Golden Knights television play-by-play announcer Dave Goucher still has the ticket from the first NHL game he broadcast.
His new partner, color commentator Shane Hnidy, is also a collector, saving the ticket from his first NHL game as a player.
But it was only recently they realized their tickets are from the same game.
On Oct. 5, 2000, Goucher called his first game as the Boston Bruins’ radio announcer, a 4-4 tie with Ottawa.
Playing on the Senators’ third defensive pair was a 24-year-old who finally cracked an NHL lineup because of an injury. Fate keeps connecting Goucher and Hnidy, though this time in new roles as the Golden Knights’ first-ever television broadcast team.
“You never would’ve thought, 17 years later, that we’d end up working together on television,” Goucher, 48, said. “It’s pretty ironic how it all worked out.”
The two certainly took different paths to reach Las Vegas. Goucher, a Pawtucket, Rhode Island native, kept working up the East Coast hockey ladder after graduating from Boston University in 1993, calling minor league games for eight years before holding the Bruins job from 2000-2017.
Hnidy, from a town of about 4,000 in Manitoba, dreamed of playing in the NHL while shoveling snow off tennis courts so he and his friends could play “road hockey” growing up. He was drafted 173rd overall in 1994 and after four years in the minors he got his chance, playing 11 seasons with six different teams.
His final stop connected him and Goucher again, as Hnidy was part of the Bruins team that hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011 after a Game 7 win in Vancouver. It’s only fitting then that the pair’s first preseason broadcast as a Golden Knights team was in the same arena on Sept. 17.
Hnidy’s post-playing career took off when the Winnipeg Jets moved in about two hours from his hometown in 2011 and offered to let him do some radio work. Within a year he was also helping out on television on TSN, and became the network’s full-time Jets color analyst in 2014.
“It happened quick. Sometimes I say this career has taken off quicker than my previous career (playing),” Hnidy, 41, said with a laugh.
Hnidy quickly impressed at TSN with his work ethic and his ability to see and analyze plays on the ice quickly.
“He doesn’t need a replay to confirm what he saw,” Jets play-by-play man Dennis Beyak said. “He knows what he saw. He knows why this happened and then the replay confirms it.”
Its those skills that led him to be hired by the Golden Knights and paired with Goucher. The two are still learning how to work together on television, but with 17 years of history there already, things seem to be coming together quickly.
“There’s an instant chemistry. Doing our first (preseason) game … it was seamless,” Goucher said. “That’s what you want with your broadcast partner, the ability to work together. It was just fantastic.”