By Scott Stanfield
Justin Kelly of the Comox Valley is among a select group of 25 Canadians who have been shortlisted out of thousands of entries in an online contest to become a sportscaster.
Next month, the 30-year-old Black Creek native will attend an all-expenses-paid trip to a boot camp in Toronto, where he will showcase his talents, trivia knowledge, personality, broadcasting skills and passion for sports. The field will be whittled down to six through various on- and off-camera tests such as reading hits, interviews and sports trivia quizzes. Two of the six will be decided by online voting, the other four through an adjudication process.
“It’s a unique experience,” said Kelly, who as a child ‘called play-by-play’ for Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Blue Jays games with the sound turned down on his family’s TV set. “It’s a chance to have the dream job I’ve always wanted. Pretty excited about heading there.”
After graduating from Vanier Secondary in 2001, Kelly captained the basketball team at Concordia University College in Edmonton. He still enjoys basketball, men’s league hockey, running and surfing.
Kelly initially considered a teaching career. But next to being a pro athlete, his dream job would be a sports broadcaster.
Following a stint in Texas for firefighter training, he took up the yard-maintenance business. These days, he owns and operates Kelly Green Lawn and Garden in Victoria.
The grand prize of the SportsNet Gillette Drafted search for Canada’s next sportscaster offers a year’s contract to work on a national network.
Contestants need to audition online. Kelly tried out two years ago but was not shortlisted. This year, his YouTube audition video took a lighthearted look at the emotional pain suffered by Canucks’ and other sports’ fans.
“I like a little humour mixed in,” said Kelly, whose idol is sportscaster Don Taylor. “The goal is to make it to the top six. It’s a pretty cool opportunity.”
The final six last season went to Boston before the winner was determined.
Boot camp begins Aug. 5. The successful attendees will remain until the end of camp Aug. 30.
The public can vote for Kelly once a day at drafted.ca, which contains a link to his Facebook fan page. Voting continues until early-August.