Central Bedeque native gaining valuable sports broadcasting experience

Jason Simmonds
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McKenna calling games out of renovated Maple Leaf Gardens

Ryan McKenna is gaining valuable sports broadcasting experience in one of Canada’s most storied buildings.

Ryan McKenna, left, and broadcast partner Jeremy Pearl broadcast games for the Ryerson Rams Network out of the renovated Maple Leaf Gardens.

The son of Kevin and Cathy McKenna of Central Bedeque is a second-year journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto. He is one of four individuals hired for work-study positions to do play-by-play and colour commentary for the Ryerson Rams Network.

“It’s a great experience at a young age,” said McKenna. “I am only 19-years-old, and it’s tough to get that broadcast experience going right into the work force.”

McKenna calls games out of the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, which just happens to be located in the renovated former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs – Maple Leaf Gardens.

“It’s an unbelievable facility,” said McKenna. “The first floor is Loblaws, the grocery store.

“Ryerson owns the second and third floors. The second floor you have a workout gym and a basketball court and a volleyball court that seats about 1,000. Then on the third floor there still is the original dome-style roof from when the Maple Leafs used to play there, and a 2,700-seat NHL-size arena, and it is absolutely beautiful. We have had a lot of different Maple Leafs’ alumni stop by.”

In this year’s first semester, McKenna did mostly colour commentary for men’s and women’s hockey, along with some basketball and volleyball play-by-play.

“I’m starting to get some work in for play-by-play for hockey as well,” said McKenna. “That’s a bit of a slower process, but that’s OK with me.”

The fact that he’s calling hockey games under the same roof that the Maple Leafs played is not lost on McKenna.

“It’s pretty amazing to think that greats Foster Hewitt, Bob Cole and Harry Neale were all broadcasting from there. It means a lot. The recognition that it’s receiving and exposure hopefully leads to more viewers for our Ryerson Rams Network.” Ryan McKenna

“It’s pretty amazing to think that greats Foster Hewitt, Bob Cole and Harry Neale were all broadcasting from there,” said McKenna. “It means a lot.

“The recognition that it’s receiving and exposure hopefully leads to more viewers for our Ryerson Rams Network.”

McKenna, a 2011 French Immersion Program graduate of Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, is excited he is able to gain experience in both broadcasting and writing at Ryerson.

“Going into Ryerson I think broadcasting was always the goal,” said McKenna. “The School of Journalism really offers a variety of different options.

“With my job, I’m not just a broadcaster and am also doing some writing for the Rams Network. If I could do a combination of something like (Fox’s) Ken Rosenthal does – you are doing the broadcasting but you are also a writer at times and have your own column type of thing – (that would be a dream job).

“At the end of the day, broadcasting will be more along the lines of something I would like to pursue, but when you are getting out of university you are looking for whatever jobs you can get.”

Jason Simmonds is the sports editor of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing jpsports@journalpioneer.com.

Organizations: Ryerson Rams Network, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto Maple Leafs Ryerson University Mattamy Athletic Centre NHL School of Journalism Journal Pioneer

Geographic location: Toronto, Summerside

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