While the New Jersey Devils offseason for their roster may be done with Zetterlund being signed, another gap related to the Devils appears to have been filled. Steve Cangialosi stepped down from play by play duties for the Devils back in May. Earlier this evening, Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com - a beat writer you need to follow if you are a Devils fan - reported from his sources claiming that MSG Network has hired Cangialosi’s replacement: Bill Spaulding.
8/11 Update: The Devils announced this afternoon on this website that Spaulding is indeed the new play by play announcer. It’s official now.
Spaulding apparently won the job from a search that went through multiple candidates. Novozinsky confirmed that Ken Daneyko was involved for weeks to trial with those under consideration. This is a sign to me that Daneyko is likely going to remain as the color commentator as MSG Network wanted to know that whoever they would hire would work well with Daneyko. The job of a play by play announcer is more than just calling the action; it involves working in tandem with the color commentators and others on the broadcast to present a more entertaining experience for the viewer. It makes sense to do so. Clearly, Spaulding seemingly meshed well enough for Daneyko to the eyes and ears of the decision-makers at MSG.
Novozinsky’s report notes that Spaulding is quite experienced, noting he has worked for NBC for the Olympics and college hockey, and ESPN for college football, basketball, and baseball. Per Spaulding’s own Twitter account, he has focused recently on track and field events as well as the Special Olympics, collegiate swimming and baseball, and the Paralympics. His own Youtube account includes plenty of demos and sample reels for many sports, demonstrating his versatility. You want ski jumping? Here’s Spaulding calling ski jumping:
Too cold for you? Let’s heat it up with some fencing:
Too pointy for you? How about something with an oblong shape sometimes called a ‘pigskin?’ Here is Spaulding with the majesty of college football:
And, most relevant to our interests, here is Spaulding calling (college) hockey:
Some of those reels are a few years old, some are as recent as last month, but it is clear this is a broadcaster who has put in the work for a decade plus. With any clip, you can immediately tell he has a strong voice that can quickly rise for big saves, shots, and goals. He can absolutely keep up with the tempo of the game. Given the variety of Olympic and college sports he has done, he should be able to perform well regardless of the quality of the game. I do not know about you, but I can absolutely listen to Spaulding for an 82-game season. MSG could have picked someone far worse to be the new voice of the Devils’ broadcasts.
I do not know who exactly Spaulding was up against in MSG Network’s process. Clearly, there was a lot of interest. I would think several broadcasters would absolutely be interested in working with MSG Network, the local sports broadcaster in the country’s largest media market. All I know is that the play by play announcer for Utica, Jason Shaya, did not get an interview per Ben Birnell of the Rome Sentinal. Perhaps a bit harsh, but it is MSG Network’s call. The Devils, I think, can provide their input but the interview process and the hiring is all up to MSG.
I should stress that MSG Network has yet to announce that Spaulding is the play by play announcer. They would not comment to Novozinsky to confirm or deny the report. However, I will trust the beat writer’s source that this should come to fruition barring any late development. (8/11 Update: Again, it is now official: Spaulding will be the next “voice of the Devils.”) Now the only non-team-roster-but-Devils-related gap is the PA Announcer position at the Rock. That will be decided by the Devils and, thankfully, not through a fan vote. Presuming Now that Spaulding is indeed the next play by play announcer for the Devils on TV, what do you think of this report? Are you pleased that Spaulding will be the one to follow Cangialosi? What do you think of his calls in college and Olympic/Olympic sports work? Can you imagine hearing him for a full season? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this development in the comments. Thank you for reading.