by Debbie Little
in response to web site nca.com, “Magnificence” is hockey slang for a participant who’s liked not just for his talent, but in addition for his character. He is among the coolest guys on the staff and normally has nice tales. He can also have the very best circulate within the staff. ,
Appears like an excellent phrase for newly minted Corridor of Famer Ken Warkentin, who resides his childhood dream, although he needed to commerce skates for Salkie.
“It was my pipe dream to develop into a play-by-play announcer in hockey or a boy of shade,” Warkentin mentioned. “After which I discovered this factor on the sidelines, referred to as harness racing.”
On the age of 14, Warkentin noticed his first race at his hometown monitor, Greenwood Raceway in Toronto. And, on the time, he remembers studying the sports activities part of his native newspaper, Toronto StarAnd responding to a function that supplied younger followers the chance to fulfill a sports activities character.
Courtesy Ken Warkentin A younger Ken Warkentin is asking the race at Flamboro Downs.
Dave Landry For 31 years, Warkentin has been the voice of The Meadowlands.
So, he wrote a letter to the newspaper as he needed to fulfill Greenwood’s monitor announcer and was quickly approached by Jim Lampman, the Ontario Jockey Membership’s longtime publicity director.
“And I met Earl Lennox and I spent the entire evening there,” Warkentin mentioned. “And so they mentioned, ‘Should you ever wish to come up and name the qualifiers, you possibly can.’ which I did.”
Whereas in school, Workentin bought a summer time job at Greenwood working within the race workplace and referred to as the kid race.
One evening, when Lennox was on trip, Jack Stephens was presupposed to name, however he was operating late, so the judges requested Warkentin to offer change and submit parade.
As they have been on their technique to the again of the gate, Stephens lastly walked in and Warkentin handed him the mic and left to depart.
“He says ‘Hey, you understand these, do not you?'” Warkentin mentioned. “I say ‘Yeah, I believe so.’ And he gave me the mic and I did the primary race.
a Toronto columnist globe and mail The newspaper bought wind of the story and wrote concerning the aspiring announcer who bought her massive likelihood.
Warkentin grew up a number of streets away from Flamborough Downs monitor announcer Wayne Reed.
“I might drive to Flamborough and he would name me two races an evening and do it after the parade,” Warkentin mentioned. “I used to be not getting paid however he was giving me an excellent efficiency.”
When Reid retired, Warkentin turned a Flamborough announcer from 1982–90, earlier than transferring to the States.
After a one-year stint as publicity director and backup announcer at Northfield Park, Ohio, Warkentin discovered his dream job after being employed to work at The Meadowlands in 1991.
He’s now in his thirty first yr on the Mecca of harness racing and is fast to level out that all through his tenure, he has been a part of a prolific on-air staff that features John Bothe, Dave Brower, Shades Demsky, Edison Hatter included. , Bob Hayden, Dave Johnson, Dave Little, Sam Mackie and Jessica Otten.
Warkentin has and has carried out TV work on many various tracks all through his profession, and along with The Massive M, for greater than a dozen years, he has been part of broadcasts from Crimson Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island. One in every of which is the Maritime Province of Canada.
“Since The Meadowlands is not racing at that individual time, it permits him to do some work on our signature occasions,” mentioned Lee Drake, supervisor of racing, model and broadcast for Crimson Shores. “The winners are actually us and our staff. Ken is a real skilled. He at all times comes ready. And he’s a real delight to the shoppers and the horsemen get on very effectively with him too.
“When Kane involves Prince Edward Island, he is right here to work and whether or not it is on broadcast or for backfilling [announcer] When Vance Cameron goes to the sales space and calls some races or hosts one thing with me, he is only a supporter and that is why he is going into the Corridor of Fame.
Final week, whereas on a stroll, Warkentin acquired a name from Barry Lefkowitz, president of the US Harness Writers Affiliation, about his Communicator Corridor of Fame election.
“He instructed me after which he began to drool after which we began speaking about hockey for 2 hours,” Warkentin mentioned with amusing. “It is the essence of your profession. It is sort of the essence of your life. It places a pleasant bow on plenty of work.”
Although they by no means labored collectively, Tom Durkin, the previous voice of The Meadowlands, had a robust affect on the announcer that Warkentin would develop into.
“Way back, I attempted to determine the correct approach to do that and there weren’t many individuals who impressed me besides Tom Durkin,” Warkentin mentioned.
By the way, three of the very best recommendation Warkentin has ever acquired got here from everybody who has, at the least often, dealt with a mic.
“Jack Stevens instructed me ‘The celebrities are on monitor and your job is to reveal them. That is it. You are not the star, they’re the celebrities,'” mentioned Warkentin. “Earl Lennox mentioned ‘If you wish to push it’ It is as much as you however you really want to strive various things, totally different jobs.’ And [Hall of Famer] Jerry Connors instructed me ‘Speak to folks. Exit and ask questions.'”
Warkentin was extraordinarily near Corridor of Fame announcer Sam Mackie, who died unexpectedly in 2017 on the age of 54 from issues of stroke.
It isn’t misplaced on Warkentin that taking place the corridor he’ll return to the identical room with Mackie, as their sketches cling subsequent to one another. And he believes Mackie is completely satisfied for him.
“We have been an excellent staff,” Warkentin mentioned. “Sam was king. I attempt to be higher on daily basis. And I do know I am 63 and father time wins each time. However, while you’re in a position to make use of what you are good at And also you get pleasure from it, so is not it the important thing to life?
“It is bought to be enjoyable and if it is not enjoyable, discover one thing else. I actually just like the strain. Put me in that spot. I am prepared. I am able to go. Now, you possibly can gentle up.” Put me there. I wish to go there. I would like that strain.”
Drake traveled to Goshen, NY when the “King of PEI”, driver Wally Hennessy, was included and circled on his calendar on Sunday, July 2, 2023.
“He is very well mannered,” mentioned Warkentin’s Drake. “I am unsure he realizes the connection he has [with the fans], He is very recognizable and really accessible and simple to speak to, so he suits in completely with our island attraction right here.