By DAVID JARKA
Fears of getting punched by a National Hockey League head coach is one of the highlights Phil Genco’s internship with the WIVB-TV Channel 4 last semester.
As an intern under sports reporters John Murphy and Paul Peck, Genco, a 21-year-old Jamestown, N.Y. native, was able to interview Buffalo Sabres players and coaches after their last game of the season this past spring. According to Genco, Channel 4 was short of staff that Sunday, and thus the opportunity for him to due the interviews opened for him for the very first time.
Genco was able to interview several Sabres players such as forward Jason Pominville and defensman Teppo Numminen, who was very emotional afterwards because he had just played the final game of his career.
“It was pretty sweet to be with the guys in the lockerroom,” Genco said.
However, the most memorable moment for him came when Genco went to interview Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. With the Sabres failing to make the playoffs, there was much speculation that Ruff would be fired by the Sabres’ front office. This added on top of his team losing, Ruff was very agitated at the post-game press conference.
So when the microphone that Channel 4 was relying on for the press conference wasn’t working and Genco had to sit in front of the podium holding a different one up to Ruff’s face, he was quite nervous that the extremely irate coach would think he’s acting foolish and whale him in the face. Being the only one in the room to have to do this also added to his anxiousness.
But no fist ever came and Genco stuck in there by himself. When things did not go to plan, he adapted to the situation and still got the new story for the station.
“It was a cool experience and I was kind of scared but I wanted to get the story and not disappoint anyone,” Genco said.