The New Jersey Devils have let go of personnel across varying parts of the team today. Equipment manager Rich Matthews, video coordinator Taran Singleton and radio color commentator Sherry Ross have left the organization. It was originally reported that video coach Matt DeMado was fired as well, but that was false, he is still with the team.
While it is horrible to see anyone lose their jobs, it is especially saddening to hear of Sherry Ross being let go. She is obviously the one most fans have a direct connection to, as she is calling the games for them on the radio and, thus will illicit the most response from the fans.
As the first female broadcaster in the NHL, she was a true trailblazer. She was also a knowledgeable hockey person who was a fan and a hockey writer prior to her broadcasting career. She was extremely good at her job and I am sorry to see her leave the broadcast booth. It is also disheartening to hear of Matthews going, as his Twitter interactions with fans were always interesting.
No details have been released about why any of these employees were let go. In the case of Ross, it is thought by some fans that she was too critical of the team on the WFAN broadcasts and that they wanted more of a “company” announcer in her place.
If that were the reason she was let go, that is a shame. Going the “homer” route is extremely irritating for most fans, who feel it is patronizing to them. Having an announcer who is realistic about a team’s performance is refreshing and allows for real conversation in the booth.
There have been no announcements regarding these employee’s replacements, but one would have to assume that the Devils will likely hire a former player to serve in the radio analyst’s role. Scott Gomez has recently gotten into broadcasting with the NHL Network and is very entertaining and someone who I, for one, would love to see get the job if he is on the team’s radar or wants it.
Well wishes to the employees let go and I hope they get back on their feet very quickly.