Phil Giubileo has had the call got the Connecticut Whale since Season One!

PHIL GIUBILEO: With The Call For The Whale

 

“Man, have you dug that mad Marty Glickman announcing basketball games—up to mid court-bounce-fake-set shot-swish-two points. Absolutely the greatest announcer I ever heard!” from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

 

If you are of a certain age, and a sports fan, you probably have heard Marty Glickman on a game call. The legendary broadcaster was also a three sport star at Syracuse University and an Olympian at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and a mentor. And when we found out that our own iconic broadcaster Phil Giubileo had a connection with Marty, well you know we were going to ask him to tell us a little about that! . Phil responded

 “It might be hard to just talk a little about Marty, who was a mentor and guide for me early in my broadcast career when I was a student at Fordham University, working at WFUV. I studied under Marty for 3 years, and I can honestly say that without his teaching, I wouldn’t have been able to ever work as a play-by-play announcer. I learned so much from him, and even though he didn’t mentor me on hockey (I didn’t call a hockey game until 2003), it’s safe to say that many of the fundamentals that I learned are still used in my broadcasts today. He wasn’t a hockey announcer, but Marty was credited with basically “inventing” the lingo that makes up basketball broadcasting on the radio. I mean, how big is that?!” (You can read more about Marty Glickman in Phil's own words here: http://www.playbyplay.biz/a-couple-or-three-stories-about-marty-glickman/)

Phil has been involved with the NWHL since Season One. He’s seen the NWHL develop from day one, from behind the microphone. Same as Shannon Doyle, Jordan Brickner, Elena Orlando have on the ice, and trainer Paul Fernandes behind the beach.phil has an extensive and wide ranging background in broadcasting, so we asked how his work with the league and the Whale came  about? Phil explained

“I had spent nine seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL from 2006-15, which also included some NHL work as well with the NY Islanders. However, during the summer of 2015, there was a change in the front office, and while I was asked to continue, we weren’t able to come to terms and I decided to leave the organization. Fast forward, maybe a week after that, I had read about the NWHL’s Inaugural season and the Connecticut Whale. Without knowing what the broadcast situation was, I reached out to some people and a friend of mine, who at the time was managing marketing for the Aviator complex in Brooklyn. That’s where the Riveters played their first season, and he put me in touch with Dani Rylan. It turned out that they were trying to get everything off the ground for their broadcast endeavor, but didn’t have any announcers. After meeting with Dani, she asked me to come on board! “

And since Phil has been around from the beginning, we asked about his memories of that inaugural NWHL season, and he reflected

 “It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly five years since that inaugural game. From the on-ice aspect, the team’s fantastic start, where they seemingly exceeded expectations to win their first 8 games. I don’t think they were expected to do that right off the jump. Also, since the broadcast operation was so new, every week we were learning and trying additional things to improve the quality of the broadcast. Remember, the first game was filmed with a single camera that was bought off the shelf a few days before the game. However, by the end of the season, we had a multi-camera setup with much improved quality – which has only gotten better over the years. Even when we feature single camera games on-occasion (as opposed to the multi-cam setup), the quality is really good. “

There have been a lot of changes in the NWHL, and one last year proved a big hit with the fans: Twitch! And since Twitch is a huge gaming platform, we had to ask Phil if he himself was a gamer? He replied “I like and will play video games on occasion (sport ones primarily), but I am not a gamer, per se.” Cetacean Nation thinks, and has said,  that the way our broadcasters incorporated Twitch into the game calls was incredible. Phil and his broadcast partner Erica Ayala were able to interact on Twitch without missing a beat during the game. It was beyond impressive, and amazed everyone from fans to players to coaches! So we asked how Phil was able to do that and what it was like. He revealed

“ It’s wonderful! I love the Twitch platform and the ability to interact with the fans, as well as help bring their interactions into the spoken part of the broadcast, because not everyone will follow/read the chat. Having Erica on the broadcasts, and her ability to navigate in and out of the chat while keeping heavily focused on the game is also important to the success of integrating the fans/chat into the broadcast. If only one of us does it, then it would feel sort of like a two-person conversation with the other one not being engaged. Or worse, the audience feeling like they’re ignored by the person that is not involved. She’s intelligent, talented and hard-working, so it’s no surprise that she was able to jump right in and seamlessly work in the Twitch environment. For me personally, when I lived in Seattle many moons ago, I worked at a company called TalkSpot. It was one of the earliest webcast companies dedicated to producing original content. It was only audio at that time, but combined with chat and images, it created one of the earliest interactive broadcast environments. It was Twitch, but for dial-up modems. Very bleeding edge, and most people didn’t have the ability to consistently access the technology. However, as a producer of several shows and a host of a weekend program, I learned quickly how to host a talk show while engaging via chat (and speaking) to an online audience – perfect training for Twitch, albeit 20 years later!”

 

Phil and broadcast partner Erica Ayala. Photo by Moa Höjer

Phil is not only the voice of our Connecticut Whale, but is the long time voice of Quinnipiac University hockey as well. And as such, he is in a unique position of familiarity, with the number of Quinnipiac players that have played here for the Pod. So we asked him for his scouting report on our amazing rookies Abbie Ives and Melissa Samoskevich, both QU grads. He told us

“Abbie and Melissa are elite hockey players that will make an immediate impact for the Whale, and I am so excited to see them continuing their playing careers here in Connecticut. Abbie is exceptionally talented. She is also tall – which is something that you cannot coach-but that is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her game. She can make amazing athletic saves, but she’s also very technically sound. When I’ve spoken with Cass Turner (QU Women’s Ice Hockey Coach) about Abbie Ives, in addition to her game play, what stood out to me most was her commitment to everything needed to grow as a player away from the rink. Things like proper nutrition and training are a couple of examples.She also has a very competitive spirit. She also seems to play better when there’s a bigger challenge in front of her. I have seen Abbie Ives outduel Lovisa Selander aas Gold Medal goaltender Maddie Rooney among other elite goaltenders. She’s ready for the NWHL.”

Phil continued “Melissa Samoskevich is a fantastic two-way player, and well known for her offensive ability. She’s an elite goal scorer who does everything well, and gives Connecticut potentially their best singular offensive threat since Katerina Mrazova, who did a lot on a team that wasn’t very deep up front. Her prior experiences on the international level with Team USA also sets her up well for success. Of course with Melissa now also working as an assistant coach for Penn State, I am not sure how often she will be in the lineup. But certainly whenever she’s on the ice in a game situation, she’s a dangerous player.”

We also wondered what Phil’s favorite Quinnipiac Women’s hockey moment might be and his answer was

 “Last season in general was a lot of fun. The Bobcats are a team on the rise and they progressively improved as the season went on. They were an OT goal away from upending Princeton on the road in the ECAC playoffs after the Tigers demonstrated a lot of success against the Bobcats during the regular season. That said, if I had to pick a moment, it would be winning the Nutmeg Classic at home last season. First beating Maddie Rooney, Sydney Brodt and Minnesota-Duluth, followed by defeating Yale for the championship. Anytime you win a championship, even a mid-season tournament, it’spretty big!”

Similarly, we were curious as to Phil’s favorite Whale moment, and he picked x couple for us. 

“I have two from Season One. The first one was actually an unlikely broadcast for me. I filled in at Aviator in Brooklyn for Carmine Vetrano, who was the inaugural Rivs play-by-play announcer, as he had to attend a wedding. I filled in and was glad I did. Shiann Darkangelo scored goals very late in the 3rd period, both with an empty net and the tying goal with 9 seconds left. Kelli Stack scored the lone shootout goal in what was a fantastic come from behind win, keeping them at that point, undefeated. BTW, Bray Ketchum scored twice for the Riveters in that game! My other favorite moment was the very first game played by the Whale in Danbury, which wasn’t last season, but also during Season One, as they played Buffalo there. It was a great experience for me because it was the first time back at the Danbury Ice Arena to call a game since I worked for the Danbury Trashers. The game itself was great, with Molly Engstrom winning it in overtime!”

Phil has obviously broadcast in a lot of different venues, so we asked which was his favorite place to work. And he gave us this very interesting reply

“My favorite place is wherever I’m working! Seriously, it doesn’t really matter to me as long as I have a pretty good view of the ice. And with very few exceptions, I’ve been able to have that luxury for most of my career. I’m lucky in that I absolutely have an amazing spot in Hamden to work at the People’s United Center – the vantage points are exceptional. I was also lucky in that the Webster Bank Arena, where I called 9 seasons for the Sound Tigers, had a similar view. The first season of calling Whale games at Chelsea Piers, was pretty crazy! There wasn’t a “broadcast spot”, but rather a ledge—you sat on the ledge and you were very close to the ice. It took me a game to get used to the really low angle, and the place was always packed! Packed to the point where if I moved, there was a pretty good chance I was bumping into the fans that were seated right in front of us! From a broadcaster perspective, Danbury is a great spot, with good views of the ice from where we broadcast. And I have many memories of working in the United Hockey League with the Danbury Trashers from 2004-06, so coming back there last season was nostalgic, but very special because of getting to make new memories with the Whale.”

We also asked a Phil, as we have everyone this offseason,to weigh in on the pandemic has impacted things.

“Personally I feel that I am very fortunate. We live in New Milford, where the infection rates from C-19 have been very low. Additionally, we live in a rural area where not many are around us. My wife and I both have jobs that allow us to work from home, and we have been able to keep our family very safe. Connecticut seems to be one of the few states where people are really all-in, social distancing, wearing masks and doing their best to live their lives, but still being very cautious.Broadcasting wise, the only work I missed was the cancelled series between Quinnipiac and Yale in the ECAC playoffs, which would have been my final weekend of calling hockey until the off-season. I hope that we can start up again at a reasonable time this winter, but ultimately only if everyone can be safe, which is the most important thing.”

We thank our amazing “Voice of the Whale” Phil Giubileo, for his insightful and enlightening comments, and for providing some more Whale history for the fans. With so much uncertainty still in our day to day lives, the view into 2921 seems even more murky. But as we look forward to Season Six, in whatever form it may take, we can rest assured in this: whatever it is, Phil will be calling it like it is! Fins Up to that!

Samo sighting! Phil with our amazing rookie Melissa Samoskevich and QU broadcast partner Dan Bahl