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

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY T.J. COLELLO tj­colello@cb­post.com

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.

Dar­ren Stevens

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