Ohio Hockey announcer’s impact in Athens is felt far beyond the ice rink
The Ohio University hockey team takes the ice for a game at Bird Arena. A loud, booming voice roars throughout the historic building. “WELCOME TO THE ICE YOUR O-HII-OOO BOBCATS!!!”
That is the voice of 32-year-old Jacob Jakuszeit, public address announcer for the hockey team. Jakuszeit announces with passion and clearly enjoys what he does. But, outside the limelight, he has personal ambitions as well.
Jakuszeit says announcing was completely different for him when he originally started. At first, he would just show up and read a script given to him before the game. But as Jakuszeit became more comfortable on the microphone, he began to develop his own personal style.
Jakuszeit is a local superstar
During his ten years as the announcer, Jakuszeit has become quite the popular figure in Athens. People recognize his voice all throughout the town, even when he just grabs a bite to eat. “At first I would walk up and down the stands and no one knew who I was, but now people stop me all the time. I’ve had someone recognize me by my voice in the McDonald’s drive-thru as I am ordering a value meal. They asked me, ‘Are you the hockey announcer?” Jakuszeit says, trying to contain his laughter.
Jakuszeit’s love of hockey has a personal connection. There is a button on his desk with a picture of his brother, who passed away several years ago, played hockey in high school.
The hockey team appreciates the excitement Jakuszeit generates for home games. Just ask coach Hogan. “Oh man, he is the best!” Hogan says with a huge grin on his face. “He definitely brings energy for us. Jake is just a staple of the game day here.”
Jakuszeit’s interests extend beyond the ice
Though many residents in Athens know Jakuszeit for what he does on Friday and Saturday nights, he does much more away from the ice. For one, he works the graveyard shift at Alden Library at OHIO. He chuckles at the irony of working in a library where people are typically quiet, when he is most known for his loud, distinctive voice.
Additionally, Jakuszeit is involved with OHIO’s campus planning and the city of Athens’ comprehensive master plan. Within this role Jakuszeit evaluates budgets and prioritizes OHIO’s campus needs.
Jakuszeit’s interests throughout Athens come back full circle to his love of hockey. His involvement with OHIO’s master planning has allowed him to oversee potential plans for a new ice rink at the university. While there are no plans currently for a new ice arena, it has been identified as a future campus recreation need for the university.
Jakuszeit believes a new rink can benefit people all throughout Southeast Ohio, not just Athens. “It is a great community resource and a great academic resource. There are a lot of uses for [the rink] and there is a reason why it is still around after 60 years,” Jakuszeit says.
Jakuszeit has big goals for himself, but they are not on his mind when he is behind the microphone. Out on the ice, the Bobcats are in a battle. Jakuszeit intently watches the game. Suddenly, OHIO scores. Jakuszeit cues the goal music, sending the fans into a frenzy, and shouts, “O-HIII-OOOOO GOAL!”