Introducing Tara Slone | NHL.com

Introducing Tara Slone | NHL.com

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tara Slone and I’m Canadian. I was born in Canada, raised in Canada and have never lived anywhere else…until now. But I’ll get there.

Some of the stereotypes you see on TV about Canadians are downright ridiculous; we don’t all say “aboot” instead of “about,” our diets consist of more than maple syrup and poutine, and we don’t all live in houses made of ice. Canada is vast, colorful and diverse, and our accents and eating habits reflect that. But some of what you hear about Canadians is true. Our one dollar coin is indeed called a “loonie,” most of us own some variation of a plaid flannel shirt, and… we love hockey.

All my life, I participated in the uniquely Canadian ritual of parking myself in front of a TV on Saturday nights to catch the marquee game of Hockey Night in Canada. It was where my father’s love of hockey was passed on to me and, as a bonus, it was also the only time he was allowed to swear in my house. What was not to love?! I was a fan forever.

As much as it was part of the fabric of my life, it never occurred to me that hockey could lead to a career of any kind. Growing up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, I certainly didn’t see any girls or women wearing hockey skates (yes, that was a long time ago), and those Saturday night games had no women or reporters. I didn’t see myself reflected anywhere in the world.

In some ways, my early career couldn’t seem further from the realm of sports. I was the lead singer of a rock band, a contestant on a reality music show, an actor, and when I made the jump to broadcasting, it was initially in entertainment and lifestyle. But I never stopped being a superfan. One of the greatest thrills of my life was singing the national anthem at a Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs game. For those who remember the occasion, it was 2002 when Habs captain Saku Koivu was on the verge of a comeback from cancer treatment. He was by my side as I somehow inexplicably mustered up the courage to sing O Canada in front of the crowd at the Bell Centre, in front of my family in the press box and in front of the few million Canadians watching . saturday night As a singer and hockey fan, this was the ultimate feather in my cap.

I won’t take you down the long, winding road that led me to hockey (which is why Google was invented!), except to tell you that after I started broadcasting, I was very intentional about targeting the my career in this direction. In 2014, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to embark on what would be an 8-year journey as the co-host of a new weekly NHL broadcast called Rogers Hometown Hockey. All I knew when I heard about the show was that it would travel across the country telling local hockey stories and that it would be hosted by legendary Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean. That was more than enough to convince me that this was the right next step for me.

Little did I know at the time how much hometown hockey would shape not only my love for the game, but ignite a deep care for the game and the people around it. For those who never saw it, the show traveled to about 25 communities during the hockey season. Our mobile studio and broadcast team traveled every weekend, and we looked for the stories that best represented the city or town we were in. We wove these stories into our pregame and intermission of our NHL matchup, and interviewed local notables. NHL Alumni and Team Canada Players. We were all about the basics of the game and our hometown heroes. We met the people who were the heartbeat of hockey. It was a really lovely show.

During my travels, I saw hockey at its best, but I also saw some of the inequities of the game’s culture. We have never shied away from telling difficult stories, because only by illuminating the darker side of things can we hope to achieve change. But what really stood out to me is what a great equalizer hockey can be. In its most important moments, hockey unites communities. It can be a refuge, a place to be ourselves and a place to learn, grow, defend, heal and flourish. It was through this 8-year exploration that I found a passion for telling the most inclusive stories possible and making sure everyone feels seen, cared for, and represented at every level of this amazing game. I will forever be grateful for the privilege of being welcomed across Canada at every stop we make.

City hockey ended in June 2022 and personal circumstances drew me to California. Like I said, I’ve never lived outside of Canada. Sure, I’ve traveled a lot and toured the U.S. many times in my rock and roll days, but I’ve never put down my roots south of the 49th parallel. So it’s been a little daunting trying to navigate a place that uses inches instead of miles, doesn’t have socialized medicine, and I can’t find the familiar glow of a Tim Horton’s on every (or any) corner. But what the Bay Area has is hockey, and hockey feels like home to me, wherever I am.

I’m excited to let everyone know that the next chapter of my journey will be with the San Jose Sharks, where I’ll be providing features and a podcast, and doing whatever else the team wants me to do, like a Swiss Army. Knife of content contributors. This team is VERY exciting to me for so many reasons. Despite the palm trees and relentless sun, San Jose is an incredible hockey market with a fiercely loyal fan base and a legacy of incredible success. The organization is committed to growing the game, and puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to making hockey a positive and inclusive space. This is a team that wants to do right by its community. This is a team I can root for wholeheartedly.

Sometimes the best things in life happen when you least expect it. As a 7-year-old boy wearing figure skates in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, he couldn’t imagine a career in hockey, and California was just a place I saw in movies. But here I am, and it feels like the right place to be.

I can’t wait to get started.

-Tara Slone

#Introducing #Tara #Slone #NHL.com

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