Matt Molloy is more invested in his local senior hockey team than most.
Molloy covers the Gander Flyers for the Gander Beacon newspaper, serves as the team’s public relations director and most recently developed a television program highlighting the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League team’s exploits.
Flyers All Access airs at 8 p.m., Thursday nights on Rogers Television in the Gander area.
“The show will let fans know what’s happening on and off the ice,” says Molloy. “We’ll keep them updated on new players, what players are leaving and what the (team) volunteers are up to.
“Each week we’ll have highlight packages of recent games, post the latest stats and standings, have interviews from the games and a longer in-studio interview with a player or member of management.”
Molloy could very well be the only sports reporter around who handles public relations for the team he covers and admits it’s a delicate situation.
“It’s unusual,” said Molloy, of juggling the roles. “But I told the team up front that I am a reporter first and foremost and if some controversial issue comes up I’m going to report on it.”
Molloy figures Rogers will air between 10 and 15 episodes of Gander Flyers All Access during the NSHL season.
Terry Ryan, of the Conception Bay North CeeBees, has gleaned stories from his controversial hockey career, including a stint with the Montreal Canadiens, into a new book entitled Tales of a First-Round Nothing – a take on the famous Judy Blume book Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing.
Ryan says his autobiography, to be published by Toronto-based ECW Press, will hit bookshelves in the fall of 2013 and includes every “important part of my life and has a story to go with it.”
The 35-year-old Memorial University student is known in media circles for his ability to spin a yarn and ‘give a good quote’ but I was pleasantly surprised by his writing ability when he shared a rough-draft with me.
The journeyman grinder says his publisher considered hiring noted hockey author Al Strachan to pen Ryan’s life-story but he was deemed too expensive. That Ryan is writing the book himself, with only the assistance of an editor, makes this project even more impressive.
“Hockey is a metaphor for life,” says Ryan, who was selected 8th overall by the Canadiens in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. “I’m a better, more well-rounded person because of my life in hockey. People have always told me I should put my stories down on paper. Now I’ve finally done it.”
It’s Pardy time in Clarenville.
Native son Jon Pardy was selected by the Clarenville Caribous in the recent NSHL draft and will play for hometown fans for the first time since he was a Grade 11 student in 2006-07.
“It’s going to be exciting playing in front of family and friends,” says the six-foot-four, 235 pounder. “A lot of them haven’t seen me play in years.
“As far as I’m concerned Clarenville is the best place to play in the league and has the best fans.”
Pardy was a noted pugilist in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League as an Amherst Rambler but says with the strict fighting rules in the NSHL he will have to pick his spots very carefully.
“The fighting will probably be put on the backburner but I’ll always be there pick up for my teammates,” says Pardy.
The rugged defenceman-forward recently gave up on aspirations to play pro hockey after separating his left shoulder during exhibition action with the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Pro Hockey League. The 22-year-old was coming off a pair of shoulder surgeries on his right shoulder and finally decided enough was enough.
“It was always a dream of mine to play pro hockey,” says Pardy.
“But now my focus is on studying business at MUN (in the new year) and playing senior hockey which has a reduced schedule and will allow for more recovery time.”
Count forward Brandon Street among the Caribous happy to have Pardy in Clarenville’s line-up. Street played with Pardy in minor hockey, the QMHL and with Amhrest and says “he’ll fit in great.”
“He’s a physical guy and right now we’re a more offensive-minded team and we’re happy to be adding a more physical presence to the line-up,” says Street.
NSHL president Neil Norcott says the league is quite pleased with the off-ice success of the expansion Gander Flyers and says the league would look favorably at further expansion.
“We hope to have Mount Pearl back in the league next year and if somewhere like Stephenville, for instance, were interested we would entertain any requests to join the league.”
Norcott admits he didn’t expect Gander to compete for the Herder this year but says, “As a league we would like them to get a win soon so the fans continue to support them the way they have.”
Dave Salter has nearly 25 years experience as sports writer for publications such as The Telegram and Halifax Daily News. He is currently a reporter for Rogers Television’s St. John’s IceCaps broadcasts, a freelancer for publications such as The Hockey News and is a part-time scout for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.