Updated: Jan 23
Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out my first blog post here on my site 'Across The Pond'! This is just an introductory post, so I'll introduce you a bit to myself, why I support the Giants, what I'll be writing on here and talk a bit about the name of the blog.
I'll start out by introducing you to, well, me. My name is Stuart Walter and I'm a news and sports reporter at 89.5 The Lake in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. It's a small city in northwestern Ontario on beautiful Lake of the Woods (Google some pictures of the lake and Kenora in the summer. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Go on, do it! This post will be here when you get back.) Kenora is about an hour and a half west of Dryden, the hometown of Kevin Raine! I live here with my wife Rebecca and our son, Finlay. I've been passionate about hockey forever - I've been a fan my whole life, I've been broadcasting the game for seven years, and I've been paid to report on it for the past five years. My favourite NHL team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I usually live at my local rink during the winter months covering all levels of hockey from peewee to junior 'A'.
Okay, now on to why I support the Giants.
Since I moved to Kenora in April of 2019 I've been trying to increase the sports presence of the radio station. One way I've been doing that is by reporting on former members of the Kenora Thistles, a U-18 hockey club that I currently volunteer for. One of those former Thistles is Kevin Raine. That was the first connection. Second connection for me was the fact that Adam Keefe is the head coach. His brother is not only the coach of my favourite team, but Sheldon got his start with the CCHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings - I started broadcasting hockey for that league the year he left the team to move to Major Junior. Those two connections alone blew me away. Then I found out that I have a connection to assistant coach Rob Stewart. And then on top of that my son's name is Finn. I mean, how can I not cheer for the Giants? (Then of course there's been the overwhelming response from other fans on Twitter which has been amazing).
I've called the blog 'Across The Pond' quite simply because I'm writing about the team from, well, across the pond....in Canada. I've wanted for a long time to visit Northern Ireland (I have family from there back a few generations and it's the football team I support internationally) and I'd love nothing more than to be able to be at the rink every home game, but it's just not possible right now.
The last bit I wanted to talk to you about in this first post is what you can expect from me as far as content. To put it simply, I'm going to watch the games (or the highlights/box scores/ recaps) and give my honest take on what's happened. That's my main focus out of the gate until I'm more familiar with the team. I have to write very formally for work, so with my blog I want to be more informal like I am now. I'll let you know now I will not always have kind things to say about the team - if it looks like they're playing like crap I'll point that out. That being said, I always like to find the silver lining and positives to take away. I know there's nothing more depressing and disheartening than reading nothing but negativity after a loss or run of bad play. Eventually I plan on putting together videos of me talking about the team and trying to get some interviews with staff/coaches/players, but it'll just be blog posts for now to start out. I might also talk about other things I discover, or how I've made Kevin Raine the CHL's leading point scorer as the Giants go undefeated on my Playstation in NHL 20.
I appreciate you reading all of that. I know I can go on forever but I mean it is my blog so I can do that if I want to.
I'm watching my first-ever Belfast Giants game on Saturday when they host the Glasgow Clan and I couldn't be more excited. Well, I mean I'd be more excited if I was there in person but oh well. And I'd also be more excited if I had some merch on the way from the online store, but I'm not going to pay £20 in shipping for a £20 cap and £3 sheet of stickers so I'll have to wait until I add I jersey or hoodie I guess to make the order worth the shipping.
I hope you've at least somewhat enjoyed reading, and please feel free to get in touch through the contact form on here or through Twitter (@Stuart_Walter)!