AUSTIN, Minn. – For the first time in three years, the Austin Bruins will have a new voice. TJ Chillot, who served as the team’s Director of Broadcasting and Sales Operations for the Bruins during the past three seasons has announced his departure, accepting a job in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers.
Chillot, 33, came to Austin during the offseason prior to the 2017-18 campaign. Prior to calling games for the Bruins, Chillot spent a year in the SPHL and left after his team, the Mississippi RiverKings, ceased operations, but not before earning the 2017-18 SPHL Broadcaster of the Year Award. Chillot was handed the reigns from current Maine Mariners broadcaster, Michael Keeley, who advanced his career to the ECHL with the Maine Mariners.
“I couldn’t have made this move without Austin. I think back to my time in Mississippi – if that team didn’t fold and I was there for the past three years, I’m not going to the AHL,” Chillot said in an interview with the Post Bulletin’s Jason Feldman. “Without Austin, I’m not going to the American [Hockey] League.”
In his new role as Director of Broadcasting and Corporate Servicing, Chillot will perform many of the same duties he executed in Austin, this time for the top affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Seattle Kraken. “Everything for a short period there came through my desk and they trusted me with their franchise,” Chillot said in the interview, speaking of Bruins owners Craig Patrick and Michael Cooper.
After a brief search, the Bruins’ brass has found their new voice in Nick Blaesser. A native of Kalamazoo, MI, is no stranger to the microphone. His broadcasting journey began in the fall of 2017 where he was picked up by the Slocum Sports Network, which produced live radio broadcasts for high school and college athletics in the southwest Michigan area. After transferring to Central Michigan University from community college, Nick wasted no time getting involved in the best media outlet the university has to offer, the Chippewa Sports Network. There, he did a great deal of control room work, camera operating, and play-by-play broadcasting for all Central Michigan varsity sports.
Without a hockey team at CMU, Nick created the Central Michigan D3 Hockey Club Radio Network from scratch with a fellow broadcasting student. This network covered everything CMU Division 3 Club Hockey, from live radio broadcasts, running social media accounts, writing post-game reports, graphic design, you name it, they made it. This network got Nick recognized at a national level by the American Collegiate Hockey Association two years in a row for being a top broadcaster in the league.
Nick’s other media roles have included being the play-by-play broadcaster for Big Rapids High School Hockey in mid-Michigan through the Big Rapids Radio Network. He has also worked in video production, graphic design, and social media management for the Kalamazoo Growlers and Battle Creek Bombers of the Northwoods Baseball League, and was a director for Central Michigan’s student news network for a year. In addition to that, he was also an audio engineer for 101.1 FM & 91.5 FM radio stations in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
In related news, the Austin Bruins are proud to announce the addition of Jarred Becker to a full-time position within the Bruins front office. Becker will be a recognizable face to many Bruins fans as he acted as Director of Game Night Operations for the 2020-21 season. Becker will continue to serve that game night role, with the addition of customer service and sales responsibilities for both the Austin Bruins and Rochester Grizzlies. Those familiar with the Grizzlies will also recognize Becker’s voice as the California native served as Color Analyst for Rochester the past two seasons. In addition, Becker is the public address announcer for the Rochester Honkers of the Northwoods League. A graduate of Waldorf University in Forest City, IA, Becker called collegiate hockey and wrestling before finding a home in the Rochester Area.
“Jarred is someone I know has an understanding of sports, and more importantly, the Austin/Rochester area,” said Chillot. “I’ve built a bunch of friendships and relationships over the past three years, and between Jarred and Nick, I know for a fact that our fans and sponsors will be in good hands. I look forward to seeing the Austin Bruins continue to grow and be one of the most professionally operated organizations in all of junior hockey.”
With the Austin Bruins seasons slated to begin in September, seasons tickets are on sale now by visiting www.austinbruins.com/season-tickets. Early bird pricing is still active with an adult ticket at just $200, $175 for students and seniors. For the complete Austin Bruins schedule, head to www.austinbruins.com/schedule.