Those of you of a certain vintage will have a recollection of broadcaster James Richardson sitting in an Italian café, a cappuccino next to him as he rounded up the stories from Italian football as part of Channel 4’s coverage in the 90’s.
Right now, he’s lapping up the atmosphere in Bratislava at the World Championships as he hosts ‘The Totally Ice Hockey Show’, the latest podcast offering from UK based Muddy Knees Media in partnership with IIHF.
And Richardson, who also presents ‘The Totally Football Show’ and formerly hosted The Guardian’s ‘Football Weekly’, admits he has moved out of his comfort zone in his professional career.
“I watch a lot of hockey certainly, but I’ve never been in a position in my career to talk about it in a professional sense so that may be quite evident as days go by,” he said.
“That being said, it’s still a comfort zone in so far as everyone here is so steeped in hockey and the championship that there is so much expertise, but absolutely, it is different for me to be so involved in.
“I actually played a bit of hockey, desperately badly I have to say and I watch it on television, plus my son’s a pretty decent player so I see as much as I can.
“But I’m across all the terms and the jargon, but I’m surrounded by a lot of experts here so I let them do the talking as much as possible.”
Richardson and his assortment of guests can be heard every night once the day’s play concludes as they chew the fat over what’s happened in Bratislava and Kosice.
And, as James explains, he’s keen to bring a lot of the experience of Slovakia to the show.
He added: “We want to bring as much as possible and as much flavour of the championship in and as the days go by, we’re going to find out what works best in terms of bringing through as much of the excitement as we can.
“We’re aiming to put into perspective, get people to re-live their own excitement and try and bring through the noise and colour, which I appreciate is difficult on an audio platform.
“So, every day, once the final matches are concluded, we’ll be rounding up the stories of the day and the big talking points, plus preview the following day and who to look out for.”
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 13, 2019
James may be based in Bratislava, but has a watchful eye on events in Kosice, particularly the Great Britain camp as Pete Russell’s men compete at this level for the first time in 25 years.
And he reckons if GB can do something in their group games, it could help the growth of the sport in the country.
He said: “As for GB, it would be amazing to see them get a win this time, whether it’s against the French or the Danes or if they can spring a surprise in another game, who knows.
“It would be fantastic to see them make their mark in this competition at the top level, but I say that with great trepidation because it is a huge leap for them to come to this division.
“Any success would be incredible for the sport though. I’m in London where ice hockey is still very niche, but I know it’s growing elsewhere and it could really kick things on.”