A few years back when I was merely a casual fan of the Checkers, a friend and I nicknamed Jason Shaya the “Beef O’Brady guy” because one of the in-game segments on the jumbotron was between him and the coaches, and it was sponsored by Beef O’Brady’s. Beyond those segments, we didn’t really know who he was, and what his role with the Checkers was beyond doing the interviews.
I remember that season he dressed as the backup goaltender when one of our guys was sick or called up, and my buddy and I were so amused that the “Beef O’Brady guy” was playing goalie. We were kind of terrible people in that we hoped the starting goalie wouldget pulled, just so we could see our friend the Beef O Brady guy have to go on the ice and stop some pucks. I had no idea that Shaya, dressed in natural leather pads and a jersey that seemed to swallow his frame was going to become someone I admired as fully as I do today.
I’ve since become a much more serious fan of the Charlotte Checkers, with season tickets, etc., and even making sure to listen to as many away games as possible on the radio. I actually began my “career” as a hockey fan listening to AHL games. I followed the Hamilton Bulldogs pretty religiously, never missing a game the year they won the Calder Cup. I learned a lot about the sport through the commentary and calling of the game (and Hamilton has a GREAT play-by-play guy!). It’s been pretty refreshing this year, listening to games again going back to my roots, however relatively new and young they still are in the world of hockey. I’ve realized over and over how lucky Charlotte is to have Shaya at the help. He calls a great game, and it’s refreshing to not have an annoying color commentary guy butting in with asinine comments that have nothing to do with the play on the ice. (Canes fans, think of TV color guy Tripp Tracy and how often he says something STUPID during a game!)
I appreciate the simplicity and description Shaya provides, and the fact he doesn’t ramble about off-topic things *cough*TrippTracy*cough* such as getting a text message from Eric Staal’s dad or whatever. There’s something pure and honest about Shaya’s game calling. He waits until stops in play to share opinions and side stories, which is right where they should be, not to mention I tend to agree with his view of things, like our current goaltending situation. I’m pretty won-over by our AHL Checkers, and don’t find a lot of fault with them, so let’s just add him to the long list of things we are lucky to have when it comes to our AHL club.
Just an aside… I wonder what it would take to get Shaya on twitter? I’d love to follow him there…