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A FAREWELL MESSAGE FROM PANG

Wednesday, 07.15.2009 / 2:46 PM / Features
By Darren Pang
I want to pass along my gratitude to every Phoenix Coyotes hockey fan.

I moved my family here to the desert four years ago with the intention that we would be here for a very long time, and of course, never expecting what has transpired in the last three months.

I am a hockey guy that does hockey on TV. It is pretty simple. That is what I get paid to do and have done for the last 20 years. When there is no certainty of a TV contract, then things get a little scary and that is what has taken place here in Phoenix. I am sure that this will all get resolved at some point in the near future.

This is no one's fault, except for the sudden bankruptcy filing, and I can tell you for certain that no one was prepared for that happening, at least not inside the organization.

With the current situation, I had phone calls from other teams and an opportunity to do national studio NHL work as well, but was really having a difficult time as to what to do as I have gained so many great friends inside the Coyotes family and socially as well.

I have been working side by side with one of my closest friends in Dave Strader, and it feels empty to leave behind a friend and partner. Todd Walsh is a fixture in Arizona and always manages to say the right things at the right time and bring the viewer so much closer to the game and to the players. He is as solid as they get. The great thing is they will always be friends, and I am sure the text messages throughout the season with be flowing, especially when we are about to meet up!

Being on a broadcast team doesn't just mean the TV group, and I would really be missing out if I didn't thank two terrific people who love the game and bring it to the people for the entire 82-game schedule, and they are radio personalities Bob Heethius and Tyson Nash.

The gang at FS Arizona is a close group and Mike Roth and Mike Connolly have such passion for the game of hockey, and I will always be grateful. They always stick their necks out for the good of the broadcasts, and that is a very good thing.

On the production side, it started with Graham Taylor as producer when I got here and it went to Andy Bock after one season, with Graham getting back in the “big chair” again last year. They are great producers that love going to and producing the game...chasing me around for production meetings…and getting all fired up for another game and a couple of stories later. Thank you guys. The happy bus was always the best place to be!

To Liz, Meg, Mitch, Derek and everyone else involved in production, you know how much I think of you all, both personally and professionally. Thanks.

Dave Vest manages the content of this Web site, and is as good as it gets. My many thanks Dave, for being a real pro and great guy.

I am a very lucky person. I was asked four years ago by Mike Barnett, Doug Moss, Cliff Fletcher and Wayne Gretzky to come and join the Coyotes. I moved my family after 20 years in Chicago. That is never easy, as you can imagine. We feel as though Phoenix is a place we will want to maintain a residence, as we love it here.

I am an avid golfer and am a member at Blackstone Country Club in Peoria. We moved here to the Northwest Peoria area because it is growing by leaps and bounds, and close to Jobing.com Arena, yet easy to get to Scottsdale as well.

We have met some great people socially and through our church, Copper Hills, and their Pastor, Brad Klassen and his wife Elfie. Both have been great friends and will always be, and I know how much my wife, Lynn, will miss them and all their hiking pals!

To be leaving a person as great as Wayne Gretzky is terribly difficult, not to mention his business manager Darren Blake, his coaching staff and trainers to go along with Don Maloney and his staff, is not easy. Wayne, as you all should know by now, is an even better person than he was a player, and that says it all about him.

The Coyotes are one of the very few teams that have full-time security travel with them. Not only does Jim O'Neal, aka The Inspector, take care of all of us, he is simply a tremendous friend. Thanks Jim! All secure pal!

To be able to join the St. Louis Blues and their President, John Davidson, makes me feel really fortunate. I grew up as a broadcaster admiring and emulating JD and we had the honor of working the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics together as well as several national games on ABC. He is a tremendous person and the Blues organization is outstanding and on the rise. I am looking forward to working with John Kelly and Bernie Federko on the Blues broadcasts.

We will always have a bond here with the great fans of the Coyotes. I believe in this team, the great players and character that is on the team, led of course, by Shane Doan.

We will see each other often and I will be keeping an eye and a Holy Jumpin out for you!

All the very best,

Panger

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