On Sept. 9 2021, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies partnered with Pattison Media to launch the HuskieFAN app and website. The app focuses on providing in-depth coverage of three Huskies teams — football, men’s hockey and women’s hockey.
Upon launching the app, users can see a stream of articles including game previews, player interviews and other general news regarding media coverage of the Huskies. A “What’s Trending” section outlines the top five articles for the week, providing fans with a great way to get a quick overview of Huskies happenings.
HuskieFAN offers a host of features, from live play-by-play radio of the Huskies football and hockey games to a podcast section that features player and coach interviews along with archives from prior radio broadcasts of live games. The past archives of broadcasts are especially useful when hockey and football games share the same start times, as fans are able to catch up on missed games.
Though the app’s focus is on football and hockey, it also contains articles and human interest features related to other sports on campus, including soccer and basketball. According to Wray Morrison, HuskieFAN senior producer host and partner coordinator, fans should “stay tuned” about possible plans to expand play-by-play coverage to other teams.
Morrison, a mainstay in Huskies sports coverage dating back to the 1980s, is also headlining football and men’s hockey play-by-play. Morrison began his sports journalism career as a Huskies hockey analyst with campus radio station CJUS-FM, where he witnessed Huskies greats such as Dave Adolph win three Canada West Championship titles.
“I’ll never forget being at the 1990 Vanier Cup because it was the first time that the Huskies had won a championship… I’ll never forget standing on the sidelines and seeing that,” said Morrison in an interview with the Sheaf.
He is thankful for the opportunity to cover Huskies athletics again with HuskieFAN. “To have things come full circle and to be around these athletes and this campus again… It’s just so exciting for me. I am so happy to be a part of this.”
Women’s hockey play-by-play will be delivered by Daniella Ponticelli and Katie Brickman-Young. Ponticelli, the morning anchor on Global News Regina, has experience with play-by-play as a previous in-game and television host for the Saskatchewan Rush Lacrosse Club and a play-by-play commentator for national-level roller derby. Brickman-Young, who has previously covered the WHL in Moose Jaw, will serve as the sports analyst and contribute stories to HuskieFAN.
“She is going to be terrific. I am a big fan of hers,” said Morrison regarding Ponticelli.
Pattison Media makes history by being the first private broadcaster to commit to broadcasting a full season of women’s hockey, a step that will help bolster coverage of women’s university sports in Canada.
“The opportunity to elevate women’s sports, we are really excited about that. We are also excited about telling stories… Our hope is to really elevate women’s sports across the board,” said Morrison.
All university sports were forced to take a season-long hiatus due to COVID-19, but their return this fall has been hotly anticipated by fans. The app serves as a great way to get reacclimated with your favourite teams as their seasons get underway.
“You can sense the excitement on campus. I am around the athletes all the time, more so the football team than anybody else, and these guys are raring to go after missing 2020… Fans are really engaged and ready to cheer about something again,” said Morrison.
The Huskies football team is currently 1-1 on the season with a bounceback 43-15 win against the UBC Thunderbirds in B.C., with the season home opener on Oct. 16 against the University of Alberta. The men’s and women’s hockey teams are playing well in preseason ahead of their season openers on Oct. 22.
Head to the app stores on both Apple and Android devices to download HuskieFAN and stay up to date with these teams and their exciting seasons ahead.