For Bob Somerfeld, the Selkirk Rec Complex is more than just a hockey arena, it’s home to some of his fondest memories.
From announcing Selkirk Steelers games to getting to know the volunteers, players and coaching staff, Somerfeld has had a front row seat to it all.
The 52-year-old has been the Steelers game announcer for 14 years and has been with the Selkirk Steelers Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club for 25 years.
He got his start doing the music during home games before he made his way into both the penalty and now press box calling the shots during the games.
“My two passions in life are sports and music so it’s a perfect mix, a perfect fit for me,” Somerfeld said with a smile while standing inside the press box at the rec complex last Thursday afternoon.
“I enjoy watching the games, I enjoy everything about the games.”
Over the years he’s also come up with his own catchphrase to announce the Steelers, “let’s make some noise for your steeltown boys,” to pump up the crowd.
“I’ve been following the Steelers my whole life so to become part of the organization was really special to me,” he said.
Somerfeld said the key to being a good game announcer is using your own voice.
“You can’t make up a voice … and you have to bring a little excitement to the game and when you announce,” he said. “I found that the more excited I get about us scoring the more excited the fans get.”
Somerfeld also owns his own music company, Somerfeld Sound, so becoming an announcer was a natural fit for him.
“It’s been amazing,” Somerfeld said, referring to all of the Steelers players he’s watched over the years. “Every team is different but most of them are just incredible young men.”
But Somerfeld admits one thing he’s noticed over the past couple years are more empty seats in the stands during home games.
The Selkirk Rec Complex, which opened in May 1990, holds roughly 2,000 fans, but lately only around 500 of those seats are filled during home games.
“I’ve noticed over the last four or five years that attendance has been declining,” he said. “It’s unfortunate because we need the support, the players need the support and we should consider ourselves lucky to have Junior ‘A’ and Junior ‘B’ hockey in Selkirk.
“The only way to keep them going is to come out to some games.”
Somerfeld added some of the biggest crowds he’s ever seen was during the 2006-07 season.
“It was really fun to come to work everyday when you had that many fans and the energy in the building,” he said. “The game seven of the 06’ 07’ Anavet Cup run was probably the greatest game I’ve ever seen in my life to be a part of.”
He added the best part about that game was when the Steelers scored the winning goal and “the roof completely came off the place.”
“There was chaos on the ice … the fans were going crazy and the players were going crazy.”
As of Monday afternoon, the Steelers sat in third place in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Their next home game is on Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. when they will go up against the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Blizzard team from The Pas.