BCHL: Off the Wahl now a SilverBack

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks have hired the former Trail Smoke Eater director of marketing and play-by-play broadcaster Chris Wahl Friday.

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks officially announced the hiring of former Trail Smoke Eater director of marketing and play-by-play broadcaster Chris Wahl Friday.

Wahl, 28, joins the SilverBacks after two seasons with the Smoke Eaters. He was named Trail’s director of marketing in May 2012, and became a regular Smoke Eater contributor to the Trail Times last season  with his “Off the Wahl” editorials.

“Leaving Trail, and for a division rival to boot, was certainly a difficult decision,” Wahl said in his blog last week. “Smoke Eaters fans should definitely be excited about next season: there are some terrific players, and terrific young men set to don the orange and black in 2013-14 and they deserve your support.”

Before his time in Trail, Wahl called games for the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels for two seasons. Known for his enthusiastic and knowledgable commentary, Wahl, enjoyed his time with Smoke Eaters, but simply found a better opportunity.

“Obviously money is part of it, but (he has) the opportunity also to broadcast all 58 games on the radio up in Salmon Arm,” said Trail president Tom Gawryletz at the AGM last month.

Wahl joins a SilverBack team that narrowly beat out the Smoke Eaters for the final playoff spot in the BCHL Interior division last season.

“I’m very excited to be joining a quality organization in Salmon Arm,” Wahl told the Salmon Arm Observer. “During my travels with the Smoke Eaters, the Shaw Centre stood out as a lively, well-supported atmosphere and I can’t wait to help build on that strong foundation heading into the 2013-14 season.”

The SilverBacks recently announced the sale of the team to Alberta businessman and Trail-born Dale Unruh. However, Troy Mick continues his role as coach and GM as well as a strong minority owner.

“We are very excited to announce that Chris Wahl has joined the SilverBacks hockey club . . . Walzy, as he is known through the BCHL circles, is a young, energetic, passionate people person who will be a great addition to our team,” said  Mick. “We wanted to combine both the marketing and play-by-play positions this year to streamline our operations, and Chris’s resumé rose to the top of the applicants because of his knowledge of the BCHL and his proven professionalism within the league.”

Wahl relocated to Salmon Arm in time to start his duties with the team on May 27.