEST JOB EVER now… 🙂

  2. Yeah, no complaints about my current career.

    Being a reporter was incredibly fun for a while, and covering hockey was my career goal from my junior high days. But after a few years of being a hockey reporter — and I took pride in being a proper, objective hockey reporter — I realized it was way more enjoyable being a fan.

  3. Who did you work for in those days?

  4. I did something glamourous called “quote-running” at the Saddledome for CP for one season during the Pierre Page era, which essentially amounted to me tracking stats during the game, then sprinting to the dressing room to get post-game quotes from Trevor Kidd to pass along to a writer. Then I covered one of the WHL teams quite closely for a small daily in B.C. for a couple of years. It’s there I learned more about the game and its surroundings than any time before or since.

  5. Trevor Kidd and Page? That brings back some bad memories…

  6. Trevor Kidd wasn’t, how shall I put this, the smartest player on the team. My favourite quote of his, ever, was “I’m just trying to live in the now, man,” in response to a question about his recent poor play. Page was forever slapping together “we’re trying to build a foundation” house-building analogies for the team. I actually quite liked him — he always gave me the time of day, even though I was obviously the greenest guy in the room.

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