By Andrea DeMeer/The Similameen Spotlight
Expect great things from Dawson McFarlane.
Indeed, you are already getting them.
At 17 he is one the youngest – and certainly one of the best dressed – broadcasters in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).
He stepped on that path before he even entered high school.
McFarlane confessed the only thing he liked about the sport, initially, was watching the Zamboni.
However, when he was seven, he laced up his skates and played five years of minor hockey. The die was cast.
At age 12, he traded a stick for the microphone, when a broadcaster failed to show up for a Posse game.
He was there to watch the game with his parents.
McFarlane raised his hand.
“I was scared, and I was a little nervous about all the technology,” he told the Spotlight in an interview.
He took quickly to the challenge, practicing, and following and learning from seasoned commentators.
One of the first things he mastered was “the skill to not swear. I have that down.”
He also learned the art of balance.
McFarlane strives to keep personal feelings out of his broadcasts, noting it is something not all announcers manage to achieve.
“As far as bias goes, I try to be excited when the out-of-town team scores, even when I’m not really excited.”
Team general manager Mark McNaughton called McFarlane “an integral part” of the Posse organization.
“I would never have gone out searching for a preteen to fill that position,” he admitted.
“But he’s passionate about that role and passionate about the communication side of our organization and he is obviously a young man who is growing in this position.”
He doesn’t wear a jersey to games – rather, always a natty suit and a bow tie – yet he is considered a Posse team member.
“To me he is just the same as our players. We have young athletes coming in and honing their skills and they are dedicated to their craft. Over the years, we’ve come to look at Dawson the same way.
“I could certainly, easily, see him turning this into a lifelong career, as his passion grows beyond what he is doing here.”
McFarlane is also a minor hockey referee, a job he took on about the same time he settled into a seat in the sound booth.
He has a Youtube channel that includes building his own online scoreboards and commenting on NHL games.
Some of his efforts attract up to 4,000 viewers, and via the KIJHL his commentary is watched by thousands of people weekly.
This year he has attended many away games with the Posse. He is growing his own fan base – gets selfie requests in arenas – and has been a guest commentator for other clubs at least twice.
“Who could not be a fan of what Dawson is doing?” asked McNaughton.
Emanuel Sequeira, director of KIJHL communications, considers McFarlane an asset for the team and the league.
“I think Dawson is doing a very good job and I like the initiative he has taken to do pre and post-game interviews that are posted on Posse social media,” said Sequeira.
“It gives the Posse fan base more content to enjoy. He is also part of a group of people in the league I count on to send me clips to use in the Plays of the Week.”
McFarlane’s own broadcast heroes include Al Murdock, from the Vancouver Canucks, and Andrew Imber, of the Florida Panthers.
He is ready to graduate from Princeton Secondary School this June, and plans to take a gap year to work and earn some money before attending BCIT to study radio arts and entertainment.
“I want to stay in the broadcast industry.”
A question he is asked frequently is: Why do you do this?
“I’d probably say it’s not to get something for myself, but to inspire kids that are younger than me…that they can do this.”