April 29, 2008

Ex -hockey player's new power play comes in radio booth

Ken Sabourin operates his insurance business out of our property located at:
1011 Frederick Rd. Lower Level, Catonsville, MD 21228
you may reach him for all of your insurance needs at 410-869-0405

04/23/08 Catonsville Times TOM WORGO Email this story to a friend

Professional ice hockey

Ken Sabourin has seen the National Hockey League playoffs from both sides.
The Catonsville resident, 41, played parts of four seasons for the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames during the 1980s and 1990s.
He and his wife, Angela, moved to Catonsville three years ago to be closer to St. Mark's School, where two of his three children are enrolled.
For Sabourin, it's a fairly easy commute to the Verizon Center in Washington to continue a broadcasting gig as a color radio analyst for the Capitals on Washington-based 1500AM.
After playing his last NHL game 17 years ago, he is back in the thick of the playoffs, the annual chase that ends with the victorious team drinking from the Stanley Cup.
Sabourin said he hasn't been this excited about hockey since his playing days.
The best-of-seven games Capitals-Philadelphia Flyers matchup, which will end this week (series tied, 3-3 at press time), is the second playoff series Sabourin has broadcast during his five years as a part-time broadcaster.
His first was in 2003 when the Capitals lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.
"It really gets my juices going," Sabourin said about the playoffs. "I am having a ton of fun, especially with the playoffs. I can feel myself getting excited, and I get right into it. I used to be in the playoffs, and you grind it out."
The Scarborough, Ontario native had a reputation as a bruising, stay-at-home defenseman during his 13 years of professional hockey, which included 11 years in the minors.
He had a two-year stint with the now-defunct Baltimore Skipjacks (1991-93) of the American Hockey League.
After his last season in the minors (1998-99) with the Orlando Solar Bears, Sabourin moved into broadcasting with the Florida-based team.
"I did eight games on TV for the Sunshine Network," Sabourin said. "I really enjoyed it."
Even before Sabourin broadcast Orlando games, he was intent on doing radio or television work once his on-ice career ended.
"I thought about it my last couple of years in the minors," Sabourin said. "I also did some radio stuff when I was suspended or hurt. I enjoyed doing it."
Sabourin owns an insurance brokerage company in Catonsville -- Sabourin Insurance Services -- so he is not with the club as much as broadcasting partner Steve Kolbe, who works full time for the team.
That poses a unique challenge.
"He is not around the club as much as full-time announcers," said Joe Benenati, the Caps play-by-play announcer for Comcast Sports Net. "He has to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. I think that points to his preparation skills. I would like to get the opportunity to work with him."
Sabourin's favorite game-day calls usually are prompted by Washington star forward Alexander Ovechkin, an MVP candidate who set a new single-season record for goals by a left wing this season.
Yet, Sabourin also enjoys talking about the sport's physical aspects and its game-winning goals.
"The goals, fights and hard hits," he said, breaking down the essence of hockey at the highest level. "Everything like that. I love to see when they are grinding it out and watching the excitement and celebration with this team. It gets me going, too."
Kolbe said Sabourin, who has broadcast Caps 200 games, has the perfect on-ice background to help fans understand the sport's nuances.
"It's never easy to break in, but he has grown leaps and bounds as a broadcaster and should be doing this for a long time," Kolbe said. "Some guys are meant to be in the game at some level, and Ken is one of those guys. He's probably been in almost every situation on ice that he can possibly talk about."
E-mail Tom Worgo at mailto:tworgo@patuxent.com

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