On Monday, July 8 we announced that Joe Roberts would be the man behind the mic for the 2018-19 season. Get to know a little more about the Michigan native in this Q&A.
What is your favorite hockey memory of all time?
My favorite hockey memory is "The Brawl" on March 26, 1997 between the Red Wings and Avalanche. We knew the game would have bad blood, so we taped it. After the fact, my brother and I watched it over and over again. It got to a point where we memorized the entire call and recreated the broadcast. The most amazing part was that it was a line brawl started by Igor Larionov and Peter Forsberg. Who would've thought?
Do you play hockey yourself?
I've been playing hockey my entire life. I was never good enough to play competitively beyond high school, but I still consider myself a steady beer-league defenseman who officially needs a new team!
Who has been the greatest mentor in your career?
Of my many mentors I've had, I would say Robin Hook (the voice of Western Michigan University) would be my biggest. He gave me my first experience with commercial radio play-by-play by having me call WMU's women's basketball team. Those reps (and getting a small taste of what it's like to travel) were so instrumental in my development as a broadcaster.
Tell us more about your dog, Otis.
Otis is our four-year-old mastiff mix who has the biggest personality in the house. He's a klutzy goofball who takes up too much space on the couches and bed, but he's the best four-legged buddy anyone could ask for.
What are you looking forward to most about coming to Utica?
I'm most looking forward to building relationships with the people in the community. I can't wait to lay down roots with my wife in a new city and embark on the next chapter with such an incredible franchise. Also, the reputation for home games at the AUD precedes itself and it's an environment that I'm extremely excited to be a part of.
Utica can be known for its great food, have you tried anything yet?
I've only been lucky enough to try 72 Tavern & Grill (not a plug, it's true!) and I got to enjoy cable bacon, trash can nachos, and injectable donut holes. If that's indicative of what to expect, then I can't wait!
Settle a debate for us – Is pineapple on pizza acceptable and is a hot dog a sandwich?
Pineapple absolutely, 100% belongs on pizza. Sweet and salty is the best flavor combo out there. It should be mentioned as one of the best toppings of all. The classic hot dog/sandwich debate is a long-spanning one in which I have recently picked my side. I wouldn't classify it as a sandwich, but rather as its own entity. It's like asking if chili is a soup.
Is there a player from Kalamazoo you are looking forward to spending time in Utica with?
I really hope Brendan Bradley can stick in Utica this season. He is incredibly talented and has a motor that has no quit whatsoever. On top of that, he's a great young man who is active in the community and enjoys every second of being a professional hockey player. He has tremendous potential and can quickly become a fan favorite.
What has it been like for you since the team announced you as the new broadcaster?
The response to the announcement was, and still is, absolutely overwhelming. The passion in the community around this hockey team is completely unmatched. It was great to have colleagues from every step of my career reach out and send their well wishes, as well. The entire process has been a very humbling experience.