Harnarayan Singh had been calling games in Punjabi long before he called Nick Bonino’s name over, and over, and over.
As he detailed in a piece for the Players’ Tribune, it all started way, way back when he was a kid growing up in southern Alberta. It can be a predominantly white place, and so coming from a Sikh family, he stood out - but was able to find a commonality with people there through hockey.
Finding a love for announcing early on, he had to work insanely hard to make it at all, but when CBC decided they wanted to reach out to the Punjabi community, he was the guy for the job - in which the work got even harder.
But it paid off, and if you can sum it up in one moment, it’s in Singh’s Bonino call when he scored in the dying minutes of the first game of the Stanley Cup Final to give the Pittsburgh Penguins an early series lead.
To the point of becoming a part of the Penguins family, as Mario Lemieux put it, and being a part of the Stanley Cup parade.
The piece is very much worth a read. It’s long, but it’s extremely good, and all about what it takes to grow the game of hockey - and how Singh’s own impact and commitment to Hockey Night Punjabi introduced a whole new community to the game.
And it also gave us one of the greatest calls ever, inspired from Punjabi culture. Via the Players’ Tribune piece:
If it’s a big enough goal, and if the name fits, I always try to let the last syllable go on as long as I can — at the very least, I try to beat out the goal horn. And that comes from Punjabi singers, who are known for trying to compete with each other to see who can hold a note the longest.
That would have never happened without that initiative to bring the game to other people languages. Everyone has something to add - and Harnarayan Singh is proof of that.
Here’s to getting even more in the future - and all the better if there are new iconic Penguins moments created with it, too!