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“If not you, then who?” One of Calgary's Own is Paving the way for Young Girls


Sandra Prusina is a radio broadcaster covering both the cities of Calgary and Vancouver. She is also a play-by-play announcer in soccer and hockey. Most recently she was the play-by-play announcer of The Calgary Wranglers, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate team, and Calgary Foothills UWS team, the city's women’s soccer team. Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a post degree certificate in Journalism and has been in the business for a while. She is also a sports journalist, writing for CityNews Calgary.


When I asked why she chose her career path Prusina says, “I knew I always wanted to be a storyteller. When I was growing up, I loved reading and I loved watching sports. I also spent many evenings with my headphones on and listening to Calgary Flames broadcasts on 66CFR. I don't think I set it out as a goal to work in broadcasting. I finished my Bachelor of Arts in English and completed a post-degree certificate in journalism, hoping to get a journalism job. When I graduated, I was offered a position in radio, reading overnight news. That's really when the ball got rolling for me. I kept my mind open to try everything: news, traffic, weather, business. My love and passion for sports propelled me forward in the industry.” As a little girl I did exactly what Sandra did, only I was listening to her voice on the radio.


Sandra is one of the lucky few in the fact that with her jobs comes many different, unique and complex tasks to complete. Commentating on games, picking out the most important sports news of the day and delivering them in short increments. With all these unique components of her job she says that the best part about her job is, “being a storyteller and the voice that shares indelible moments with Calgarians” such as a breaking trade, a goal call, the heartbreak of an overtime loss, the journey of an athlete who has overcome obstacles to win a medal or championship. “Sports bring people together and create memories. I'm proud to be just a tiny part of those moments, and it's a role I take seriously.”


Being a sports broadcaster can mean long days, crazy and unpredictable schedules, hours of preparation and tons of creativity. Sandra takes us through a day working as both a sportscaster and a play-by-play commentator. “When working as a sportscaster, I review all the major sports news from around Calgary and any other pertinent information from Canada or the world. I've got 90 seconds to get all the information out – so that means providing compelling content that the listener can use. I like to start my sportscasts locally and build them out. We've got a lot of teams in our city these days: Flames, Wranglers, Hitmen, Stamps, Surge, Cavalry, UWS, and USports.”

Arguably one of the coolest jobs in sports is a play-by-play announcer and on days when Sandra is calling games, the preparation may not be what some think. “When working as a play-by-play announcer, I start my prep work as early as possible, which could mean days or weeks in advance. That means learning player numbers, name pronunciations, storylines, and statistics. I create sheets for both teams with information I can quickly reference during a live broadcast. On the day of the actual broadcast, I arrive at the rink and field at least 90 minutes before puck drop/kick-off. That way, there's lots of time if I need to talk to coaches or someone with the production crew. I also like to take in the warmup because you'll learn about lineups, possible injuries. And if I'm not working solo, this gives the colour commentator and me plenty of time to review our expectations for the broadcast.” Sandra became the first female play-by-play commentator in the AHL when the Flames affiliate team moved from Stockton, California to Calgary, Alberta.


The advice we receive in life can impact us all on different levels. For many of us there is one piece of advice that has stuck with us and been an important part of our journey. For Sandra this advice is, “Be yourself. Although you'll read the work of other journalists or listen to other broadcasts, don't try to replicate what you read or hear. Use it as inspiration but create a unique voice.”


On the topic of advice when asked if she could give one piece of advice to young girls wanting to work in sports, “If not you, then who. There will be times you stumble; you're told you're not good enough or when you get brushed aside. Those are just temporary obstacles. Keep at it. You can achieve great things!”


An example of a barrier breaker, hard worker and overall cool person, Sandra has been a trailblazer in the sports industry for a few years now. A sports anchor, play-by-play commentator and journalist, she has done it all, and on top of all that, Sandra is a pretty cool role model.


Photo credits go to Sandra Prusina

Link to Sandra's Twitter :https://twitter.com/sprusina

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