Along with the rest of the Worcester Railers staff, Eric Lindquist has been busy preparing for the team’s ECHL debut at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the DCU Center.
On Tuesday morning, 80 children were bused to the team’s Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center to learn to skate. Tuesday night, the team hosted a season ticket-holder party at the Palladium. On Thursday night, the team will host a chamber of commerce event.
Lindquist serves as vice president of marketing and communications as well as the team’s radio play-by-play announcer. As of Tuesday, he hadn’t had time to take his radio equipment out of its boxes, and his desk was so cluttered he kept his office phone on the floor.
Lindquist apologized about having to repeatedly interrupt an interview with this columnist to answer his cellphone and field questions from coach Jamie Russell, team president Mike Myers and fellow staffers. Meanwhile, outside his office, staffers unpacked Railers jerseys that will be sold at the games.
“It’s nonstop,” said Lindquist, who wore a cap and T-shirt from the parent-club New York Islanders. “So I’m looking forward to 7 o’clock Saturday night when I’ll be able to relax and get in my Zen zone and call a hockey game for the first time in two years. That’s what I’m looking forward to, but I’ve been running around so much, I don’t know our team yet.”
Lindquist hasn’t had much time to study the team’s newly formed roster, but information cards that the players filled out on Monday sat atop a pile of papers on his desk that included an NHL media guide from two years ago.
“You never know when that might come in handy,” he insisted.
Lindquist called his office “organized chaos” and insisted he knew how to find everything he needed.
Lindquist, 38, will call all 72 games on 98.9 FM with coverage beginning 30 minutes before faceoff. Four games will be simulcast on Charter TV3 with Lindquist joined by sports director Kevin Shea.
Lindquist served as radio announcer for the Worcester Sharks for their final eight seasons in the city before becoming the team’s only non-player or coach to immediately move to San Jose for the 2015-16 season. Community relations coordinator Joey Goldstein made the move a little while later, and he’s still in San Jose.
Lindquist helped build the San Jose Barracuda from scratch, just as he’s helped the Railers do this season. He was used to bus trips of one or two hours with the Worcester Sharks, but the trips from San Jose lasted five to eight hours.
“I’m glad I went,” Lindquist said. “It was a great experience, but my apartment rent went from $750 in Worcester to over $2,000 in San Jose. The cost of living was outrageous.”
San Jose wasn’t the same as Worcester in another more important way.
“It wasn’t the Worcester hockey family,” he said. “We’re a different breed.”
Yes, Lindquist considers himself to be a member of that Worcester family.
“Big time,” he said. “I’m not the president, but I like to think I can be a voice for them.”
The parent-club San Jose Sharks reached the Stanley Cup Finals the year that Lindquist called the San Jose Barracuda games. It’s considered to be a Stanley Cup jinx if anyone touches the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl that is presented to the Western Conference champions, so Sharks COO John Tortora asked Lindquist to hold onto it, and he kept it in his apartment during the finals. The Sharks lost to Pittsburgh anyway.
Lindquist realized how much he missed his home and family when he returned to North Andover for the funeral of his 58-year-old father, Scott, who died of a heart attack in February 2016, and when he returned again for three weeks to help his brother Andrew deal with a lung cancer scare.
So after Myers, a former Worcester Sharks executive, was named president of the Railers, Lindquist called to see if he could join the front office, and he’s been on the payroll since Sept. 1, 2016. Fans were glad that he and hockey were back in Worcester.
“I had people hugging me,” said, “saying, ‘thank God you’re back.’ It felt good.”
Last season was the first time that Lindquist didn’t announce any hockey games since 2003-04.
“Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, I’m used to calling hockey games,” he said. “I had all this free time. I’m a person that when I have a lot of free time, it’s generally not a good thing.”
He’s busy now, but he’s happy about it.
—Contact Bill Doyle at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BillDoyle15.