Niagara IceDogs ink radio deal for OHL season

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Published September 23, 2021 at 5:50 pm

It sounds as though Ted Lehman will soon call his 1,000th Niagara IceDogs game — just at different spots on the dial.

The St. Catharines-based Ontario Hockey League franchise, whose audio broadcast rights were up in the air for the last few weeks, announced Thursday that it has a radio partner. The IceDogs will be broadcast on Welland-based Country89 (89.1 on FM) and GiantFM 91.7. Lehman, who provided play-by-play commentary from 2007 to ’19 when the ‘Dogs were on 610 CKTB, will return to the mic.

“Our partnership launches a new era in broadcasting that will provide excitement and enticement for Niagara hockey fans on-air, online and on location,” stated Mike Haberer, who is the general manager and general sales manager of Wellport broadcasting.

Lehman, per an IceDogs media release from June 2019, has commentated 996 games.

The team’s home games are also covered by YourTV Niagara, where the PxP/analyst duo of Steve Clark and Ed Burkholder are returning.

The 20-team OHL is returning to competition after being forced to abandon the 2019-20 season and lay out all of ’20-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league is intent on playing a standard-length 68-game regular season, but there will be more emphasis on conference play, and the three U.S.-based franchises will only play each other until the first week of November.

The IceDogs have four exhibition games left, including an interconference home-and-home this weekend against the Guelph Storm, with their home game slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 25) at Meridian Centre.

The regular-season opener is Oct. 7 on the road against the Barrie Colts. Barrie are now coached by Marty Williamson, who guided the IceDogs to Eastern Conference titles in 2012 and ’16. The home opener is against the Oshawa Generals on Oct. 9.

Whether more than 1,000 fans will be allowed into Meridian Centre for the IceDogs’ first official home game in 19 months is unknown. That is the current cap on capacity for indoor sports events in Ontario, regardless of the arena’s capacity.

The OHL announced a mandatory vaccine policy that covers anyone age 12 and over who will be in one of its arenas well before Ontario’s makeshift vaccine passport system went into effect on Wednesday (Sept. 22).

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