Many young hockey players have to come to terms with their dreams of going pro ending. Cam Moon, a NAIT Radio and Television alumnus and the Edmonton Oilers play-by-play announcer for 630 CHED, was no exception. Instead, Moon found solace working in the radio industry, sharing his love of hockey with listeners each game.
Moon has played hockey for his entire life, beginning his playing “as soon as he was able to.” He moved away from home to play junior at 17, working at hockey schools over the summer to make money in the offseason. Despite his passion, he quickly realized that his dreams of going pro were unlikely.
“I was all in as a player until junior was done and then I really didn’t start thinking about life after hockey until my last year of junior. So when I was 20 … It was painfully obvious to me that playing the game as a pro, I just didn’t think was an option… I wanted to move on to what was next,” said Moon in an interview with the Nugget.
Cam Moon ended up taking his hockey experience into the Radio and Television program at NAIT. He knew about the program and wanted to move back to Edmonton. While at NAIT, Moon learned more than just technical know-how. Working with people from all walks of life prepared him for working in industry.
“When I came [to NAIT], I was now in school with people from very diverse backgrounds and that helped open things up for me. I think I learned more just through the people I went to school with about other aspects of the radio and television industry, but just life,” said Moon. “I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy everything about the industry and then when I came here it just reaffirmed that for me.”
During his time at NAIT, Moon also worked several jobs in the industry.
“The first year [at NAIT] I played for the Ooks, the second year I got [a] TV job so I was going all over the place while I was going to school, but I was like, ‘I needed more.’ And back then, there was no internet broadcast, they don’t exist. So it’s either on air or nothing.”
What Moon needed was a job in the sports industry, one that could use his knowledge of hockey in a practical way. Opportunities were limited, with only a few teams having positions for broadcasters. Moon got a position in Wetaskawin doing commentary.
“They actually were on the air … I got paid like nothing but I did it because I was like, ‘I need to do something. I need to push forward.’”
Moon figured the position would look good on a resume and increase his understanding of how to work during a live broadcast, but it alone wasn’t enough for him. He also got a position for Shaw Cable 10 doing in-between period interviews—one that he figured out as he went.
“Did I know what I was doing? No, but I figured it out.”
Eventually, Moon got a bigger opportunity to kickstart his career.
“Soon thereafter, I got my first play-by-play job, which was in Nanaimo and then that really got the ball rolling. But it was like a real job. It’s a busy job. There [were] a lot of hours but it was fun.”
Moon’s outlook on life mirrors his time as a goalie. In a game, goalies have to focus on the next play to stop the puck, but they can’t control what is happening elsewhere on the ice. Throughout his career, Moon has done something similar by taking what he can and not thinking about what happens next.
“A door opens and you walk through it. I don’t know where the next adventure takes me. I have no idea but right now the only thing I worry about is the next game,” said Moon. “And I’ve always been like that. I know it sounds very coach speak, very cliche but it’s true. I got to do the best I can possibly do that next game. If I take care of those little next games, then the big stuff will take care of itself.”
But Moon believes that waiting for your time isn’t all you have to do. A strong work ethic is important, especially in the competitive radio industry, where positions can be few and far between.
“Those that can do multiple things and are willing to do it from a team point of view and have the work ethic are the ones that are successful,” Moon explained.
“You know you’re going to be able to get in there, and maybe it’s not exactly the job that you want but it will move you forward because you’re gaining experience, you’re doing some things that are related to where you ultimately want to go and [you’re] showing that you’ll get in there and grind … it’s worth its weight in gold.”
Moon has had a 20+ year career in the industry, and he credits his time at NAIT for preparing him what to expect.
“I look back at it and it was some of the best years of my life,” Moon said, referring to his schooling at NAIT. “It was an incredibly positive experience, and I can’t say enough about how well it prepared me to get into the industry.”
Moon continues to live his life one day at a time and focuses on the little things that make him happy.
“Chase the fun. That’s what I always do. The money will take care of itself.”
Cover photo via Red Deer Express