My Journey To Be Next New Jersey Devils P.A. Announcer

New Jersey Devils fans cheer: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils fans cheer: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Creativity, voice, enthusiasm, and professionalism.

Those are the prerequisites that our beloved New Jersey Devils are seeking entering their 39th NHL season. To apply, the Devils asked prospective applicants for a resumé, headshot, and a 90-second audition video of your announcements to be belted out inside the Rock. After careful consideration and encouragement from my fellow Devils fans, I, Sam Woo, decided to take a leap of faith and throw my hat in the ring to be your next Devils Public Address Announcer.

When I was a kid, I always admired Bob Arsena’s passionate deep voice at the old Brendan Byrne Arena. His concise Devils goal announcements were easy to remember and to the point. After a great Devils victory over our bitter rivals across the Hudson River, I would taunt New York Rangers fans the next morning in school on which Devil scored the game-winning goal against them by emulating Arsena’s announcement loud and proud. It was all in good fun as I spent my childhood daydreaming of announcing the Devils one day as Stanley Cup champions in front of the home crowd. But will that pipe dream ever become a reality?

Now, the opportunity awaits as many talented announcers have submitted their videos. The Devils will select the top ten semi-finalists for fans to vote on in early September. The fans’ votes will determine the top three finalists. They will have the chance of a lifetime to live audition at a preseason game. For me, it is a long shot as I have never announced professionally, although I have done countless live interviews, podcasts, and public speaking engagements. The odds are stacked against me. It’s like a statistical long shot as big as the Devils beating the Detroit Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup finals. But, how does one overcome what seems like a monumental challenge similar to how the Devils won their first Stanley Cup?

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Submit my video.

Having the courage and passion to make that decision to go for it is the hardest part. Once that first domino fell, I feverishly started researching all of my favorite NHL public announcers. Aside from some of the Devils great PA announcers, I have always admired Paul McCann (Nashville Predators) and Gene Honda (Chicago Blackhawks). They all had one thing in common: be genuinely passionate about your team and job both on and off the ice.

I immediately got the iPad and microphone and started belting out enthusiastic video recordings of my own rendition. I kept thinking just be yourself and believe in your heart that you can fire up fellow Devils fans into a frenzy after a Nico Hischier goal. After a couple of edits on the video and resume, hitting that submit button felt as good as a game-winning power-play goal!

Now we wait.