A hockey player is constantly developing throughout his career, looking for the next break, the next opportunity, or more importantly, the next call-up which will propel them onto a bigger stage. They are continually advancing their skills with the hopes of realizing their dreams.
The same goes for broadcasters.
And for two broadcasters who got their first crack at their craft in Corpus Christi, their dream – at least a big part of it – starts this weekend when the Alaska Aces and Kalamazoo Wings meet in the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals.
Mike Modugno and Josh Bogorad both came to Corpus Christi in the same manner that many of their hockey counterparts venture to the Coastal Bend. Pack a bag, say goodbye to what is familiar, and attempt to jumpstart a career.
And for both, hockey in Corpus Christi was just the launching pad they needed.
Modugno, now in his eighth year as the voice of the Wings, came to the IceRays in 1999 fresh out of school after attending SUNY Fredonia in western New York. It was there that he learned he had a desire to become a broadcaster, but in Corpus Christi, he was able to find his voice.
“Corpus Christi will always hold a special place for my wife and myself,” said Modugno. “Getting the chance to meet everyone down there, especially the Booster Club who showed me around town when I first arrived is definitely a great memory. Also, Rick Dames (owner of the radio station/color commentator) helped me hone my craft as a broadcaster.”
He’ll get an opportunity to call his first-ever ECHL Finals game this weekend. The magnitude of this chance is not lost on the former voice of the IceRays.
“This is why we do what we do,” he added. “It’s the ability to be a part of something that means so much and brings so much joy and buzz to a community. There is nothing more exciting.”
While Modugno has had an opportunity since to call deep playoff runs at various levels, the same cannot be said for the other broadcaster in the press box. Bogorad suffered through some lean years in Corpus Christi and this is his first crack at calling a championship series. He too came to the Coastal Bend straight after graduating from college.
Now in his first season as the Aces’ broadcaster, Bogorad replaced local celebrity Jack Michaels who was called up to the NHL by the Edmonton Oilers. Much like he did when he came to Corpus Christi, Bogorad jumped at the opportunity and immediately headed up to Anchorage just prior to the start of the exhibition season. Although he calls Anchorage home, he recognizes how special his time was broadcasting hockey in Corpus Christi.
“My favorite memory of Corpus can’t really be defined by one specific moment. I spent seven years there, and the day-to-day routine was such a privilege to be a part of,” said the California transplant. “I loved spending time with the people in the office, or the guys on the team. It was always a treat to visit with fans at the arena, or around town, and talk about the games. I enjoyed and miss all of that.”
He’s also enjoying the extended playoff run as the Aces’ steamrolled their way to the finals and are expecting a packed arena when the series kicks off on Saturday.
“Calling a playoff run like this has been an absolute blast. This is the time of year that everyone involved in hockey wants to be part of. It doesn’t matter if you’re a coach, a player, a fan, or a broadcaster,” said Bogorad. “You still want to be going to the rink, in hopes of winning a championship. The games are faster, harder-hitting, more important, and everything intensifies the deeper you get. So far these playoffs, it’s been a fun ride, and I imagine it will only get better. I can’t wait for the Finals.”
And when the Finals gets underway, it will be two guys, from two different parts of the country, who both took a leap and came to Corpus Christi to chase their dream, calling all the action to rabid fan bases separated by nearly 4,000 miles.
- For complete Kelly Cup Finals coverage, including how to listen to Josh and Mike, visit www.echl.com.