I’ve said many times before in this space that I love storytelling.
And I think some of the best stories out there are how people get to be where they are within the world of hockey. Whether it’s Ducks super fans The Tennis Balls or Honda Center national anthem singer Dawn Wright, I always find it so interesting how the love for hockey can lead fans down a very unexpected path. And sometimes, it’s the passionate love for this great game that can make dreams come true.
Such is the case for Josh Brewster.
The host of the radio show, “Duck Calls”, which can be heard on AM 830 following all Anaheim Ducks road games (including during the playoffs), Brewster is in his seventh season with the popular call-in show.
The format of the show includes recap and discussion of that night’s Ducks game, the chance for fans to call in and share their thoughts, and interviews with guests from all over the hockey world. Some of the names that Brewster has hosted on his show over the years include former Duck and current Ducks assistant coach Scott Niedermayer, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, NHL broadcast analyst Pierre McGuire, hockey broadcaster and author Stan Fishler, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Dennis Bernstein from The Fourth Period, and former NHL goaltender Bernie Parent.
Although a career in broadcasting in the NHL has been a dream of Brewster’s for some time, he didn’t envision his path to get there would be in Southern California.
Growing up in New York meant that hockey was an integral part of Brewster’s life. A devoted Buffalo Sabres fan, he and his family spent their Saturday nights watching Canadian broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada.
At a young age, he had the experience of a lifetime that helped to formulate what he wanted to do with his life.
“It was 1982 when I got my first interview with a hockey player for my high school paper,” said Brewster. “It was with Wayne Gretzky. He was in Buffalo, the day before he passed Phil Esposito’s record for goals in a season. I was 15, he was 21.
“After the media interviews were finished, Wayne tapped me on the shoulder and asked me how to get out of the Sabres practice facility (in Wheatfield, NY). I escorted him to the exit as he was being mobbed by fans.”
When life led him to SoCal in 1998, his association with hockey did not come to a halt. It was here, in the land of sun, sand and surf, where Brewster would be able to continue to chase his dreams of being an NHL broadcaster.
He began following the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and in 2000, Brewster started producing what he believes is the first known internet hockey show, the Western Hockey Radio Show. He did that for three years, and then in 2004, set up the website hockeytalk.biz where he produced a very successful series of shows called Hockeytalk Audio Features, which featured interviews with those in the hockey world.
It was 2006 when he got a phone call from current Anaheim Ducks Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Aaron Teats, whose role includes overseeing all of the Ducks broadcasting. The team was starting a new post-game radio show and he asked Brewster to host. This was an absolute dream come true for the kid from Buffalo.
The timing of the hire was also perfect, as Brewster was able to be along for the ride in 2007, as the Ducks became the first NHL team in California to win the Stanley Cup.
Brewster loves the game and loves what he does. Diligent in his preparation for each show, he usually spends three hours pouring over stacks of information because as he says, “You can never be too prepared.”
The interaction with fans over the years has been some of the most rewarding parts of the experience for Brewster. With “regular” callers such as “Stan from Tarzana” and “Gina from Alta Dena”, he is grateful for the many Ducks fans who listen and call into the show.
One of his favorite listeners is Gaby Martinez, whom he met when she was just 12 years old. A budding writer, Brewster worked with her over several years, giving her writing assignments. The 19-year-old is now on a full scholarship at California State University, Fullerton, in the broadcast department.
Brewster still has dreams of becoming a full time NHL broadcaster, but is thankful for the digital age, the Anaheim Ducks and the opportunities his love for hockey has brought his way.
Be sure to catch Josh Brewster on Duck Calls tonight on AM 830 after Game 4 of the Anaheim Ducks/Detroit Red Wings NHL Western Conference Quarter-Final series. His guest tonight will be Senior Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings, Jimmy Devellano. And stop by his website, hockeytalk.biz.
And check out a more in-depth profile of Brewster’s career in the book, “Living the Hockey Dream” by Brian Kennedy.