Nova Scotia

'Unbelievably funny': hockey team manager, Siri team up for unique play-by-play

With no live streaming and no parents allowed in local arenas, a manager of a Halifax-area minor hockey team decided to try her hand at play-by-play using Siri. The results were hardly boring.

Siri and Karen Bowes weren't exactly in sync

Bedford hockey team manager Karen Bowes delivered play-by-play messages so parents could get updates on a game this week. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Legendary hockey announcer Foster Hewitt probably would have had a good chuckle this week when a minor hockey team manager from Fall River, N.S., gave hockey play-by-play a try.

Earlier this week, Halifax Regional Municipality enforced a long-standing policy that prevented teams from live streaming hockey games from their arenas.

With parents not allowed into games due to COVID-19 restrictions, Karen Bowes, the manager for a Bedford U-15 hockey team, decided she could keep parents updated with her own play-by-play.

"You can do it with voiceover from Siri," she said. "You just hit the microphone and talk and she converts it into text and it goes out to our group.

"I know Siri isn't always perfect but I wasn't thinking she would be quite as disastrous as she was."

The BMO Centre in Bedford. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Bowes is allowed into games because of her position with the team. At the BMO Centre on Tuesday night, her son's team hosted Cole Harbour.

As Bowes used the voice dictation feature on her phone, not all messages went out to the group chat as they were meant to be.

Speaking through her mask into her phone, the word puck was constantly translated into an f-bomb.

"I didn't realize all the conversion errors that Siri was making until after the fact," said a chuckling Bowes.

"One of our team reps was there and she was bent over and laughing her head off because of the messages."

A screen grab, minus the profanity, of an exchange between Karen Bowes and other hockey parents during Tuesday's game. (Facebook)

Here are a few samples of Bowes's work.

  • "Ben is taking the pups down the ice so harbour gets it and Pearl Harbour has it down earn it nice for a shot on netbook message."
  • "Pakistan RNs in the corner of gets shot up to campus centre ice over to Debbie and Withrow is in their graves takes it Canavan passes to Withrow."
  • "Call Harbour is taking the pup for a run down our end."
  • "Graves has the puck at Centre ice just back behind the blue and passes it to Bowes he takes it up the ice oh dear GOAL!!!"

The parent group, most of them sitting in their cars in the arena parking lot, got quite a kick out of Bowes's work.

"It was unbelievably funny," said Eric Villeneuve. "I haven't had a laugh like that in a long, long time. My son's nickname is Sebby and that turned into Sobeys and Debbie and Cole Harbour turned into Pearl Harbour."

Villeneuve, one of the team's coaches, posted some screen grabs from the group chat to the Bedford & District Minor Hockey Association Facebook page so everyone could appreciate what she had done.

Bowes did the play-by-play but also ran the clock. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"It was so fun and it was nice to have a big laugh because we need it during this pandemic," said hockey mom Prily MacPhee. Her husband works in Angola and is now back in Nova Scotia, where he got the text messages while he is quarantining in a local hotel.

Not only did Bowes provide the play-by-play over her phone but she also operated the game clock.

The day after her play-by-play, HRM changed its stance and allowed games to be live streamed.