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A hockey announcer is a man or woman who provides commentary and play-by-play coverage of a hockey event at the youth, college, amateur, or professional level of competition. He or she might relay information to a live audience inside a stadium or provide detailed descriptions of games over a radio or television broadcast. A hockey announcer must be knowledgeable about the game, pay very close attention to the action, speak quickly and clearly, and be able to energetically captivate an audience's attention.
Many experts announce games in front of live audiences, where their voices are projected over loudspeakers inside stadiums. An announcer might introduce players and coaches, report when a score or save is made, and explain penalties and violations. A professional is responsible for keeping the crowd both informed and entertained through accurate commentary and loud, lively exclamations.
A hockey announcer who covers games for radio audiences must be very detail-oriented and able to vividly and accurately describe play-by-play action. He or she creates an image for listeners by carefully following everything that happens on the ice. A skilled announcer uses exciting, colorful language to inform listeners of who is controlling the puck, offensive and defensive formations, line changes, violations, and relevant statistics. He or she frequently reminds audiences of the current score and how much time is left on the clock. Most experts try to display objectivity so that fans of both teams receive fair, honest coverage of a game.
Professionals who specialize in television broadcasts incorporate many of the same duties as other announcers, though their play-by-play coverage is usually less detailed, since viewers are able to follow games on their screens. A television hockey announcer might provide additional commentary about player and team statistics, coaching decisions, and rules. He or she may also recap scoring plays or violations while showing instant replays to television audiences.
Most individuals begin their announcing careers at youth or high school events to gain experience calling games. They may be employees of a school or simply local hockey enthusiasts who choose to volunteer their time to provide a service to their communities. People who wish to announce games at higher levels of competition often receive bachelor's degrees or higher in communications or journalism to perfect their skills and prepare them for jobs in radio and television. A hockey announcer who excels at the job and gains popularity with audiences may have the opportunity to cover important matches and work for national broadcasting companies.