Despite being out for the season with a lower-body injury, Spokane Chiefs forward Jake McGrew added to his highlight tape on Saturday against Kootenay.
Without even stepping on the ice.
McGrew made his on-air debut during Spokane’s 5-2 win against the Ice at the Arena, serving as the color commentator alongside Dennis Patchin on SWX’s broadcast of the game.
Mark Miles, the Chiefs’ vice president of operations/sales, approached McGrew during the team’s practice on Friday and asked if he wanted to fill in as a color commentator during the broadcast.
“Why not?” McGrew remembers thinking. “It would be fun to step out of my comfort zone a little bit.”
Miles said it was Patchin’s idea, intended to mix things up.
Leading up to the broadcast, McGrew admitted he was nervous, but said his nerves settled down pretty quickly.
“It’s the game that I know, it’s what I love,” McGrew said. “It just comes to me naturally.”
The Chiefs were rested and refined against Kootenay due to the postponement of the game against the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 18.
While Spokane played fresh against the Ice, having six days to rest and practice, the Chiefs missed a chance to take on a conference opponent in the Thunderbirds, who would have played its fourth game in five nights if the game was played as scheduled.
“We missed an opportunity to play a team in our conference tired,” coach Don Nachbaur said. “We played a lot of those games, and we haven’t had a chance to play a lot of tired teams.”
Spokane is aware of how difficult to play four games in five nights, as the Chiefs have done it three times since the Christmas break ended on Dec. 27.
Instead of meeting an exhausted Seattle team, the Thunderbirds will be on two-day rest when they travel to take on the Chiefs at the Arena on Tuesday.
Spokane, which won at Everett on Sunday, will now only have one day of rest.
Ending the line dance
Nachbaur, dealing with injuries and inconsistent play, believes he’s found some stability with his offensive lines.
Against Kootenay, Nachbaur sent out four offensive lines he hopes, barring any injury, he can keep together moving forward.
“We had a lot of injuries and we had to find some chemistry with the guys that we had,” Nachbaur said. “But our lines are put together now with a little bit of thought behind it.”
The Chiefs starting line against Kootenay, consisting of Ethan McIndoe, Hudson Elynuik and Rykr Cole, that can go toe-to-toe with other team’s strength and size.
Nachbaur likes to utilize a line consisting Riley Woods, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Kailer Yamamoto to overwhelm opponents with its speed.
Against Kootenay, the Chiefs’ four goals scored by forwards were spread out between three different offensive lines.
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