'Muddy' flows east

DAVE CAMERON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

He's changed his address. He won't be changing his stripes.

Bryan Mudryk may be among the latest sportscasters to be scooped from the Wild West of Edmonton to the Big Smoke of Toronto, but he promises he will never come back wearing a Mats Sundin sweater.

"I definitely won't become a Leafs fan, I can tell you that much. I think I would get kicked out of my family. They warned me before I left: I come home a Leafs fan I'm out of the will," laughed Mudryk, days after making his move from CFRN to TSN.

The 27-year-old has hit the ground running, anchoring SportsCentre on the weekends while living out of a hotel room, but he isn't feeling like the little fish about to get swallowed up in the big pond.

He already made that jump. The kid from Boyle entered broadcast school at NAIT and moved to Edmonton at age 19. After stints in Lloydminster ("I did everything - anchor, weather, whatever." And? "Oh yeah, the hog reports!") and at A-Channel in Winnipeg, Mudryk landed back in the Big E.

"It was awesome working for CTV for the four years. I grew up watching that station. To be able to go back and work there was great. I'll always be an Albertan at heart. That's home but this is an amazing opportunity.

"Edmonton's an outstanding sports town," Mudryk said, trying to reason why this has become something of a farm team for the national sports networks. "(Fellow TSNer) Jay Onrait, him and I actually grew up in Boyle together. So it's kind of neat that we're back together."

Besides the weekend anchor spot alongside Holly Horton that has him getting home - when he finds one - at 3 a.m., Mudryk will be doing assignments during the week. Which is how he got his rookie hazing.

"I walked in and the assignment guy was like, 'Muddy, I hate to break it to you, but we've got a shoot for you at 10 a.m. Monday morning.'

"I said, 'You're messing with me, right?' Like it was a big joke. 'No seriously, you're messing with me, right?'

"So I had a shoot the next morning. Four hours of sleep and back reporting. But I love it. It's all good."

From house hunting to going from eight-minute on-air segments to a 90-minute SportCentre, he's learning his new environment from scratch.

"It's the centre of the universe, apparently! This I know. But not much at all, to be honest.

"I know the traffic sucks."

And nobody drives a pickup unless there's a business logo on the doors.

"Yeah, it looked kind of funny when I was driving my tractor down the 401 the other day."

But he's already scheduled to be back home.

"I had Hodgkin's (disease) when I was 17 and I had a relapse when I was 19. I was treated at the Cross Cancer Institute, but I've been doing a golf tournament back in Boyle every year for the last three years. And I'm still going to be flying home every year to do that. It'll be June 24. We raise money for Cross.

"I said (to TSN), 'I want to keep this going.' And they said, 'Absolutely. No worries.'

"So I'll be back for that."

But not wearing a Leafs sweater.


Photos