Edmonton Radio Sports Talker Thrilled with Play-by-Play Assignment in Europe

TSN 1260 radio host Dustin Nielson calls a game at the 2018 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. SUPPLIED

Dustin Nielson has his own successful radio morning show on TSN 1260, but in his heart of hearts he’s a hockey play-by-play man who was asked out-of-the-blue in late November if he might want to call the Spengler Cup tournament in Switzerland.

A little better than seeing an Xbox One under the Christmas tree.

Paul Graham, the executive producer for Live Events at TSN, had seen Nielson doing wall-to-wall basketball play-by-play of the women’s FIBA tournament here a few years back and some sideline work on CFL games. He also knew Nielson has been the voice of the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey games for nine years, after work in the AJHL with Fort McMurray and Sherwood ParkCrusaders.

But this was a national TV gig in Davos, the city of 17,000 where former Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has a house. Like being called up from the minors.

“I was shocked when the offer came,” said Nielson, who did have a history with Graham but never dreamed of the Spengler. “They needed somebody to do the FIBA a few years ago, four games a day. That’s how I knew Paul and every six months I’d fire off some Golden Bears hockey and football (play-by-play) to Paul and he said he’d check it out. I told him if he ever needed somebody to call anything, anywhere I’d do it. He emailed me and said he had an opportunity for me and called and said, ‘How would you like to do the Spengler Cup?”

Nielson didn’t quite look the same on TV, but he sounded the same. Excellent call with his colour commentator Doug Honegger, who was a high-powered player agent working with Pat Brisson for nine years in Europe and is associated with Graham on the Spengler, but also played junior with Luc Robitaille and then went over to Switzerland as a teenage defenceman playing for them in the worlds and Olympics.

Nielson dove into the project, scanning rosters.

“It was a little challenging with some of the names because the teams didn’t have to finalize their rosters until the morning of the first game,” said Nielson, who also had to work on pronunciations of players he wasn’t familiar with, outside of Canada with the other five teams — KalPa Kuopio (Finland), HC Trinec (Czech), Magnitogorsk (Russia), Nuremburg Ice Tigers (Germany) and host Davos in the six-team event that started Boxing Day.



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