Peskwata titju piskwaqeteluwata!
The heading on this story is Mi’kmaq for ‘he shoots, he scores’ Darren Stevens to do Mi’kmaq play-by-play for APTN during the Olympics
Eskasoni’s Darren Stevens ‘shoots and scores’job as commentator for Olympic hockey games on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
SYDNEY — Darren Stevens has his eyes glued to plenty of hockey on television lately, but he’s keeping the sound on mute.
“ That’s how I’ve been doing it and the only way, really,” he said. “I have to know the lineups, too, I have to know who’s out there, who’s with (Sidney) Crosby and that.”
The 44-year-old from Eskasoni is getting in all the practise he can get before he leaves next week to work as a commentator for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) to broadcast Olympic hockey games in the Mi’kmaq language.
Stevens will work as the playby-play man for the women’s hockey semifinal game, Feb. 22, the women’s gold medal game, Feb. 25, and the men’s gold medal game, Feb. 28. He’ll be teamed up with Foster Augustine of the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, who will provide colour commentary.
“It’s a very, very fast-paced game with hockey and I sort of chose the hardest thing to do,” said Stevens, a guidance counsellor at Chief Allison M. Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni. “ They told me skiing is really the easiest.
“ The first time, I had difficulty trying to remember numbers and names of the players because the action is so fast. So I’ve been practising and practising all year.”
Last year, Stevens was contact- ed by friend Brian Francis, who worked on the APTN’s program Eastern Tide. Francis asked Stevens if he was interested in commentating sports for the Olympics. APTN producer Doug Howe then contacted him and after talking about what the station was looking to do, Stevens was invited to begin training in August.
“ We did a couple of test runs and everything worked out fine,” said Stevens. “ They asked me what sport I was interested in and I’m knowledgeable in hockey and have done the sport, I played hockey all my childhood and that was the sport I knew the most. So we practised that and the four guys who went there also chose hockey for some reason.”
Stevens and the three others from New Brunswick chosen for the Olympic programming received training from veteran broadcaster Jim Van Horne, a former TSN personality who has covered both the Calgary and Sydney Olympics. He’ll get some final tutelage from Van Horne in the days leading up the Games.
“He’s awesome,” said Stevens, of his iconic tutor. “It was strange to hear him talk live and I guess everybody said to themselves ‘ what am I doing here?’ and ‘what am I getting in to?’
“ That first day, I was just in awe. But we had our training two days and the following November I went there and we knew what was going on and what was to be expected and everything.”
Stevens won’t get to work the Games live in Vancouver, but will do the broadcasts from the APTN studios located in Winnipeg. Despite that, he’s still revelling in the experience.
“ We’re going to put our language on the world stage really,” said Stevens. “It’s really going to be very educational and we’re making history — this has never been done.”
You can see Stevens on APTN now. He’s featured in the series of ‘Believe’ commercials broadcast on the station since December leading up to the Games.