First Ever Blog

Hello Fellow Sports Fans!

My name is Jeff Sabo and this is my first ever edition of Sports With Sabo! Like many other people, I have been a huge sports fan my entire life! My favorite sports are hockey and baseball but I do follow college football, NFL, NBA and college basketball as well!

During my high school and college years, I covered local high school and college sports for Solon Educational Television, WOCC-TV and WOBN-FM (the Otterbein College campus radio and television stations). I did a lot of work as a play-by-play announcer for these outlets and this allowed me to see a different perspective of sports. In addition to learning more about the aspects of each sport I covered (I have covered everything from football to high school swimming), it provided me an opportunity to learn more about the athletes and get to know them as people. During my time at Otterbein, I not only called the games for Otterbein Women’s basketball and soccer but befriended many members of both teams. The players on both teams were always appreciative of me coming out to cover their games and I continue my friendships with these players to this day. I even did a couple of TV news stories on some of the players as well.

Being a big hockey fan, one of the biggest news stories that caught my attention recently was the recent resignation of Wayne Gretzky as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. As some of you may be aware, the Coyotes are currently in deep financial trouble and their ownership status will soon be determined by a bankruptcy court. According to many reports, “The Great One” stepped down because the potential future owners of the team informed him that he was “not in their plans” to build a winning franchise.

Gretzky is one of the best (and one of my favorite) NHL players of all time and it was sad that his coaching career could not equal the success he had as a player on the ice. I have never had the opportunity to meet Gretzky but everyone outlet I have read or reliable resource I have talked to has mentioned how passionate he is for the game of hockey. Gretzky has also been described by many others as being an incredible human being off the ice and a loving and caring family man. Based what I have read on “The Great One”, I could tell he really wanted to succeed in the NHL as a coach. It’s a shame that the current conditions of the Coyotes prevented this from happening.

Where could Gretzky go from here? Gretzky has been around the game for such a long time and in my opinion, would be a great candidate for a majority owner. That way, he can call the shots and hire in personnel that will bring him success on the ice and at the gate. Gretzky didn’t graduate high school until after he retired as an active player but has always had a great business sense. Something that has always stood out to me is the marketing plan he presented to then LA Kings owner Bruce McNall in the late 1980s wen he first joined the franchise. McNall’s initial plan was to tap into LA’s vast business community but Gretzky offered a different approach. He suggested reaching out to children within the community and building up youth hockey programs around Los Angeles. The theory behind his plan was that kids would then want to go to NHL games thus want to see Gretzky and the LA Kings. The idea worked and the Kings became an instant sensation at the gate and on the ice.

My hope is that Gretzky lands on his feet somewhere soon and gets that opportunity to be apart of a winning NHL franchise again. I hope he can take a similar approach that my hero (and favorite all-time) NHL player Mario Lemieux has taken as majority owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lemieux has been able to use his expertise to not only find the personnel to draft and build a successful team in this new NHL but also find the right coaches to develop the players. Gretzky has those tools as well and can be a success in the front office.

I know that’s quite a bit for my first post but that is what is on my mind. I am sure I will have a lot this weekend with high school, college and NFL football going on. I hope my Buckeyes and Brownies play well this weekend.

Until next time, see you soon!



~ by jeffrsabo on September 25, 2009.

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