I’m sure everyone reading this can agree with me that there is nothing better than ordering some food, grabbing a beverage of choice, and turning on the TV to catch your favorite sports team on TV. For me this plays out with some wings, a good beer, and the Sharks. But what makes a sport so compelling that you watch it on TV consistently? I can be very frank and say it’s the commentators that draw you into watching the program and then keep you hooked. I remember back when I was young, turning on the TV to channel 36 KICU and watching the Sharks play a good game of hockey. The person that was commentating at the time, and still is now, was Mr. Sharks Voice himself, Randy Hahn.
On May 14th, I got an exclusive Blades of Teal interview with Randy, and a lot was revealed about the voice we all associate with the team we love so much. Continue reading to find out what the charismatic broadcaster had to say!
What was your impression on the game tonight (NJD vs. NYR, Game 1)?
I love the intensity, especially after the Rangers played a Game 7. Half way through the first period, they were right there. New Jersey was pressuring the puck so much. I forget sometimes when I’m watching the games, how fast the NHL is now. I was impressed on how fast they (the Rangers) were, blocking all those shots. I wouldn’t say it was an easy shut out for Lundqvuist, but 21 saves isn’t like standing on your head. Full credit to the Rangers for bouncing back after a tough series; they are a lot like LA, they have good depth, and they have good skill to go with that depth.
What do you think about the current playoffs, especially in the West?
Well, I think a lot of people thought that LA was going to be good; this was coming out of training camp before they got Carter. Then the regular season came, and they squeaked through in 8th place and a lot of people lost faith in them then. I think throughout the entire season, they were ranked 29th or 30th in scoring, yet still hanging in there in games, winning a lot of close games. Kopitar, Brown, Doughty, etc are all coming in the last minute. Quick is mentally strong. If you said at the beginning of the year that the west would come down to two Pacific Division teams and the Sharks weren’t one of them, I would have said you were crazy. Darryl Sutter has come in, settled them down, took pressure off guys. He’s not the same coach as he was with the Sharks, nor with Calgary, he has adapted as a coach.
Which player had a break out year this year in the NHL?
Claude Giroux. Everyone knew he was good, but no one knew he was this good. He was fantastic, exciting to watch. We always think Crosby or Ovechkin, so it’s very exciting to see someone like that break through. He’s the real deal.
Vice versa, who had the biggest slump?
I don’t think Ovechkin had a great year, toward the playoffs he had a better year. If I had to pick a guy, Ryan Kessler, cover boy of video games and such, I know injuries played a role in this, but he was not quite there at the end of last year and throughout this year. In addition, Scott Gomez, he was brought into Montreal this year to be that guy, and he just wasn’t.
What do you think the Sharks have to do next year to become an elite team again?
They weren’t an elite team this year, and I don’t know if they can get right back into it next year. To become an elite team again is not that hard anymore, but the Sharks have already made a lot of trades and draft picks to get there, and they only won one playoff game this year. I hope it doesn’t take them a long time, but it might. In today’s NHL, you have to get younger and faster. They weren’t fast enough in the penalty kill this year.
What do you think about the trade for Burns?
I thought Brent Burns was a solid addition to the team. They clearly wanted to build on the defense and he was the guy. Overall, if you looked at him being a new player in a brand new organization, he was good. He certainly wasn’t the All-Star, but I like that move. We’ll just have to see next year.
“I was a Jamie McGinn Fan” – Randy Hahn
So with two puck heads like us, yes I said “PUCK” heads, we could have talked hockey all night. But the intention of this interview was to get to know Randy Hahn, so let’s get to the nitty gritty of the Great, Randy Hahn.
What were you doing before being the play by play commentator for the Sharks?
Right before I did the San Jose Sharks, I did the pregame show for the LA Kings in 1989-1991, before the game, intermission, and post game. Prior to that I was the play by play announcer for the San Diego Sockers; a team in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Out of the 10 years, they won 9 championships, so I now have 9 championship rings. It served me well because it’s basically the same game as hockey. We were playing in the same arenas as the Blues and the Kings now. I always wanted to work for the NHL, but at the time there was only one team in California, I was living in San Diego at the time, and the team was LA, and Bob Miller was the same announcer in 1982 as he is now. So I would have had to wait a really long time. So fortunately, there was an expansion to San Jose. Before that, I was a sports caster and radio personal in Edmonton and play by play for the Edmonton Drillers.
Where did you get your Start?
My first TV break was in Edmonton. But I grew up in the Yukon Territory in a city called Whitehorse, and in high school, I was interviewed for a charity event in high school and I got a chance to be a student co-host on this local 1000 watt AM station. My first day I got there, the guest that day, which was my first interview ever, was Colonel Sanders from KFC. He even told me himself, even though I was 15 at the time, he thought the interview was “finger licken good”.
What was the driving force that made you decide that sports writing, broadcasting, radio, and TV was the perfect field for you to be in?
I don’t know if it was a driving force at 15. I just kind of fell into it, and the more I did, the more I liked it. I got to work at the radio station on the weekends, spin records, be a DJ, read the news. And it was a small town, so for a 15 year old kid to make a goof up on air wasn’t a big deal. And I enjoyed it because it paid and there was no heavy lifting. It’s cool when you’re in high school and a DJ, you get more chicks.
What are some of your game day preps and rituals?
It is a ritual for us broadcasters. A typical game day for me on the road is to get up at 8AM, check the internet, watching highlights from the night before, visit a couple of websites like Kuklas Korner. Now a days, I’ll check Twitter because our beat writers Kevin Kurz and David Pollak of the Mercury News are on there all the time. if there are any news that have changed from the night before, they’ll know. Them and Brodie Brazil, who I think live on Twitter, will help me catch up on stuff. By 10, I’ll get on the team bus to get to morning practice. I’ll get to watch the two teams practice who will skate in their line combination. Then you chat with the other team’s announcer to swap stories and share news (not too much news though). Then we get to go into the locker rooms to talk to the players and coaches of both teams. After, we get on the bus to go back, and that’s where I work out. Then it’s time to get ready, get packed, check out and go to the Arena to prep for the night and do the broadcast.
What would your alternate career be if you never got into sports, broadcasting, or journalism?
I would say, George Clooney’s Arch Rival, I would love to go up against him as an A-List celebrity.
What do you do during the offseason?
A lot of it is catching up. I think this year we were in a hotel for about 120 nights. So a lot of it is catch up, catching up with family, spending more time in Canada with family up there.
How have you liked working with Drew Remenda, Bret Hedican, and the rest of the Comcast staff?
Drew and I have a great friendship since my first year and he was the Sharks as an assistant coach. We’ve know each other for 21 years, and he’s just the best color commenter the Sharks ever had. We want our fans to get to know the nuts and bolts of the game but still be entertained. Bret Hedican just has that passion of the game, he makes that good point that only a recent former player can make. He can make points that only a former player can make. Curtis Brown was a great addition this year, he’s bumped up the credibility of the network. Dave Maley has been here for the last few years and he’s a great guy. And Brodie Brazil, even though he wasn’t a hockey guy, just brings the passion of sports commentating to the team, and he’s dives in head first.
Who would you consider your top interviewee?
In the NHL, Gordie Howe and of course we had Wayne Gretzky on a few times. All time, I would have to say Pele. I mean, you talk about iconic sports player in the past century, Pele would be in the top three with Mohammed Ali and Michael Jordan.
Who is someone you have never had a chance to interview, but would die to interview?
Jim Vandermeer. (The end, that’s all Randy said… Maybe.)
What are some of the best moments with the Sharks?
Jamie Baker’s goal in Detroit. Still the best goal in Sharks history. That’s highlight number one for me. Of course the game 7 wins in the playoffs are always big. The game 7 against Calgary where Roenick had four points, Marleau’s game winning goal after Roenick calls him out on national TV. Those are all big highlights. Obviously the come from behind win in the Kings last year was big. Joe Thornton’s tip shot to win was huge last year. And a Boston game in October 8 years ago, where Sturm scored the winning goal, I said the game was UN-BE-LIEV-A-BLE. Of course there was my first game where the Sharks lost 9-0 in New jersey, and my thousandth game.
How much time do you devote to Facebook and the Twitter Machine?
More during the season than now, it’s more of a way to connect with the fans. Now that they are out of the play offs, I’ll just comment here and there.
Most importantly, is Sharks’ Late Night Confidential coming back?
I think it might have run its course, but never say never. Just like technology moves on, maybe we’ll have to find something bigger and better. Or I’ll just kick it to satin robes.
To catch my first interview, that was not with my mom or my corgi, you can check out the audio on Youtube (You even get to hear my slip ups, Randy calling me out for not having a webcam in the year 2012, and where I interrupt him constantly cause I could not get enough of my own droll voice): Unedited Interview with Randy Hahn.
*Blades of Teal: The Final Word On San Jose Sharks Hockey