This 13-year-old play-by-play announcer is rocking the world of hockey

Seth Hyde is being mentored by Newfoundland Growlers announcer Chris Ballard and sat with Ballard at a Growlers game recently. (Submitted by Jackie Hyde)

For those regularly attending minor league hockey games in St. John’s, Seth Hyde is a familiar face — and voice.

The St. John’s native is developing a career as a hockey commentator — at only 13 years of age.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since a young age,” Seth told CBC News recently. 

Seth was about three or four years old when he started calling games in the family living room, says his mother, Jackie Hyde.

“We noticed him picking up a hockey stick when he was a toddler and he’d go around babbling,” said Hyde.

“As he learned to speak … he would run around the family room and he would be doing the commentary of an imaginary game.”

Seth and Ashley Haley, another young commentator, called their first Avalon Celtics game together in early 2021. (Submitted by Jackie Hyde)

When Seth got older and started playing hockey video games, he would turn down the volume and do his own commentary.

Something that was nothing unusual for the parents was soon noticed by family and friends.

Then, during a coronavirus outbreak in the province in February, Seth — who plays hockey himself in the Avalon Minor Hockey Association — seized an opportunity to take his hobby from the living room to the arena.

With no spectators allowed, the Avalon Celtics U11A had started to live stream their games on social media. Seeing his chance, Seth contacted Steve Power, the team’s technical director, who agreed to let Seth call a game.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen. It was live and he was so excited,” said Hyde.

As it turned out, Seth did pretty well, she said.

“Steve Power called five minutes into the game and he said, ’Seth can do as many games as he wants whenever he wants.'”

Her son’s commentary, says Jackie, has been well received by the hockey community.

“People are just drawn to him. They come over, they thank him. They’re so appreciative because their elderly grandparents don’t miss a game anymore,” said Jackie. People in places as far away as South Africa and Dubai have tuned in to games, she said.

Seth’s abilities are in high demand.

Seth and his mother, Jackie Hyde, attend a game of the Avalon Celtics U11A at Feildian Gardens in St. John’s. Seth regularly calls games for the team. (Submitted by Jackie Hyde)

The eighth-grader calls games for three teams — the Bigs Avalon Junior Capitals, the Pinnacle Growlers and the Avalon Celtics U11A — and has had to turn down requests by four more teams.

Growing demand for Seth, Hyde jokes, has turned his parents into his managers.

Seth not only has Twitter and Facebook pages but website domain names and a logo, designed by his father.

“We want him to understand how much goes into the back end of it, too,” said Hyde.

Seth’s talent has also been noticed by professional commentators. Newfoundland Growlers commentator Chris Ballard has joined Seth at a few games, and word of the budding commentator has even travelled to Toronto, where TSN sportscaster James Duthie praised a clip of Seth calling a game.

“Seth is coming for all our jobs!” he tweeted, sharing a clip in which Seth said the goaltender was “hung out to dry like a flake of salt fish.”

Seth says when he calls games, it’s important to him to use comparisons his local audience can relate to.

“I’ll look at some stuff going on in Newfoundland right now,” said Seth.

“Sometimes I’ll say the tension in this game is going up like the sugary drink tax.”

For his professional future, Seth has big plans — he wants to go to journalism school and then work as a professional sportscaster for the NHL.

Between calling, playing and watching games, says his mother, there’s not much room for anything else.

“It’s hockey, hockey, hockey.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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