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Jason Bryant discusses how he got the SCSU men's hockey public address job, his background, the Olympics

Bryant owns www.mattalkonline.com, which edits and produces, edits and distributes wrestling podcasts. He has worked at three Olympic Games in the sport of wrestling and lives in New Brighton. He discusses his career and more on the Huskies Hockey Insider podcast with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten.

Jason Bryant.jpeg
Jason Bryant is the new public address announcer for St. Cloud State men's hockey games.
Courtesy of St. Cloud State University

Jason Bryant admits to being a bit overwhelmed by the response he has gotten from St. Cloud State men's hockey fans. On Tuesday, July 26, Bryant was named as the new public address announcer for the Huskies. He replaces Chuck Clausen, who retired after 32 seasons.

"The news, once it got out there, I've been overwhelmed with the social media outreach from Huskies hockey fans," he said. "It's not going to sneak up on anybody, that's for sure."

Bryant lives in New Brighton, Minn., and owns www.mattalkonline.com, which edits and produces, edits and distributes wrestling podcasts. Bryant has worked as a broad caster, journalist and public address announcer for the last 28 years and grew up in Virginia.

So how did he find out about the SCSU position and what got him interested in it?

"I'm not a stranger to St. Cloud State sports and I've been covering the sport of wrestling," said Bryant and the Huskies wrestling program that has won five NCAA Division II titles since 2015. "I've been a PA announcer for a very long time and a broadcast journalist.

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"This (SCSU hockey) position, when it opened up, I wasn't aware of it right away. I was in a public address announcer's Facebook group where people talk about jobs and talk about the industry ... In my life, I've only been to one collegiate hockey game and that was when I lived in Colorado Springs and it was those Gophers against Colorado College.

"But I've watched plenty of it on TV, which is a benefit of living in Minnesota. College hockey, even if you're not a hockey lifer, you can't miss it here on TV. I saw it out there and was thinking about it and I saw the schedule and the dates (for games) and said, 'You know what? I'm going to give it a shot.'"

Bryant already had a contact at SCSU in Andrew Melroe, who is the assistant athletics director for strategic communications. Melroe previously worked at the University of Missouri in sports information and worked for its wrestling team for three seasons.

"He was going to reach out and see what I could do to help promote the wrestling program," Bryant said of Melroe. "St. Cloud State is a dominant force in Division II wrestling.

"I got a call back for Round 2 (of auditions) to do an in-person audition," said Bryant, who had submitted voice audition recordings previously. "I walked into the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center for the first time ... I was pretty impressed with the facilities right away. It was kind of daunting, to be honest with you, because it had been a long time since I'd worked in hockey."

When Bryant was attending college at Old Dominion University (Va.), he was a broadcast intern for the Hampton Roads (Va.) Admirals in the East Coast Hockey League.

"Those games were wild, they were loud," said Bryant, who worked for the team during the 1997-98 season. "The experience for me was less about working for them. There was another intern working for them and we split time.

"It was just a chance to go to the (Norfolk) Scope (Arena) and sit there when I wasn't working and get the perspective right by the boards. The game-day experience of the sport — hockey is a sport that you've got to see live. In the PA box, you are right there and I'm really looking forward to getting that vantage point for the first time."

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Bryant has worked a number of big events in wrestling. He has worked as a journalist and public address announcer at three Olympic Games and he has worked at NCAA Division I, Division III and NAIA national championship tournaments.

He's also worked at wrestling world championship tournaments, in which, he said that he will have pronounce the names of 900 wrestlers. There is something that he will concentrate on during hockey games.

"I'm not worried about butchering names," he said. "I'm worried about butchering sponsor reads. That's the one thing you don't want to screw up.

"It's going to take me a little bit to find where my groove is in terms of how we're calling a game experience and how it works with game day operations."

TIME STAMPS

1:15 How he found out about the position and the process to being named the new public address announcer

5:35 What he read in the in arena audition, keeping sponsors happy, how the NHL franchise team nickname should be North Stars instead of Wild

9:45 His passion for college, Olympic sports, SCSU's hockey fan base, similarities to the wrestling fan base

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12:25 His background, working in the ECHL, his background as a journalist

18:25 What he does for a living, how he got to Minnesota, working in wrestling since 2004

20:22 What he's excited about in working for the team, catching his first walleye

22:08 Working as a journalist and English public address announcer for three Olympic Games in wrestling, the pressures of it, working NCAA Division I, Division III and NAIA national championship tournaments

29:12 His family, his kids having Olympic names

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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com
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