As a longtime follower of the Montreal Canadiens and devoted listener to Montreal’s TSN 690, I became a fan of Brian Wilde’s unbridled passion and objectivity in covering the Habs during his daily radio segment on the Tony Marinaro Show over the past few years.
I may not always have agreed with his viewpoints, but more than often than not I found myself on the same page, and even more importantly, enjoyed his attitude and infectious personality. He was affable, rarely taciturn, and respectful of Tony throughout his long run with the station…and along with Tony one of the few Habs media members not to exhibit cynicism towards the team, but rather balance and fairness in his evaluations.
I started following Brian a few years ago on Twitter because of the radio gig, and soon discovered that his on-air persona was no act – he conducted himself the same way on Twitter – offering strong opinions on his Habs, but never to the point of irritation, especially when dealing with his followers…showing respect and patience with both Twitter followers and the hockey club that I found quite admirable.
A little over a year ago we had a falling out over a dispute concerning the Habs, and didn’t follow each other for awhile, but when I started up this website I got some favourable Twitter replies from Brian and I returned the compliments. I started following him again and sent him a direct message in which I extended an olive branch and we patched things up. I gave him free access to my website, and he was extremely kind in promoting my site and urging people to follow me before the draft…which I found quite helpful in building a following.
I was impressed that he was able to overlook our previous dispute and take the high road…for me it showed a strength of character that told me I could trust him if the situation ever came up where we would be involved in a project together.
Not long after the draft Brian dropped a bomb on the Hockey Twitter world…he was let go by Bell Media/CTV Montreal along with the rest of the sports staff…and a day or two afterwards I reached out to him and told him if he was ever looking for work that he would be welcome to do some writing on my site, and I would be able to compensate him in some manner.
I made this offer in part to make him feel better – as I said to him, losing his job after so many years is almost like breaking up with a girl after a lengthy relationship, and it’s always nice to know you at least have some other options even if you don’t pursue them…it’s nice to feel wanted.
The more I thought about it though…the more I began to wonder if I shouldn’t go one better and offer Brian a full-blown partnership with the website as it was pretty much right in line with plans I had when I started it up last February anyway. My vision at the time was to have a website name in Recrutes that worked in both French and English and to have some bilingual coverage as I wanted to eventually expand into covering the Habs and perhaps even the Ottawa Senators as the website grew.
Given my scouting background and interest in following Habs prospects that goes back to the Peter Lee days with the Ottawa 67’s in the mid 1970’s, I have been of the opinion that the farm team and its prospects have never been properly covered by the media, and with the team moving to Laval for the upcoming season, there was no better time to add Habs coverage to my draft site. There is a natural correlation given that I am not only a scout but a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in covering hockey.
I will be able to offer Habs fans my scouting insight in regard to Habs prospects. I intend on covering the farm team and all drafted and signed Habs prospects very closely this season in addition to all of my scouting of draft-eligible prospects, starting with a trip to the Habs rookie tournament in Toronto Sept. 8-9.
Habs 365 Launched in late August
Brian Wilde and I will be launching “Habs 365” at the end of August – daily coverage of the Habs, Laval Rocket and all of the organization’s other prospects. Brian will relaunch his long-running radio segment in the form of a podcast with yours truly, and we will get lots of great interviews and even take on questions from listeners on occasion to keep you connected. Brian will resurrect his immensely popular “Call of the Wilde” column that was a regular feature on CTV’s website, and has been sorely missed by his tremendous fan base. He brings more than 17 years of experience in covering the Habs, a tremendously loyal following, and sharp insight – all of which will be greatly welcomed.
Brian will do interviews and game summaries after every Habs home game that will be available on the site and also provide summaries and viewpoints after every away game…we will have weekly updates on all Habs players and prospects…as well as prospect rankings, interviews and profiles.
We will present Habs’ team report cards, break insider news when we get it, have tons of articles, videos, insights and tweets on a daily basis (Habs 365)…and I am thrilled to have Brian on board to provide Habs fans with top-notch coverage in all respects.
This is an exciting moment in the development of Recrutes as a go-to pitstop for all of the ravenous hockey fans out there, and hopefully just the start in our endeavour to provide all of you with top-notch hockey coverage. See you on the site!