For more than 20 years, if you needed a voice for hire in this town, Dan Miner was probably your guy.
Tractor pulls, Little League baseball, high school football, he did all those. Only one assignment didn't sit too well. Actually, just one part of an assignment.
A few years ago, the Albany River Rats moved a few games a year to the Civic Center and asked Miner to do the public address announcing. Per the script, he had to start each game by asking the crowd to welcome "your Albany River Rats."
"I said it and I was sick to my stomach," Miner said. "It's nothing against the River Rats organization, I just know how much the teams through the years meant to the people of Glens Falls. And to not have that - it hurt. There's a pride issue with that."
For all his jobs, including his more-than-decade-long run as morning host on WCKM-98.5 FM, Miner is an Adirondack hockey guy through-and-through. Since his start reporting on the Red Wings for radio stations just out of college in the mid 1980s, to his gig as a roving on-ice announcer through the Red Wings' glory days, he's grown up in the city's hockey community.
As the full-time man behind the microphone at Phantoms' home games, he no longer has to worry about calling another team "yours."
Phantoms Vice President Mike Thompson said one of his first days in town last summer he had lunch with the mayor and another local official.
"They both said, ‘Your PA guy has to be Dan Miner,' " Thompson said.
The call wasn't so easy for Miner.
"I wasn't going to do it because I'd like to watch a hockey game," Miner said. "As someone who loves hockey, I bought season tickets."
The job Miner inherited changed since Greg Patrei
held it for all 20 seasons during the Red Wings' era. Miner backed up Patrei and became the announcer when the Adirondack IceHawks moved into the Civic Center.
The emphasis changed to keeping the crowd entertained rather than the minimalist approach of the announcers of a bygone era, like Bob Sheppard. For better or worse, rock music replaced the old organ and the PA guy became fan-motivator-in-chief.
"Before, it was just the scripts and that was all you did. ‘Goal scored by so-and-so,' " Miner said. "When hockey became more the entertainment aspect, it was a whole different ball of wax."
That isn't always easy with the Civic Center's antiquated sound system. Depending on where you're at in the arena, the announcements can sound garbled or inaudible. Sometimes it's frustrating, he said, when people approach him complaining about the audio.
"I know the speakers are ideally set for rows 5-12 around the arena," Miner said. "I know that that's who I'm hitting and everyone else they're just getting what they get."
In order to come through as clear as possible, Miner slows his cadence down dramatically. And even though Miner can't hear himself - the press box is one of the Center's audio dead zones - he resists the urge to yell.
"Having worked the building for as long as I have I know that," Miner said.
He also knows what the fans want to hear. During the IceHawks era, he savored the way the name "Hugo Belanger" rolled off the tongue.
Recently, someone stopped him at the dentist's office asking for his current trademark. When Miner rolls off the lineup changes, he delivers some of the scratches, or players out of the lineup, with a bit of added flair.
"There's a lot of people that come up to me and ask, can you say my name and then ‘not tonight?' " Miner said.
Miner also closes each game the same way - "Have a great night, everyone."
"When you hear that," Minor said. "You can leave the building."