A Kelowna man's voice has become ubiquitous for hockey fans in Buffalo N.Y., without ever stepping foot in the city.
Ralph Hass has been doing voiceover work for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres for 14 years.
He got the job after a successful audition in 2006. Hass called some of his first years with the Sabres “tremendous seasons” for the club, based on their success both in the regular and post season.
“In the early days, it was a lot of fun. We did openings on the MSG broadcast, and it was sort of this upbeat monster truck type of reads, and we had something unique every game. I still have my voice heard of Sabres broadcasts for things like sponsor reads in the intermission and post-game show, and I really enjoy doing it,” said Hass.
His favourite moment with the Sabres came recently, when the team celebrated its 50th season.
"We did a series of just over 30 features on some of the greatest Sabres over the years. So I got to narrate some of those pieces and that was a lot of fun. Doing voiceovers for playoff games are always special too. This job has really shown me how involved the players, both past and present, are involved in their community," said Hass.
Hass got himself into the radio business out of high school after attending SAIT in Calgary. Afterwards he worked with Rick Ball, now of Sportsnet, at the Lakeshore radio station in Kelowna during the late 80’s and early 90’s. He later worked at Warner Music Canada as a promotional sales rep and in career education software.
“All of those life experiences came into play when I had to look for something else to do back in 2005. So I just combined my skills, natural gift of a voice and marketing experience, and it was the perfect time to get into the business,” he said.
Hass works from a home studio in Kelowna and has never actually been to Buffalo. He said his job with the Sabres has opened other doors of opportunity with various sports teams. He's worked for the WHL on Shaw and the NFL's Buffalo Bills from 2008 to 2011.
"You never know what can happen until you knock on those doors, but it's amazing what can happen,” Hass said.
He says technology has been a huge help in his job and compared the gig to working in radio.
“Sort of like in radio, you’re sorta locked away in a padded room so to speak, and voiceover work is the same. You don't have to go to the studios like in the old days and read a commercial, and it's because technology is so amazing, it makes the tasks pretty straightforward.”
Hass is best described as someone who's living out a dream, and he hopes to continue being one of the voices of Sabres hockey. To check out some of his work on YouTube, click here.