Crossing 700: A Look Back With Robb Hunter

From humble beginnings, to a career that has spanned 700+ games in the AJHL, Robb Hunter has been there, seen that. If you follow the Bonnyville Pontiacs, there’s almost a 99% chance you know Robb Hunter, or at least his voice. Hunter has been the play-by-play voice of the Pontiacs since the day Pontiacs games were first sent across the airwaves.

Just something to do

“The whole time I was at [St. Francis Xavier] I was volunteering for the campus radio station. While I was there I had the chance to call men’s and women’s hockey games at St. FX. It was something I did for fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Hunter recollects.

Robb Hunter would leave St. Francis Xavier with an Information systems degree in hand, and not many jobs in field, Robb turned back to broadcasting hockey games. Hunter took a short diploma program at Western Academy Broadcasting College. He would move up to prince Albert and call Prince Alberta AAA Midget Mintos games.

The story as we know it

The 700 mark clock started ticking when Robb moved up to Bonnyville in May 2006. In his first year, Hunter got to call future NHLer Justin Fontaine in his first season. At the time, Hunter was Kool 101.3’s news director and morning show co-host. The first year of games was a small venture into what it is now. Robb worked out a partnership with the Pontiacs organization and sponsors for the broadcast. Originally the broadcasts were only once per week. In the first year, Hunter only called 26 regular season games. In ’06-’07 the Pontiacs made a brief five game appearance in the playoffs.

“I had just the 31 games in the first season. We had success with sponsors, and more people jumping on board to support the broadcasts. We’ve been able to broadcast every game since then.” Hunter says.

March 22, 2017

March 22, 2017 marked Robb Hunter’s 700 game behind the mic as the play-by-play voice of the Bonnyville Pontiacs. The Yaks would drop the home playoff game 3-2 in overtime to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Jared White scored the overtime winner.

Going national and international

Hunter has been behind the mic for 600+ games that did not involve the Bonnyville Pontiacs. He has broadcasted numerous Hockey Canada events. Of note, he called the 2012 IIHF World Juniors in Calgary.

“It was quite the experience. That was the semi-final where Canada was down 5-1 going into the third, and Canada came all the way back… It was quite an emotional game to call.” Hunter explains.

“I had the opportunity to call a World U-17 tournament held in Victoriaville, Quebec. There were a couple underagers there. Typically, it’s a tournament for 16 year olds, but there were two players even younger than that. One was playing for Team USA by the name of Jack Eichel, and the other was playing for Team Ontario, and it was Connor McDavid. It was the first ever hockey game competed between those two players. The Americans ended up winning that game 6-5.”

 Going strong

Robb Hunter will return to the mic for the 2017-2018. He is looking forward to spring camp, and the fall camp that is a summer away yet.

“I’ll try my best to take in as much of spring camp as I can… With fall camp rolling around in august, I will be watching to see who may be on the team, and will for sure be watching during exhibition.” Hunter says.