He admittedly has never played the game.
He can’t skate. Had never previously been to the city. And he’s American.
Yet the Edmonton Oilers felt Jack Michaels was the best choice to take Rod Phillips’s spot in the radio broadcast booth.
“When I worked in football, I remember (former CFLer) Frankie Morris saying that you don’t have to find the good ones, the good ones find you,” said Allan Watt, the Oilers vice-president of communication and broadcast.
“That’s kind of the credo in scouting and that was the case here.
“We have a $3-billion industry (NHL), we’re a $120-million business and there are no borders in our business. There are tons of Canadian coaches, managers and broadcasters and colour commentators that work in the United States. And our office is full of ticket people from Florida and on down the line.”
Michaels, 36, beat out hundreds of applicants for the position held by Phillips dating back to the Oilers’ WHA days.
He was introduced to the media on Tuesday.
“This was more of finding a match for our colour commentator (Bob Stauffer) who is very good and has his own radio show,” Watt said. “We wanted to have somebody that could relieve him on that. We wanted to be sure that the Oilers broadcast was primary and the commitment to Oilers Lunch (radio show) and to the Oilers flagship, 630 CHED, was going to be there always and that would be somebody that could fulfill those obligations.”
Michaels joins the Oilers after spending eight years in the ECHL calling games for the Alaska Aces. The native of western Pennsylvania came highly recommended by Hall of Famer Mike Emrick, who’s the voice of the NHL for NBC.
“Mike brought credence to it,” Watt said. “We were able to call Mike and ask him about Jack. He told us that he’s listened to over 100 tapes over the years and he told us that Jack was absolutely ready for the NHL.”