Off air and out of focus


Schoolcraft Media and Plymouth Whalers part ways after ten years


PHOTO BY NATHAN GARTNER PHOTO EDITOR Whalers defenseman and Schoolcraft student Mitch Jones appreciates the effort of the Schoolcraft Media Department.
Whalers defenseman and Schoolcraft student Mitch Jones appreciates the effort of the Schoolcraft Media Department.

The sale of the Plymouth Whalers franchise not only ends a proud tradition of hockey in Metro Detroit, but also a staple production for the Media Department at Schoolcraft College.

For the last 10 seasons, the Schoolcraft College Media Department has exclusively provided video coverage of nearly all the Plymouth Whalers home games through the Schoolcraft College Sports Network (SCSN). The broadcasts began as tapings of the games, but have evolved over the years and are now shown on local channel Comcast 900. During playoffs, SCSN also provided coverage for Rodgers TV in Canada.

Sam Gooden, the director of the Media Department, has been producing and directing Whalers games for all 10 years in association with his media staff. His staff includes Schoolcraft Video Production Club members and students who are looking into careers in the video production.

“It will be tough to move on, but things do change,” said Gooden. “We still have the Schoolcraft games we can cover along with other productions the college puts on, but the Whalers were our main gig.”

The partnership between Schoolcraft and the Whalers organization dates back to 1995 when the team relocated to Plymouth. Players on the team would receive a free education at Schoolcraft while playing in the Whalers organization.

SCSN“The relationship between the Whalers organization and Schoolcraft College has existed since the franchise relocated to Plymouth in 1995, and they have been one of our major sponsors over our tenure here,” said Pete Krupsky, Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Whalers. “We have always received quality production from the Schoolcraft crew since they started taping our games in 2005, and it has been a great addition to the Whalers to have video of all of their home games and airtime on local television.”

Krupsky has been the radio voice of the Whalers since the franchise’s beginning in 1990 and has been the play-by-play announcer for SCSN Whalers broadcasts since its beginning in 2005. Local television personality and hockey enthusiast Sean Baligian assists Krupsky on most of the broadcasts with color commentary.

“They do a very good job,” said Whalers defenseman and Schoolcraft student Mitch Jones. “It’s nice seeing a college that represents the Plymouth area come into our rink and video tape our games. It’s pretty cool.”

With the Whalers franchise moving to Flint after this season, the run between the SCSN and the Plymouth Whalers is coming to an end, but hockey will hopefully not be eradicated from the networks plethora of programs.

USA Hockey, the governing body of hockey in the United States, recently acquired Compuware Arena and plans to make the 20 year old arena its new hub. Programs like the U.S. National Team Development Program, which has harbored current NHL stars such as Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and Erik Johnson, plan on utilizing Compuware when ownership is officially transferred over to USA Hockey at the end of the Ontario Hockey League season. They have been in contact with Schoolcraft, and it is hoped that USA Hockey and SCSN can reach an agreement to continue shooting and producing tape of hockey at Compuware.

For now, SCSN will shoot various Schoolcraft athletic events until a possible deal is reached with USA Hockey while the Whalers begin to vacate Compuware arena. Although the relationship between Schoolcraft Media and Plymouth is coming to an end, the 10 seasons that the two worked together gave several students the possibility to train for their desired career and players film to archive.