Voice of the Jets hanging up the mic

Dennis Beyak calling his final game Sunday

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This Sunday will mark the end of an era for the Winnipeg Jets, as Dennis Beyak, the team’s long time TV play-by-play voice, is calling it a career.

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This Sunday will mark the end of an era for the Winnipeg Jets, as Dennis Beyak, the team’s long time TV play-by-play voice, is calling it a career.

The news was announced over Twitter by Beyak’s employer, TSN, Thursday afternoon. What followed was a rush of kind acknowledgements from fans and colleagues, all praising Beyak for a stellar career that first began more than 50 years ago, the last 11 with the Jets.

“Just an absolute thank-you,” Beyak said in a phone interview when asked what message he’d like to return to fans. “Because without them none of this happens. They love hockey. They love their Winnipeg Jets. And I hope that over the 11 years, we were able to provide them with some entertainment.”

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS From left, Dennis Beyak, Brian Munz and Shane Hnidy were members of the original TSN broadcast crew for Winnipeg Jets games when the team returned to Winnipeg in 2011. TSN announced Thursday that Beyak will be retiring as the play-by-play commentator for Jets games at the end of the regular season.

Beyak has two more games remaining, with the Calgary Flames in town on Friday before the Seattle Kraken and Jets meet for the regular-season finale Sunday afternoon. He won’t be hanging up the headset permanently; Beyak has committed to contributing to TSN’s international coverage, including the World Hockey Championship in Finland in May and the World Juniors in Edmonton come August.

As for his decision to retire from the Jets on TSN broadcast, Beyak, following discussions with his wife Bev, said it just felt like the right moment. He admitted COVID-19 played a part, with the last couple seasons severely affected by the coronavirus.

Mostly, though, it was wanting to walk away on his own terms, knowing he was still capable of doing the job.

“I still like what I do,” Beyak said. “I had made the decision years ago that I wasn’t going to drag on in this business, and I just kind of felt this was a good time.”

A native of Winnipegosis, Beyak began his broadcasting career in 1970, doing radio play-by-play on CFAR 590 for the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Canada Hockey League. He’d have stops with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds before finally getting his shot in the NHL, in 1995, calling games for the Edmonton Oilers on CFRN-TV.

Beyak would head east after the station lost its TV broadcasting rights, eventually landing in Toronto in 1998, where he became the radio voice of the Maple Leafs on AM640. Years later, in 2005, he moved back to television, this time as the play-by-play voice of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

With the Atlanta Thrashers relocating to Winnipeg for the start of the 2011-12 NHL season, Beyak returned home to Manitoba to be the new face of the Jets. For more than a decade, his voice has been synonymous with the pro hockey scene in Winnipeg, where he became known for calls such as “bang-bang” and “round puck, round post, hit it square.”

Beyak admitted it will be difficult to walk away from a job he loves. He has so much respect for the analysts that sat beside him, each one he considers a good friend and consummate professional. He added without the crew working behind the scenes, including covering up the errors, the broadcast wouldn’t be what it is.

“Over the years, I have been fortunate, I have been blessed,” Beyak said. “I have worked with so many really, really good people. We’ve always had such a real good crew. That’s what made it fun, and those are the people that I’m going to miss. I’ve really have been fortunate to work with so many good people over the years and I’m just try to enjoy it as best I can down the stretch here.”

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 28, 2022 9:18 PM CDT: Updates thumbnail photo and photo caption.

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