John Ott accepts new role within organization

Hello everyone, I’m John Ott! You may have heard my voice as the play-by-play during Michigan Independence Hockey League games alongside the Waterford Sharks.  

Having now been officially dubbed the “Voice of the Waterford Sharks,” the front office asked me to give an introduction to fans and talk about the beginning stages of what we are aiming to accomplish during upcoming the 2024-2025 season and beyond.  

I’m not loaded with frills, but I have been a local resident of the Waterford area for over 25 years and graduated from Waterford Kettering High School in 2005. Chamber choir has always been a passion of mine and while cerebral palsy limited my impact in actually playing sports, journalism and sports broadcasting are what have empowered me with a voice. 

While earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Oakland University in 2011 during the peak of March Madness on campus with a couple of NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Grizzlies, I dovetailed that with contributing to The Oakland Press (2010-2017) covering high school sports for several years. 

The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Eaglets saw me behind the bench doing announcements and working alongside the Catholic High School League in between 2019-2020. And that is really the genesis of what you see before you. A scribe and voice in print and multimedia fostering a lot of responsibility as a one-man band.

My voice is aimed to be passionate, informative and I keep my style similar to a radio call to help paint the picture of the game and set the scene as if the audience is actually sitting in with me. I want everyone to have a good time as you tune in… even if it is primarily for the video feed! Some humor is a must and I often look around the landscape during intermission to update viewers on big events.  

But what about the voice of the fans? What do they think and what will they want to say about this upcoming season?  This has been at the forefront of front office discussions this offseason as we prepare for the first puck drop in the fall.  

Live fan participation and commenting has been tested in the past during broadcasts and there will be a major push to make that a more regular thing this season. We want to enjoy the game with you in real time and connect fans with each other right at the source of our connection to hockey in Waterford. So be on the lookout for more announcements on that and have your voice ready this season Shark fans!  

When it comes to voice, I draw inspiration locally from Dan Dickerson, Ken Daniels and Mark Champion. Kevin Harlan is still one of the best in the business nationally, but the days of Brent Musburger and Vin Scully are gone. You can’t replace the legends of the game, but I find it best to borrow qualities from all of them as a base and foundation. 

Such foundations have been laid in the last two seasons with the Waterford Sharks to setup what should be a great new season across the wide world of sports as I work with the team to post game stories and commentate as the “Hopeless Sports Guy” following upcoming NHL, NBA, MLB and college action. 

Cooper Hopkins is one of my best friends and I owe him a lot during our first major work in covering the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche in 2022. It was one of the best and most professional experiences of my life. When you have that type of prep and rapport with a person everything else in this line of work feels like second nature!    

On off days, I’m always around @JohnRyanOtt on Facebook, X/Spaces and YouTube doing live calls throughout the week and interacting with the community. I appreciate the kind words I have already received from many and I look forward to interacting with many more fans. So please stop by and say hello during game days or comment on the in-game action via our upcoming social channel broadcast integrations! 

You’ll see interviews, updates and statements regarding the Sharks that feature “my voice” but will look to connect the fans, players, community and front office all together. We ultimately want to keep our fans engaged and bring some special insight on the inner-workings of the organization whether it involves new sponsorships, promotional events and the like more often.  

This process is fluid and on-going, and I’ll still be calling games and writing recaps as usual, but I’ll also be doing a little more. It will be a good opportunity to gain insight to see what works and what doesn’t.  

We have some very pertinent updates coming with player and personnel changes to tell you about very soon and those will be the first big topics discussed in efforts to keep everyone informed and up to speed.  

For now, thank you for letting me have a moment of your time. 

Go Sharks!