Back to the Beginning

January 5, 2012 – On the day before Thanksgiving, I made a visit to my old stomping grounds.

From 1999 through 2001, while I was an undergrad at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania, I worked in the media relations department of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. The Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate was the perfect place for me to begin my career in sports, mostly because of the people that I had the opportunity to work with at that time.

One of those people is Tom Grace, who is now the team’s senior director of broadcasting and who has been the voice of the Penguins for many years.

Tom has always led by example, and I learned a lot from watching him go about his business. He treats everyone who crosses his path with respect, and he goes out of his way to assist colleagues. Tom is also as talented of a play-by-play announcer as there is in the game of hockey.

Tom’s presence, along with the fact that the Penguins led the AHL in attendance in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons, hosted the AHL All-Star Game in 2001 and fielded a team that advanced to the AHL Finals later that year, made for a National Hockey League type atmosphere in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

In between the second of third periods of the game I was at in November, I joined Tom on air to discuss my career, and the evolution of Yankees Magazine over the last five years.

It was a memorable experience, and I will forever be grateful to Tom for his guidance and friendship and for the kindest of compliments.

“You’re legend continues to grow in Wilkes-Barre and in this arena,” Tom said as the intermission came to an end.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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