He's a familiar voice to thousands of fans who attend section and regular season games at the Warner Coliseum. Dave Wright, whose voice is also heard at the state hockey and boys basketball tournaments looks back at the many years of high school games as the venue shuts down the rink due to decreased demand and expensive repair costs.
Wright, the long-time voice of University of St. Thomas hockey, got his start at the iconic St. Paul arena in 1976 as the backup to Dick Stanford for St. Paul City Conference games. When Stanford left to announce the North Stars, Wright became the Coliseum's full-time voice.
The first section game Wright was at the mike for was the Section 5 championship game between the Minneapolis Roosevelt Teddies and the Blake Bears. Of the many games he has announced, the most memorable was in 1988 when Cretin came back to defeat South St. Paul. He also cited several section games between the Hill-Murray Pioneers and the White Bear Lake Bears.
“There must have been five or six Hill-Murray-White Bear Lake games,” Wright said.
One thing Wright will miss when the ice rink shuts down following the Hill-Murray-Stillwater game is the relationships with the coaches he has developed over the years. He talks with them before the games and brings humor to relax them. A coach that Wright has been close to through the many games he has worked is Hill-Murray head boys hockey coach and the school's activities director Bill Lechner. Wright has known Lechner since they were students at St. Thomas.
“You want the coaches to relax. It's the tensest game of the year.”
He will also miss the atmosphere of the crowds and action at section final time.
“That's a lot of fun and a lot of energy,” Wright said.
Wright's distinctive voice will be heard at the Xcel Energy Center next week during the state high school boys hockey tournament and the following week when the state boys basketball tournament takes place at Target Center.