NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Willie Daunic and Chris Mason have called Nashville Predators games together for the past three years from inside every building in the NHL.
Right now, like so many of us, they’re forced to work remotely, only they're doing it from nearly 2200 miles away.
The near 20-person broadcast team all inside Bridgestone Arena as the Preds are on the ice in Edmonton. But that's how it goes for the local crews during this pandemic.
“I think the league says, we're relying on this. No fans can get into the building so the broadcasts will be more important than they've ever been,” Daunic said.
Daunic and Mason explained to News 4 how it works. They are separated by plexi-glass inside a locker room in Bridgestone. The NHL provides all the video from different camera angles in the Edmonton arena. It’s up to Daunic and Mason to watch the feeds and call the games as they see it on t-v screens.
“One of them shows you the entire ice surface all the time including the scoreboard. And one looks like what you’re seeing on your television screen. So, we've been able to make it work,” Daunic said.
“My part is usually after the fact, so I get to watch the replay of what I’ve already seen, which makes it a lot easier,” Mason said.
Another big adjustment for the crew is one that the players also said takes some getting used to no fans in the stands.
“That's something you gotta make sure you compensate for emotionally,” Daunic added.
Daunic and Mason said you can't replace the emotional role the Smashville crowd plays on a game.
“I get excited for the games anyway. When we score a goal, I usually hit him in the ribs. But, now with the plexiglass I can't do that,” Mason said.
“I can't deny or confirm I put the glass there for that reason. But now he comes up with bruised knuckles if he tries to do that,” Daunic joked.
The NHL had added twists of pumping in songs and chants from teams' fans during the games. So, there is that element. But, for the crew, they're doing their best to make it look as normal as possible.
“It's a new challenge and I think our crew has done an amazing job of adapting to this new world,” Mason said.
“You feel a lot of responsibility to do it right and that's what's motivated us, and I think it's gone pretty well,” Daunic added.
Mason said he and Daunic called a couple of the virtual games the Preds streamed online over the summer as part of their preparation for this tournament. Their next broadcast is Tuesday with game two of the Predators/Coyotes series.