Kyle Balharry, with back to camera, directing the spectacle surrounding a Jets' game (Lance Thomson/True North Sports & Ent.)
The song, music or sound must initiate some kind of fan experience. Sometimes excitement, other times nervousness and one of the best times...the chills.
Do you want to meet a guy responsible for throwing a party for over 15,000 people several days a week?
Well, let us introduce you to Kyle Balharry, the Director of Event Production at True North Sports & Entertainment.
Kyle is the man behind bringing the whole Winnipeg Jets' show together. Backed by a team of experts, Kyle is responsible for everything from the music you hear, to the entertainment between puck drops, to the whole sights and sounds of the MTS Centre.
In short, he is kind of like a wizard, sort of like Prospero from The Tempest. (Yes, that's right! We just referenced Shakespeare in a hockey article.)
SCENE's Mike Green recently passed the virtual puck to Kyle to find out just what goes on in making a Jets game. Kyle replied with a quick release snap-shot, beating Mike high on the glove side.
Entertainment at hockey used to be just a guy on an organ playing in between puck drops. How much has that changed?
Things certainly have changed. There was a time when the organ player had the fans tapping their shoes and enjoying the stoppages in play. The game was always at the forefront and the organ player entertained while there was no action. The fans loved it. However, even though live entertainment has evolved and technology has gone through the roof, the number one goal still remains, to compliment the greatest game on earth.
The ability to market our players, partners and team in exciting new ways to engage the fans, is what has changed the most. From 360 degree LED fascia boards to immense scoreclocks with huge video screens, the opportunities are endless. We have a crew of 30 that works together to deliver the best hockey experience possible each game. We all love the game and the more passion and knowledge we put into it, the greater the experience will be for our fans.
Considering you've been the director of event production with True North since 2000, how much of a difference is there between creating a show for the NHL as opposed to the AHL?
The Moose games were always executed to the best of our ability. We never said "It's only the AHL." There were many magical moments for hockey fans since '96 and I am proud to have been a part of that. Our standard was always to shoot for the top in game production and we are now honoured to transfer that into the greatest league in the world.
Manitoba hockey fans are knowledgeable and they demand a great and classy hockey experience. We strive to deliver what our fans and players want. A great hockey culture and experience each and every game. Rules and policies may have changed and so have the players and sponsors but our goal hasn't changed.