Ten-year-old Keagan Winterlik worked side-by-side with Jake Elliott at the Langley Thunder Western Lacrosse Association game at Langley Events Centre on July 11. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photo

Veteran Thunder announcer gets a little help from future broadcaster

Keagan Winterlik, 10, was ‘discovered’ doing play-by-play of sister’s lacrosse game

Jake Elliott has worked in the broadcast booth for 18 years now, but like many young broadcasters, his start began well before that.

For Elliott, who is now 45 years old, it began at the home of one of his friends growing up.

“He had a French-speaking dad who would always watch the Montreal Canadiens on the French CBC so my friend and I would pretend we were the commentators in English and call the game,” Elliott recalled. “That was my first experience.”

So when Elliott saw a Twitter post from Vancouver Canadians broadcaster Rob Fai showing a young boy who spent the third period of his sister’s minor lacrosse game, standing at the boards doing play-by-play the entire time, he knew he had to reach out.

And that is how 10-year-old Keagan Winterlik wound up sitting side-by-side with Elliott at the Langley Thunder Western Lacrosse Association game at Langley Events Centre on July 11.

“When I saw (the clip of) Keagan, it was just the coolest thing ever,” Elliott said. “And I wanted him to have the experience of calling a game.”

After tracking down Keagan’s family – and waiting for the youngster’s own lacrosse schedule to clear up – the date was finally set for the pair to call their game.

Ahead of the game, Keagan was excited to get his chance to make his call. None of that comes as a surprise to his father, Brad, who described his youngest of three as “the talkative one.”

Keagan did some play-by-play during the Thunder game, even being lucky enough to call Langley’s fourth goal, his voice rising a few octaves to announce the goal as he stretched out the ‘Scores’ call for a few seconds like a seasoned veteran.

Elliott just wanted to reach out and offer a glimpse into what he does for a living.

“This is something I always wanted to do,” he explained.

Near the end of his lacrosse-playing days, Elliott began by doing colour commentary alongside Dan Marshall. Marshall – now the voice of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers – was commuting from the Interior to the Lower Mainland to call lacrosse games on weekends when his car broke down en route one game.

In a pinch, Elliott was asked to do play-by-play and the rest is history as he is now synonymous as the voice of lacrosse in British Columbia, at the junior, senior and professional levels. He also has a weekly radio show on all things lacrosse, Lacrosse Classified, alongside Brad Challoner.

He has also previously done junior hockey, high school football and basketball, and even boxing.

Elliott is also a two-time recipient of the Tom Borelli Award as the National Lacrosse League media person of the year, winning the award in both 2012 and 2017.

And for him, it doesn’t even seem like work.

“I get to stay involved in the game, I get to watch the best sport on the planet from the best seat in the house every night and I am lucky enough to make a little money doing it.”

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