by Greg Meachem
Cam Moon had every intention of continuing his employment with the Red Deer Rebels on an indefinite basis.
But then the Edmonton Oilers came calling and the Rebels long-time director of broadcasts and media is now on his way to the National Hockey League.
Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson and senior vice president of communications Tim Shipton called Rebels owner/president/GM and head coach Brent Sutter and vice president Merrick Sutter last Thursday, enquiring about Moon’s availability.
The Rebels boss promptly gave thumbs up to the concept of Moon joining the NHL team and after a pair of interviews Friday and Saturday the Edmonton native landed the position of Oilers radio play-by-play broadcaster on 630 CHED.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” Moon said Monday afternoon. “It will be so much fun to call games at the top level.
“Even further to that, I get to do it in my hometown, and that to me is like as big or bigger than just getting to the NHL. It would be my No. 1 choice of all the places in the league.”
That being said . . .
“It’s bittersweet in that . . . I wasn’t looking to leave here. I love it here, I’ve been treated so well. Brent and Connie Sutter, what can you say. You just get treated so well you feel like you’re part of the family. You’re part of the group, part of the team here.
“It’s been so much fun. This is not work. It’s been exceptionally fun and I look forward to the next chapter because it’s going to be a lot of fun too. I’ll enjoy the travel and — hopefully starting in the 2021-22 season —I’ll get to visit every NHL city and I’ll enjoy that whole heartedly.
“But I’ll miss going to everywhere in the WHL too.”
Moon (pictured above and below with colour man Mike Moller) will certainly be missed by Rebels fans who have listened to him call games since 1998, and definitely by the Sutter family and the entire organization.
“He’s been a stalwart here for 22 years,” said Brent Sutter, who purchased the Rebels in 1999, “and he’s been with me and our family for 21 years.
“We’re very excited and happy for Mooner but at the same time we’re sad. Everyone in the office is thrilled for Cam but we also know that he’s going to be missed.
“He’s been a big part of this for so long and he’s been such a loyal soldier. He’s been a big part of the community with his charity work and a big part of Rebels hockey.
“With the role he’s had here, you won’t find someone better than Mooner because of all the boxes he checks off.”
Sutter has an interim plan regarding a Rebels play-by-play person for the 24-game 2020-21 season which will hopefully open in late February, and will pursue a replacement for Moon during the off-season.
Moon was a WHL and SJHL goaltender before attending NAIT in the early ‘90s and graduating with a radio and TV broadcasting degree.
He worked part-time for TSN in the mid ‘90s, covering national midget AAA and junior A hockey championships as well OHL and Quebec Major League games.
He also worked as a broadcaster/roving reporter at the 1993 and ’95 Memorial Cup tournaments in Sault Ste. Marie and Kamloops before moving to Nanaimo as the BCHL Clippers radio game broadcaster.
He joined the Rebels in ’98 and continued to do freelance work for Sportsnet and Shaw TV from 2005 to 2017.
During his lengthy tenure with the Rebels he experienced many highlights, including the 2001 Memorial Cup championship victory in Regina and the 2016 tournament held at the Centrium.
“That whole four-year run, winning the WHL championship and Memorial Cup in 2001, then reaching the WHL finals each of the next two years and the Eastern Conference final in ’04 . . . that was a pretty solid run,” said the 50-year-old. “Those were some amazing teams and a great group of guys who came through.”
And then, going on five years ago . . .
“The Memorial Cup is one of the greatest hockey events on the entire calendar and we got to have it here,” said Moon. “All the volunteers and the people on the organizing committee made sure it ran so smoothly.
“It was great to have the eyes and ears of the country on us to see what kind of show we could put on, and I thought we did a really good job.”
Moon will call his first Oilers game on Thursday.
Sutter admitted he will miss the camaraderie he had with Moon, as well as the personality of his long-time employee.
“When you’re coaching and managing things can get pretty intense at times,” he said. “After games, both at home and on the road, we’d sit and talk about the game. He had the perspective of seeing it from the top as well as staying even keel.
“For me, personally, he was a very calming influence.
“He’s a good dude, very positive. His outlook on life is phenomenal. It’s good to have a person like that who calms the waters. Every day here was a good day with Cam. He always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell.”
Sutter, though, couldn’t be happier for his faithful employee and friend.
“This is a dream opportunity for Mooner with Edmonton being his hometown and the Oilers the NHL team he’s cheered for his whole life. I’m happy and thrilled for him and I know the organization and our family is going to miss him. He’s like one of our own.”