While keeping up with industry changes, Bryan Mudryk hopes to emulate the veterans
One of the NHL’s most iconic franchises has a new announcer in the broadcast booth, and he got his start at NAIT.
Bryan Mudryk (Radio and Television – TV ’98) was named the new voice of the Montreal Canadiens in September and will call 50 regional broadcasts on TSN.
“It really is a privilege and an honour to call NHL hockey games,” he says. “It's a thrill.”
Mudryk has several years of International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) play-by-play under his belt, but this is his first permanent gig covering one team. Since learning that he’d landed the job in late August, Mudryk has been immersed in all things Habs. The legendary team has been around since before the start of the NHL, in which it holds the record for winning the most Stanley Cups, at 24.
While the team has a long history, Mudryk’s focus is the 2018-19 season. “My job is to know the Canadiens inside and out,” he says. “I have hit the ground running with covering this team.”
Mudryk grew up in northern Alberta in the 1980s during the Edmonton Oilers heyday, and his family still roots for the orange and blue. But he says things can change.
“My youngest nephew Jesse – he's seven – he already sent me a cool drawing in the mail of the Habs logo. That was pretty cute.”
The path to the Habs
Mudryk has had a diverse career. Shortly after graduating, and before moving to sports broadcasting, he was a weather presenter in Lloydminster, where he told viewers “no flurries, no worries.” He joined TSN in 2006, and has spent several years as part of the network’s curling broadcast team, which he’ll continue.
In addition to curling, Mudryk has covered a wide range of sports with TSN. “At the London  Olympics, I remember calling an equestrian [event] and then jumping out of the booth and calling judo, and then calling taekwondo,” he says.
"I remember calling an equestrian [event] and then jumping out of the booth and calling judo, and then calling taekwondo.”
Mudryk has been part of TSN’s broadcast team for the IIHF U18 world hockey championship since 2015, where he covered the likes of Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi and Auston Matthews.
“I watch these young men come up, and then they’re NHL stars later. I kind of have that early rapport and connection with them.”
But Mudryk knows making it in sports broadcasting requires more than being comfortable no matter what athletics you end up covering (though he notes it’s worth saying yes to everything). It’s about being well versed in the variety of media being used to tell those stories.
“Broadcasting has changed in the time I've been in it,” he says. “Back in the day, there was one TSN, now there are five [TSN television] channels.”
In addition to traditional media channels, there are broadcast jobs within digital streams, which continue to open up opportunities that didn’t exist before, like gathering video for social media, or shooting short stories specifically for teams to use on their websites.
“[There are] web channels with streaming, Oilers TV and HabsTV; franchises have their own mini TV stations and there are videos everywhere,” says Mudryk. The Habs broadcast is on TV, but he remains connected digitally. Mudryk engages with hockey fans through social media who have questions or comments about the league and the team, and says that’s an important part of his job.
Joining his idols
With the ever-growing list of broadcast experiences Mudryk has, it’s likely he’s now landing on Radio and Television grads' lists of people they strive to emulate.
“He will come to speak to students whenever he’s in town and he relates so well to them,” says instructor Chris Durham (Radio and Television Arts ’85). “Bryan has an indomitable spirit and is an example of good things happening to good people. He’s one of the best to come out of Radio and Television and I’m proud to call him a friend.”
Over the years, Mudryk has worked to follow in the footsteps of his broadcasting idols. Among them are Chris Cuthbert, who has been calling football and hockey for over 30 years; Gord Miller, who knows the NHL inside out; and the incomparable Bob Cole, who will call his final games this season, concluding a 50-year career. Cole brings emotion into each broadcast, and it’s a quality Mudryk admires.
“[He’s] like a conductor. You just want to listen to him because he's excited and then you get excited,” he says.
Mudryk says he always dreamed that one day he’d wind up at TSN. When he reflects on his career so far, he counts himself lucky to be able to work alongside people like his heroes.
“I don't think there's anything sweeter in life than doing that,” he says. “It's a dream come true to have a goal, want to succeed, and then accomplish that goal. I’m so lucky.”
Driven to give back
Bryan Mudryk almost didn’t make it through his diploma. Before even setting foot in a classroom, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He battled it during that time, beat it and graduated – only to see cancer return just after he got into the industry. Then, he beat it again.
Today, Mudryk has made a tradition of fundraising for those affected by the disease. For 15 years he spearheaded the Bryan Mudryk Golf Classic, organized annually by his mother, Terry. The tournament also provided a scholarship for students with cancer. By the time of its conclusion in 2017, it had raised $1.8 million for the Cross Cancer Institute.