On Tuesday, the Raptors905, D-League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, introduced its broadcast team, a three person group including a sideline reporter and Canada's first female color analyst. Meghan McPeak, Gareth Wheeler and Ashley Docking will be the club's broadcast team, bringing nine home games live to NBA TV Canada. In addition, all Raptors 905 games will be broadcast live on YouTube and Raptors905.com.
From the team's release:
McPeak will take on play-by-play duties for the club, after two seasons calling the Brampton A's in the National Basketball League of Canada, becoming the first female play-by-play commentator in the country. Previously, the Hamilton, Ontario native was the voice of Cable 14 and CFMU Radio for four years, covering McMaster University's men's and women's basketball, including the Women's CIS National Championships and OUA Men's Final Four.
Wheeler, a Toronto-based television/radio host and columnist of over a decade, joins the team as an analyst. Currently a co-host of GameDay, weekday mornings on TSN 1050 Radio, Wheeler is also a host and colour commentator for Toronto FC, a contributor on Raptors broadcasts, as well as a columnist for TSN.ca.
Docking joins the team as a sideline reporter. Docking is a recent inductee into the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame for her accomplishments with Seneca College in both basketball and soccer. She was a member of back-to-back OCAA champion women's basketball teams in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and was named a women's basketball championship all-star in 2007-08 as Seneca was awarded the OCAA silver medal. In 2008-09, Docking was named a first-team all-star, east defensive player of the year, OCAA championship all-star, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship second-team all-star and OCAA female athlete of the year.
The D-League is often a place for not only players, but up and coming staffers of all kinds to learn, grow, and sometimes even be provided with their first true opportunities to shine. While all three will undoubtedly have an opportunity to develop as well, the experience they all already boast is rather impressive, too. The D-League is becoming so competitive and popular all around, that the need for quality employees is even greater than ever before.
Hiring Docking as a sideline reporter is a rather interesting move. The minor league broadcasts on YouTube obviously aren't as long nor as traditional as television broadcasts, thus not necessarily presenting airtime opportunities a sideline reporter would normally have. Some teams task their play-by-play or color commentators with the job of handling quick pre and/or post game interviews themselves. Thus, seeing how the Raptors905 broadcasts tend to be should be a rather innovative experience.
The fact that the team has nine games airing on NBATV Canada likely has something to be with the decision, as that should also provide more flexibility and opportunity for creative expression.