Vancouver Giants play-by-play broadcaster Dan O’Connor (left) and former Surrey Eagles head coach Mark Holick (right) have started a new sports podcast, The Voice & The Coach. The pair are longtime friends and former colleagues with the Prince George Cougars. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Vancouver Giants play-by-play broadcaster Dan O’Connor (left) and former Surrey Eagles head coach Mark Holick (right) have started a new sports podcast, The Voice & The Coach. The pair are longtime friends and former colleagues with the Prince George Cougars. (Nick Greenizan photo)

New B.C.-based podcast a ‘creative outlet’ for longtime junior-hockey broadcaster, coach

South Surrey residents Dan O’Connor and Mark Holick team up for The Voice & the Coach

Last summer, Dan O’Connor and Mark Holick were having a beer together when the subject of podcasts came up.

Holick – a longtime hockey coach and former bench boss of the Surrey Eagles – suggested that one day the two South Surrey residents and longtime friends should start one. At the time, it was nothing more than a passing thought – a way that the pair could one day share years of entertaining hockey stories with a wider audience.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and suddenly Holick, now a coach with Abbotsford’s Yale Hockey Academy, and O’Connor, just finished his third season behind the mic as the play-by-play broadcaster with the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, found themselves at home with a lot of extra time on their hands.

Suddenly, The Voice & the Coach was born.

“COVID hit, and that’s when I decided this podcast was going to happen, and I remembered our conversation (from the year before), so I called Mark and asked him, is this something we want to do?” O’Connor explained.

“We agreed right away, very enthusiastically, ‘OK, let’s do this.’ And here we are a month later, and we’ve recorded eight episodes.’”

• READ ALSO: Former Surrey Eagles reflect on 20-year anniversary of Royal Bank Cup title

• READ ALSO: Meet the man behind the Vancouver Giants mike

O’Connor said the aim of the show is to talk about sports and life, while also giving listeners a “peek behind the curtain,” at what life is like working in hockey. The first episode’s guest was longtime NHLer Scott Gomez, whom Holick coached in Surrey. Other guests on the show have included longtime coach and player Rick Lanz – also a former Eagles’ coach – TSN broadcaster Rod Pederson and Dan Shulman, a longtime Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster who is one of the top baseball play-by-play talents in the business.

“Dan Shulman has been a broadcasting hero of mine ever since I started watching baseball at eight or nine years old,” O’Connor said.

“So sitting in this very spot, connecting with Dan Shulman, was definitely one of those ‘wow’ moments for me.”

While O’Connor credits his co-host for planting the podcast seeds at that 2019 meeting, Holick said he’d still be thinking about it, if not for O’Connor’s enthusiasm and drive.

“I’m the kind of guy where I’ll like an idea, and then I’ll think about it, and I’ll get to it (eventually) – I’m more of a planner. But all of a sudden, Dan’s at my doorstep with the microphone and the gear, so I was like, ‘I guess we’re doing this.’ So I had no choice,’ he laughed.

The pair have an easy rapport – both on the podcast and in person – that comes from years of friendship as well as two-and-a-half years of working together with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, where Holick was the head coach and O’Connor was the play-by-play broadcaster, among other responsibilities.

“We spent a lot of time together, when you travel as much as the Cougars did – the shortest road trip is six hours, and after that it’s 10, 12, sometimes 15 (hours),” said Holick, who was an assistant coach with the Surrey Eagles in 1996-97 before spending the next three seasons as head coach.

“And Dan was almost part of our inner circle on the coaching staff, because he was also in charge of our hotels and meals on the road, so we spoke frequently, co-ordinating itineraries, that sort of thing.”

Eventually, Holick moved on to other opportunities as far afield as Italy, before returning to the Lower Mainland, while O’Connor stayed in Prince George a little longer before joining the Giants organization.

The podcast is a way for the two to stay connected, while also giving them the opportunity to talk shop with others from across the sports landscape.

“I’d like to think it’s been a really cool, creative outlet for each of us,” O’Connor said.

Holick credits O’Connor for doing all the behind-the-scenes work to get each week’s recording polished and published to the internet – The Voice & the Coach is available on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast players – insisting that, “I just show up and tell a few stories.”

However, over the course of the last month, O’Connor has been impressed with his friend’s seamless adjustment from someone usually tasked with being asked questions, to someone doing the asking.

“Mark’s a natural,” O’Connor said.

“I always knew that – I’ve interviewed him hundreds of times (in Prince George)… But for Mark, this is out of his comfort zone. So it’s been cool for me, not just as a co-host but as a friend, to see him doing such a good job.

“He has a relatability to a coach or an athlete that I do not have. Someone like Scott Gomez, if he was to come on the Dan O’Connor Podcast, there’s no way he’s going to open up to the degree that he did on our show, because Mark is here and because of the trust they have together.

“It’s been a good balancing act.”

Though the podcast started under COVID-19 restrictions, both hosts are confident they’ll still find time to record each week once life returns to some semblance of normalcy and schedules get busier.

As the project moves forward, O’Connor acknowledged that he’ll draw a certain degree of satisfaction from knowing that they will have one day recorded a treasure trove of great interviews that will live for as long as episodes exist online.

“I’d like to get to a point – maybe episode 100 – where you you can look back and say, ‘Wow, look at all these stories we were able to tell.’”



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

hockeyVancouver GiantsWHL

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read