Al Formo remembers Ryan Pinder being a little green his first year as the voice of the Penticton Vees.
Pinder was fresh off a stint in Fort St. John calling games for the junior B Huskies and senior AAA Flyers. Working with Formo, the Vees colour commentator, and analyst Chad Campbell, the Calgary native credits them for giving valuable input.
“Working with Al formo has been an absolute pleasure,” he said. “He and Chad Campbell have so much history in this town. I came in as sort of a brash, young raw guy and they have helped groom me into the broadcaster I am. They taught me the importance of team aspect.”
Formo said that rookie year was a big learning year for the Flames fan.
“In his second to fourth year he just got better every year,” said Formo. “The last two years, he was very good and it was fun to do the games with him.”
Formo described Pinder as someone who was always up-to-date with information for listeners and worked hard. With Pinder leaving and eyeing better opportunities, Formo will miss his enthusiasm and love for the game.
“We got together two or three times a week between games,” he said of their Tim Horton’s meetings. “Dan Marshall and I had a very special relationship and I think that Ryan and I developed that same kind of relationship.
“I think he is going to go a long ways,” continued Formo. “He has learned a lot here. What he does with the blog and radio show. He has become well-rounded.”
Pinder said his time in Penticton was fantastic and he couldn’t have lucked out with the job and such a beautiful place to live.
He thanked Vees ownership and management, in particular coach and GM Fred Harbinson, who taught him a lot of things (including wearing suits on game days) and gave him room to have his imprint on the job.
“I have done four years and I got the sense that I was doing a solid job here but I needed a bigger challenge and something new.”
Pinder hopes to land one of the opportunities available on the always-changing broadcasting landscape. The two-month window for openings between July and August is underway. Pinder has received positive feedback and a heavier freelance workload the last six months are signs he can step into a new challenge. He’s targeting a WHL or AHL play-by-play gig.
“If nothing pans out immediately, I’m not too worried because of the freelance experience I have,” said Pinder.
Some of his favourite calls for the Vees includes the BCHL championship run in 2008, watching Curtis McKenzie becoming a dominant force at 17, Beau Bennett’s four-point night in the final regular season game to win the BCHL scoring championship, and Denver Manderson’s seven-point night among others. However, he knows the Vees and its fans will be in good hands with Fraser Rodgers, who has been dubbed Pinder 2.0 by the man leaving.
“I know Fraser Rodgers is going to do a great job,” said Pinder. “I always thought Fraser was the guy (to replace him) since meeting him in the preseason in Trail last season. I just saw a guy that’s really keen, that has the skill of the new age broadcaster — which is social media, blogging — not a guy that’s going to punch the clock and worry about how many hours he has worked. I also think his call for a 23-year-old is well beyond his years.”
Rodgers, who also called games for the Humboldt Broncos, Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks in the SJHL for one year, is excited about his new, larger role. The Nanaimo native grins about the potential Vees team he will call on a weekly basis. For Rodgers eaving the Powell River Kings is about giving himself a better opportunity. Rodgers is determined to hone his own skills while taking pieces of their style.
“It’s all about how you bring excitement to the game,” said Rodgers, who thanked the Kings for the chance they gave him and the opportunity he’s getting with the Vees. “I’m still really young so my delivery and how I want to present a game is a work in progress. Hopefully fans will like it.”
“On behalf of the Vees organization I would like to thank Ryan for all his hard work over the past four seasons,” said Harbinson. “I would also like to welcome Fraser Rodgers to the Vees family. Hiring Fraser gives us an opportunity for a seamless transition in how we broadcast and keep our fans up to date on a day-to-day basis.”