In any profession, the goal is to work your way up through every level to get to the top.
After four years in West Kelowna, for Chase Johnston, it’s his time to move up to the next level. On Sept. 12, the now former West Kelowna Warriors broadcaster and director of business development and communications announced he’s been named the new play-by-play broadcaster for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
🚨RADIO BROADCAST NEWS🚨
The Wheat Kings are proud to announce the return of Wheat Kings hockey to @QCountry91_5 and welcome Chase Johnston as the clubs new play by play voice!
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) September 12, 2022
— Chase Johnston (@CJohnstonWHL) September 12, 2022
Johnston first reached out to the Wheat Kings about the position in the spring, but the team didn’t interview him or anyone else as they we’re figuring out their radio in town. On the first day of Wheat Kings training camp on Sept. 2, with just three weeks until the start of the season, the team called Johnston and offered him the job.
“I think for me, once I found out it was real, it was a little emotional for me.”
Coming out of BCIT’s broadcasting school in 2018, Johnston had a goal and a five-year plan. With his new job, he reached his goal with a year to spare.
Johnston got the job as the Warriors play-by-play broadcaster in 2018, when it was ‘a much different time for the Warriors organization’, with his first day being what’s known as ‘Grimmer Gate’ in the organization. That year was his first as a full time broadcaster and calls it one of his favourite seasons in West Kelowna.
During his time with the Warriors, the team went through an ownership change. When the new ownership took over, Johnston was one of only a few members to stay with the organization. With him leaving after four seasons, he’s one of the longest tenured members in the organization’s history.
Johnston said that the pandemic was a tough time because when there’s no hockey, there’s no work but he has the utmost respect for what the new ownership and coaching staff did to help him grow.
“The new ownership really helped me become a better person, a better broadcaster, a better marketer, [and] I’m really thrilled with the outcome of where I am today because there’s no way I’m probably getting hired by a western league team if it wasn’t for the guidance of the new ownership and coaching staff,” said Johnston.
When Johnston needed to move in the height of the pandemic, Warriors Head Coach and General Manager Simon Ferguson brought Johnston into his house and opened his basement suite for him. Over the last year, Johnston also transitioned into a bigger role in the organization, working on the marketing and business side as well and said Team President Chris Laurie was a huge help during that learning curve.
On top of that, it’s been all about the people for Johnston.
“It’s not about the job, it’s not about the sport, it’s about the people.”
Johnston mentioned one fan in-particular, who gifted him a bingo card of all of his different play-by-play calls from his broadcasts.
For Johnston, it was time to take the next step.
“I sacrificed a lot to be where I am and not a lot of people sacrifice that. There’s so many people in my position if they have a wife, they have kids that hang up the microphone and find themselves doing something else.”
Over the last few months, Johnston also became the play-by-play commentator for the Okanagan Sun football team. While he’s moving on, he’s going to continue to run the Sun’s social media channels and writing for the team.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the Warriors named and welcomed back Trevor Miller to the team taking over for Johnston. Miller was the team’s broadcaster from for two seasons, from 2016-18, before Johnston took the role.
In the 2018-19 season, Miller was named the BCHL Broadcaster of the Year after a season with the Trail Smoke Eaters. He just spent the last three seasons being the voice of his hometown Penticton Vees.
“I’m very excited to be joining the Warriors organization once again and coming back to a place where I began my broadcasting career in the BCHL,” said Miller.
“Trevor Miller is the best in the BCHL to take over my role,” said Johnston. “I have an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up that I believe is the right decision for my long term goals.”
The Warriors have one more preseason game in Vernon against the Vipers on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The regular season begins on Friday, Sept. 23 when the Warriors take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals.