Bryan Kelly has made a mid-season jump from the Saanich Braves to the Edmonton Oilers.
Until he arrived in Edmonton on Nov. 28 to start his job as a communications intern with the NHL’s Oilers, Kelly and Jordan Caldwell were a two-man broadcast team calling play-by-play for the junior-B Braves.
Despite Kelly’s loyalty to the pride of Pearkes arena, the Camosun College applied communications grad couldn’t pass up a chance to jump to the big leagues.
“(Caldwell and I) always said we’re doing this for the Braves and because we want to get to the next level,” said Kelly, who applied for the internship online and was interviewed over Skype. “Everyone in the Braves organization is really supportive of the job.”
He didn’t have much time before leaving for Edmonton and his first “hello” moment: Kelly, rushing to ready himself on his first day, almost ran over goalie Nikolai Khabibulin in the hallway of Rexall Place prior to game time. But nothing’s been a bigger shock than the northern Alberta winter.
“I thought it was cold at Pearkes,” Kelly said. “For Braves games I wore wool socks and long johns, plus three shirts, a sweater and an overcoat over my suit jacket.
“I’ve been learning to deal with winter in Edmonton. It barely snows, but it’s just straight cold, often -40 in the mornings. I just got a block heater installed in my truck.”
The internship is set to end on April 1, when winter begins to ease up.
With the Oilers, Kelly helps with the team’s social media, monitoring the content and popularity of the team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. He also works on promotions, giveaways, prizes and contests and writes stories for Oilers.com about the team or the Oilers Octane ice dancers.
It’s a foot in the door of pro sports for the former Oak Bay High rugby player, who did freelance media and communications with Rugby Canada, and interned for the Victoria Salmon Kings last season.
Getting there was a bit of a rush, to say the least. Kelly was writing exams in the Royal Roads University bachelor of communications program the week of his departure.
“It was pretty crazy the way I packed up and left with pretty much nothing in my bank account. I drove overnight and got snowed in by an avalanche (just north of Kelowna). I got to Edmonton two hours before they played the Minnesota Wild. I changed into my suit in the parking lot in my truck, and in my first 10 seconds in the building I just about bumped into Khabibulin.”
During the season, Kelly will continue his studies at Royal Roads online.