By TSM @yyzsportsmedia
You asked some questions, I asked some questions and Andi Petrillo has answered…
Take a look:
1. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
AP: I had big dreams of being an Olympian one day. I also really wanted to be a reporter. It didn’t take long to figure out I was better at talking 🙂
2. Did you play competitive sports growing up?
AP: At school I was part of a lot of teams: basketball, volleyball, soccer, and track. Competitively, I played soccer.
3. You’ve really worked your way, from covering high school games to HNIC, the Olympics, FIFA word cup and more, what’s your favorite sport to cover and why
AP: It’s really hard to say. The athletes are who make my job interesting. I enjoy getting to know their stories and I appreciate their journeys. However, my two favourite sports I love to sit and watch are hockey and soccer.
4. Best advice anyone ever gave you
AP: I’ve been very fortunate in life to be surrounded by some pretty incredible people who have and continue to give me great advice. One that has been very beneficial is: “Don’t ever be afraid to say yes to a challenge.” In the sports industry it’s very easy to fall back and cover just one sport. However, I’ve forced myself to learn about as many sports and as many athletes as possible. I’m not afraid of a new challenge, and I know it’s that attitude that has propelled me into becoming an Olympic host.
5. Best advice you could give aspiring broadcasters
AP: Same as above: “Don’t ever be afraid to say yes to a challenge.”
6. How has/is social media changing the way you do your job
AP: If used properly, it can be very beneficial. I follow credible journalists and it’s amazing the information I can get from their tweets in a timely fashion. Especially when I’m covering the NHL and it’s a 10-game night, I’ll take to twitter to see what the reporters are saying who are covering certain games to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It’s also a good way to get my finger on the pulse of what people are talking about because it tells me what’s important to them and what they want to know/learn.
7. Favorite team, player, coach to interview/cover and why
AP: This is a tough one because I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible athletes and coaches over the years. I always love interviewing Olympic athletes. They work so hard, and many get paid very little, for a goal that comes along once every year. They appreciate the coverage and recognition. It’s always so refreshing talking to them. But if I had to pick a team and coach, it would be the 2006-07 Leafs. It was my first year working in the NHL and I worked for Leafs TV. I went to every practice and every game. It was a very long season, a lot of hard work, but the players and coach Paul Maurice treated me like family. It was a really good group.
8. The one thing your fans would be shocked to learn about you would be that you:
AP: cry every time I watch the movie ET
9. When not on the air or preparing to be on the air we’d likely find you doing ____
AP: At the gym working out and spending time with family and friends
10. Were you offered a position with Rogers when they took control of the TV rights away from CBC Sports?
AP: No, I was not
11. Also will you have an increased role at TSN? Or strictly soccer coverage only
AP: You never know what the future holds. I love soccer and I’m very appreciative of TSN giving me the opportunity to work on covering the BPL. I also do some radio work with them talking hockey and other sports.
12. Tell us about the trip to Afghanastan…How scared where you heading over?
AP: It was unnerving, for sure. But I knew it was a rare opportunity. It was by far the most eye-opening trip I’ve been on. Everyday we visited a different part of the base to learn about some of the things our troops are trying to accomplish. Also, everyday for each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we had the chance to sit with a different group of soldiers. We heard their stories, their triumphs and losses, and they hung on every word we said about home. One day we attended the ramp ceremony for a 19yr old soldier from Virginia. I’m still trying to understand my feelings from that day…not easy.
13. How close are we to seeing a female attain coaching (not necessarily head coach) and officiating positions in the NHL? Women have already broken through the glass ceiling in the NBA and NFL.
AP: It has been very inspiring to see other leagues evolve and recognize there are many women qualified to work in their leagues. I was over the moon earlier this year when Stephen Walkom, Vice President and Director of Officiating, said the NHL is welcoming female applicants. All I can say is it’s about time. We have women in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which tells me there is recognition of their contribution to the sport of hockey. Now let’s start giving them jobs!
14. We’ve come a long way it appears from the Lisa Olsen days in pro sports, however, What challenges/barriers (still) exist for women in a male-dominated sporting industry?
AP: Unfortunately, ignorance exists in the world and it finds its way into almost every industry. When I hear of what the women who came before me had to endure, I’m forever grateful for their determination in blazing a trail for me. I’ve been fortunate to not have dealt with the things like Lisa Olson did in 1990. I’ve encountered very minor incidents where security in stadiums questioned my media credentials because they couldn’t wrap their head around a woman travelling with a sports team or even a woman being interested in sports, but they were quickly put in their place by team personnel.
15. “Which Olympic sports will you be covering as part of CBC’s lead up? If that has not yet been decided, which ones do you want or prefer to be assigned to?”
AP: Nothing has been decided yet. In Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics I hosted a 6 hour show. I love hosting. The host role is demanding but exhilarating. You have to know something about all of the sports, not just one or two.
16. How far away are we from having a sports radio station hosted and co-hosted by a woman
AP: Strangely, sports radio does seem to be that medium that’s still very male-dominated. However, I will say women in the United States have found their home in sports radio; ESPN and CBS have been very open to hiring female sports radio personalities. Canada has some catching up to do, but I’m proud to say I’m part of the NHL Network radio lineup every Monday, co-hosting with Steve Kouleas.
17. Is there a broadcaster whom you’ve admired the most and tried to emulate?
AP: I’ve never had just one. I’ve worked alongside the best of the best in this country and I’ve learned something different from each one. But I have to admit, I love the calm and ease in which Chris McKendry presents on-air.
18. Best Don Cherry story you can share?
AP: Hahaha I really do have a lot. Best story for me is when he gave me a shout out on Coach’s Corner. Don only talks about hockey or the brave men and women who keep us safe. So, when he decided to mention me one night I nearly fell off my chair.
19. If you weren’t doing what you do now, what do you think you’d be doing?
AP: Hmmm, I’m not good at anything else! Well, I’m a fitness and health freak, so maybe personal training. I also love dogs, so maybe a professional dog walker. 🙂
20. Can you comment on some other female broadcasters or female broadcasting teams in sports, how and why they have succeeded and where they haven’t. Also, do you have interest in doing any broadcasting outside of sports?
AP: Wow, there are so many incredible women in sports. At the end of the day, this isn’t an easy industry to get into; and even if you get in, it doesn’t always mean your contract will be renewed. Anyone working in this industry, male or female, needs to work hard every day. And like most things in life, you also need a little luck and sometimes you need to know the right people. When all of that comes together, it’s a perfect storm for success. To answer your final question, I love sports and would be watching games even if I didn’t work in the sports industry; but, I’m not afraid of a challenge. So,YES, I would welcome the opportunity to broadcast different things.
Big THANKS to Andi for taking out questions…