The voice of the Okotoks Oilers is stepping down.
After providing play-by-play on Okotoks Oilers broadcasts for more than 10 years on The Eagle 100.9, Gino De Paoli is departing to pursue a new opportunity.
De Paoli says there have been no shortage of wild and memorable moments in his time calling Oilers games.
“We had the AJHL South final against Brooks in Okotoks my first year there, there was probably like 20,000 there. We had the first South final win, a championship berth, and numerous NHL draft picks. Even last year, I think, was one of my favourite seasons, just how fun the team was to watch.”
Among the NHL drafts De Paoli got a front-row view of are: Dylan Holloway, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Quinn Olson, and Rieger Lorenz.
He also had the pleasure of calling two WCBL championships with the Okotoks Dawgs.
Through it all, he developed bonds with countless community members that he won’t forget any time soon.
“It’s been wild and I’m going to miss everyone involved. It’s just time to go and it’s not goodbye, it’s 'see you later.' I love you all, thank you so much.”
De Paoli attended the Oilers’ annual golf tournament on the same day he made the announcement and received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
"Few at this level of hockey have promoted the brand of their team as much as did Gino over the course of his time in Okotoks," wrote the Oilers in a statement.
"The Oilers owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid, as his endless passion for the organization permeated the Okotoks community and helped to push the franchise in a modern direction, entertaining existing fans and creating new fans all at the same time."
Moving forward, Oilers away games will still be broadcast on The Eagle 100.9.
The Oilers will use a rotating cast of broadcasters for their home webcasts and road radio broadcasts.
The Okotoks Oilers ended their pre season with a back-and-forth battle with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks on Sunday afternoon and giving them a 6-5 win.
The Oilers’ attention now turns to the team’s season-opening games. Taking on the Camrose Kodiaks tomorrow (Sept. 15) and Saturday, with both games to be broadcast on The Eagle at 6:45 p.m.
Assistant General Manager and experienced broadcaster Tyler King will provide commentary for the two games, which will both have a 7:00 p.m. start.