By Dan Walton
After a 25-year break, a Rockies broadcasting duo that reigned at one point during the teams decades-old dynasty has been reborn, but their medium has evolved and one role will be filled by a family descendant of the original pair.
For those watching the KIJHL online, Barry Brown-John and Jean-Paul Askey will be calling the play-by-play over a live video feed of every Rockies home game this season.
For four or five years in the 1980s, Barry along with Jean-Pauls father, Gordon, were the radio broadcasters for the Columbia Valley during the teams heyday, as general manager Ross Bidinger described. The Rockies have won three titles since joining the KIJHL in 1978 all of which came in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Barry and Gordon broadcasted up until the end of 1989.
Barry was around when Columbia Valley had their glory days, said Jean-Paul, adding that the team was coached by Tom Renney, who later served as the head coach for four NHL teams.
Jean-Paul remembers listening to Barry and his father broadcasting together, and said that Trail and Nelson were the Rockies biggest rivals at the time.
There was a much different setup back then, said Jean-Paul, who was introduced to Barry his late fathers co-worker at just four years old.
(Jean-Paul)s enthusiastic; we work well bouncing off one another, Barry said. Gordon was maybe a little more cynical than Jean-Paul, but theyve both got a good sense of humour.
Having broadcasted with both father and son, Barry said he shares a similar chemistry with Jean-Paul as he did with Gordon. And having been away from the microphone for 25 seasons, Jean-Paul helps Barry to fill the technological gap.
Barry recalled producing his radio broadcasts live in the 1980swhen there was little co-ordination between the play-by-play and commercial content.
We didnt have much for technology, he said. We had to use a stop watch to time when the commercial was over. It was rudimentary, but it worked.
Whether you listened to them in the 1980s, or if youve just begun following the Rockies, Barry admits to some bias.
Were homers, no bones about it were cheering for the Rockies, he said. Some say were harder on the players than the parents want us to be.
As a young professional in the 1980s, Barry boosted his real estate career in the valley by volunteering as the Rockies broadcaster. After a break from both local real estate and hockey broadcasting, Barry is back continuing to offer both services.
To watch the Rockies when theyre on the road, or to avoid missing a game when youre out of town, visit www.KIJHL.com. The right-hand column on the homepage displays the schedule of the days games, as well as the scores of the matchups in progress. Directly below is the link to webcasts, labelled as such.
Single game subscription costs $8, a five-game package can be bought for $35 ($7 per game), or a 25-game pass can be purchased for $162.50 ($6.50 per game). Weekly newspaper coverage is in the Invermere Valley Echo, available online or home delivery with a paid subscription ($29.40 for six months for locals), or at newspaper stands throughout the valley for just $1.25 per issue.