BONY Q & A with Elizabeth Bernath | The Battle of New York :: A Tri-State Area Hockey Blog

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BONY Q A with Elizabeth Bernath

August 26, 2010   ·   Derek Felix   ·   Jump to comments

Imagine yourself behind the mic getting a chance to call the action. Thats exactly what Elizabeth Bernath gets to do for her college Oswego State in upstate New York.

The junior enters her second season on the school radio broadcasting the Lady Lakers this Fall. Before transferring last year, Bernath got some experience as a radio DJ at Middlesex Community College closer to her North Brunswick home in Jersey. She made the adjustment from a music major to communications at Oswego where the excited Devil fan- who originally grew up in Houston during the clubs second Stanley Cup- is looking forward to another fun winter calling puck.

We caught up with her this past week, discussing a variety of topics including Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils, the plight of Oswego hockey and her love of Iron Maiden.

Battle Of NY: How did you get into hockey?
Elizabeth Bernath: I started out just watching games on TV whenever my family had one on but my “a-ha” moment with hockey would have to have been my first live game. My uncle took me to see the Devils play the St. Louis Blues when I was 10 years old and I’ve been hooked on hockey ever since. 


BONY: Youre a Devils fan. How long have you drank the Kool Aid?

EB: I’ve been a lifelong fan of the Devils. I was actually living in Texas when the Devils played the Dallas Stars in the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals so that was a pretty rough time. Now I’m up in Sabres country but there’s a surprising amount of Rangers fans lurking around that place. 


BONY:  Do you go to games? Anything stand out?

EB: Yes, I’ve been to tons of Devils games. The thing that stands out to me the most when you’re at a game is how knowledgeable and passionate the fan base is. You can walk up to anyone in the arena that’s wearing a Devils jersey and talk some serious hockey with them and you’ll always leave the game with more friends than you walked in with from talking to the other people in your section. It’s really like a big hockey family.


BONY: If yes, give us your Rock experience.

EB: The Rock is a great place to see a hockey game. It’s a state of the art building and was obviously designed with hockey in mind. I’ve been seated all over the arena, from the first row behind the bench to the last row in the upper corners, and there’s not a bad seat to be had in the building. Wherever your seat may be you always feel like you’re right on top of the ice and that building can really get loud.


BONY: Last night I dreamt that Kovalchuk scored off a face off from way out. Im a Ranger fan. Does it mean anything?

EB: It’s your fear of him being a Devil and the Rangers facing him six times a year manifesting itself in your unconscious mind.


BONY: Given the leagues stance on Ilya, are we doomed for another lockout?

EB: I wish I could say no, but it’s hard to not think about the possibility of another lockout with there currently being so much tension in the hockey world. A lot of people are unhappy with the arbitrators decision to rule in favor of the NHL and against the NHLPA in regards to the Ilya Kovalchuk contract and the rejection of his contract while so many other similar contracts have already been passed by the NHL definitely raises more questions than it answers. As the NHL continues to review the similar contracts in question we will hopefully have more clarification as to what makes a long term deal acceptable.


BONY: You broadcast your schools (Oswego) games. How long have you done it and whats the experience been like?

EB: I transferred to Oswego last summer so this past year was my first season broadcasting the women’s hockey games. I was a little nervous at first but once the game starts you forget that people are listening to you and your instincts about the game take over.


BONY: When you first started, did it take adjusting due to games pace?

EB: No, not at all. I’m used to watching the game at the NHL level so following college hockey hasn’t been difficult for me.


BONY: Why radio? Any influences?

EB: At the first college I attended we only had a radio station, not a TV station, so I just kind of fell into it. I started off by picking up a shift as a newscaster, then I became that station’s sportswriter later on. Now, at Oswego, I’ve moved on to sports broadcasting by calling hockey games. My biggest influence would have to be Mike “Doc” Emrick. As a Devils fan I’m lucky enough to get to hear him call tons of games and he’s great at what he does. He really loves the game and it shows in his work.


BONY: Whats the best game you called?

EB: The best game I’ve called so far would have to be when Oswego’s women’s team beat Utica 3-2 in OT. It looked like Oswego was going to win the game but Utica came back to tie it with 17 seconds left to force the game into overtime. The tying goal really energized Utica and they came out strong to begin the extra time, but then they took a penalty to give Oswego a power play where Oswego won the game 3-2.


BONY: How exciting was the mens season?

EB: Watching the men’s team this past season was incredibly exciting. A 26-3 record is something that you’re not going to see happen very often and when they were dominating opponents by scores of 8-1 and 10-1 you knew you were witnessing something special. Unfortunately, the team fell in the NCAA D-III Semifinal by a score of 4-3 in heartbreaking fashion when St. Norbert scored the GWG with less than 40 seconds remaining in regulation. It wasn’t the storybook ending that all of us at Oswego were hoping for but the boys still have a lot to be proud of.


BONY: Most of the team returns incl. 3 of the top 4 scorers. What should we expect?

EB: The Lakers did lose their leading scorer, but this team still knows how to score goals and we should see the same high powered Oswego offense next season. I think where we’ll really see a difference is in the team toughness. Expect to see bigger players coming in with this years recruiting who will make Oswego a tougher team to play against.


BONY: The women havent had as much success. Any chance that changes?

EB: The women’s program at Oswego just returned from a long hiatus in 2006 so it’s still a young program that’s building itself up. The recruiting class looks stronger every year and I would expect to see their record improve every season as a result of that.


BONY: What has your Oswego experience been like? Different than Jersey?

EB: Oswego is so very different from Jersey. Getting through my first Oswego winter wasn’t easy. It was bitterly cold and the constant wind coming off of Lake Ontario makes being outside for even short periods of time borderline unbearable. Fortunately the weather is gorgeous for the rest of the year though. The other major difference is that compared to being in Jersey, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. In Jersey we have so much in so little space, but Upstate NY is the exact opposite with so little in so much space.
BONY: What is your major?
EB: My major is Broadcasting & Mass Communication and I also minor in Athletic Coaching with a concentration in ice hockey.


BONY: Do you plan to continue radio possibly in future?

EB: Absolutely, I love radio and the sports broadcasting industry. I may transfer over to TV someday but regardless of the medium I’ll hopefully always be involved in hockey.


BONY: Are you a celebrity on campus?

EB: Hahanot at all! I tend to keep to myself in my free time so I have a pretty low profile.


BONY: Youve taken to French.

EB: Yes, I started studying French 2 years ago and I really enjoy it. I’d tried learning other languages in the past and French just came to me easier than the others had. I’d love to move to Quebec for a year or so to be surrounded by the language and try to really learn all of the little nuances of it.


BONY: Do you also play sports? Whats your best?

EB: I play ice hockey at school on the women’s club team. Anyone who has seen me play could tell you that I’m far from graceful on the ice but it’s my absolute favorite sport and I have more fun playing it than I do anything else. I played soccer and swam competitively through high school but hockey is the only thing I’m committed to right now.


BONY: Whats on your Ipod?

EB: My musical taste is all over the place. I have everything from Carrie Underwood to Bon Jovi to the Dropkick Murphys.


BONY: Any fave artists/concerts?

EB: My favorite concert would have to be Iron Maiden. I’ve seen every show they’ve played in Jersey since I moved there in ‘02. I’ve even gone to the same tour more than once. Their live show is better than any other that I’ve ever seen. 


BONY: Fave movies/quotes.

EB: I love anything with Will Ferrell in it. Anchorman, Elf, Blades of Glory… I can pretty much recite all of his lines.


BONY: Read the future. 2010-11 Devils

EB: Obviously there’s so much riding on whether or not Kovalchuk will be a Devils so it’s hard to say with that situation still being unresolved. Expect a breakout season from David Clarkson. I’m sure that last season left a bit of a bad taste in his mouth since he missed a substantial amount of time with a broken leg. Now that he has re-signed a multi-year deal with the Devils he will want to show everyone what he’s capable of. Also, the return of Jason Arnott is a huge plus for this team. Not only is he a reliable player who can fill the gap that the Devils had last season on the second line, but also the experience and leadership he brings as a veteran player might be just what the team needs to get them out of their playoff slump. Lastly, there is John MacLean finally getting his chance as an NHL head coach. MacLean has a simple philosophy as coach and it is that hard work breeds winning results. Don’t expect a fancy new system from him, just solid, defensively sound, offensively opportunistic hockey.


BONY: Final question. You play the guitar. How good are you? Can you rock?

EB: I try to. I started out about 8 years ago and took lessons at first but that route wasn’t for me. Instead I just listened to old Aerosmith albums and tried to copy Joe Perry and I learned way more that way. I’ve always been really into the blues infused rock style he plays, but now I try to play a little of everything.


Thanks again to Liz for taking time out of her summer schedule. Shes back up at school for Year Two and can be heard on Oswegos radio station 88.9 FM during the semester. You can also find her tweeting away her thoughts on hockey, school, music and shopping over on Twitter.

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