Over the years the players may have changed, the coaches may have changed, and the fans may have changed, but the sounds coming from the booth during the Golden Rockets games have been consistent for the past decade.
“We did four or five years at first of just audio,” said Tom Stanton, one half of the celebrated broadcasting duo of Gino (Palumbo) and Tom.
The pair spends the games leaning out of the windows of the Rockets’ office, overlooking the ice in the Golden Arena.
“I remember our first game. We had a little CD changer Colleen (Gino Palumbo’s wife) had bought at RadioShack, because we thought we needed some music for the intermission,” said Palumbo. “But I don’t remember who the game was against.”
“We’ve had been involved with the Rockets before that too, I’m not sure exactly how we fell into this…But we knew right off the bat that we were having so much fun. We had fun with the players on the ice, and bringing the game to family and friends of the players on both teams,” said Stanton. “We’ve gotten lots of feedback. even in the old days we would get emails and phone calls from parents and family and friends. And that’s why we do it, for the family and friends.”
It may have been a nerve racking experience at first, especially with the older technology when they didn’t even know if the signal got out. And no one was manning the computer.
“It was stressful I think for the first year, just working all the bugs out,” said Palumbo.
The process may be more comfortable now, but the pair says they still need to do their homework before every game to make sure they’re prepared.
“Oh I always have to prepare,” said Palumbo. “If Fernie was to come back tomorrow I’d still have to do more homework. I’m convinced that Tom does not prepare for anything. You can ask him anything about hockey and he’ll know… he knows the ins and the outs, has played in the league, and knows everybody.”
The modest Stanton wouldn’t go into detail, but Palumbo insists he could have played in the NHL.
“He played with Danny Gare (former NHL player with Buffalo, Detroit and Edmonton), that’s pretty impressive in my books,” said Palumbo.
With live games, it is difficult for any broadcaster to keep the airwaves filled no matter what is happening on the ice.
“A lot of times you get caught off guard by what happens on the ice. And we don’t have the technology they have in the big leagues,” said Palumbo. “Last year, for example, we had a puck go through the boards, so it took the rink officials about half an hour. But we didn’t have half an hour of material… so we do have moments.”
Stanton and Palumbo have seen their fair share of hockey teams role through Golden, and they are not shy about their thoughts on this year’s lineup.
“I think we’re slow getting out of the gate. And I think we’re probably lacking a bit of chemistry… but I know that we can’t find a better man to steer this rocket ship than Ty Davidson. I’m certain of that,” said Palumbo. “There were a few games at the first part of the season that went into overtime, or down to the wire in the third, and we were winning those battles. Now we kind of went away from that a bit. But it’s coming around, and with Ty at the helm, I don’t worry.”
The team has less than 20 games left in the season before playoffs start.
“There’s not one player in the dressing room that doesn’t want to get into the playoffs, and doesn’t want to get past the first round of the playoffs,” said Stanton.
Stanton and Palumbo have had the privilege of watching many talented young hockey players come through this town, but the pair like to give an extra nod to the ones who began their hockey careers here in Golden.
“You take a character like Keith Wake, who grew up in our minor league system, went all the way through here in Golden. He did everything here, and he’s giving it his all. So Keith Wake gets my nod automatically,” said Palumbo.
“All the players bring something unique to the table, and you just have to fit them together, and hopefully make a championship team,” said Stanton.