How do you go from sports superfan to a part of the team? Ask Wade Minter ’97, who achieved this dream, in his own way.
After graduating from William & Mary with a degree in computer science and spending a couple of years in Richmond and Philadelphia, Minter made the journey to Raleigh, North Carolina, ready to tackle on the world of adulthood and get a job in the technology field. Looking to make Raleigh his home, Minter sprung for season tickets to the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.
“I grew up in Southside Virginia, so I wasn’t aware of hockey throughout my childhood,” Minter said. “When I got to W&M, most of my friends were from Northern Virginia and, shockingly enough, they were all raging Washington Capitals fans. I picked up an appreciation for hockey through my friends, so when I moved to Raleigh and saw the Hurricanes, I just transferred my love to them!”
Minter went from not knowing a thing about hockey to a job as the public address announcer for the Hurricanes, but it didn’t happen overnight. For 16 years, Minter maintained his season ticket holder status, attending game after game, pulling in his wife and daughters in as the years went on.
“Back in 1999 when the team relocated to Raleigh, I went to the first game in the arena, fell in love with the team, bought season tickets and spent a lot of time watching games,” Wade said. “I’ve been around the team for a while, so when the PA announcer job opened up I jumped at the opportunity. The Hurricanes had an audition four years ago when the old announcer left, and I auditioned on a whim. I had a trial game during the preseason. I guess they liked what they heard, because they offered me the job!”
Wade stepped down from the fan section into the announcer box and committed to the team on a new level.
“I sit between the penalty boxes at ice level,” Wade said. “When people are checked into the glass, they are right in front of me; players come into the penalty box and they are right beside me, and you are as close as you can get to the NHL action.”
While Wade had been a fan for years, it wasn’t the countless hours in the stands that prepared him for his new role, but his experiences at William & Mary.
“I can trace my job as the Hurricanes PA announcer to William & Mary,” Wade said. “I was a computer science major back in the ’90s, and one of the things that I did was create the first website for W&M Athletics, back when websites were a new thing. By virtue of doing that, I got the ability to do some PA for some of the women’s sports, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. My first-time getting PA experience behind the mic was at William & Mary.”
Finishing up his fourth season with the Hurricanes, Minter is constantly on his toes, trying to adapt to the changing team and audience.
“It’s fun to figure out how to keep the crowd excited and keep them entertained and informed,” Minter said. “Really the give and take with the fans is the best part, so that I can give them the best arena experience they can have.”
While Minter is primarily behind the glass, one of his shining moments was having the opportunity to put his skills on the ice. His first year as an announcer, Minter skated in the Hurricanes Alumni charity hockey game, where he scored a goal with the help of Hurricanes alumni Glen Wesley. Minter skated to the penalty box to take on his role as the PA announcer and announced his own goal, landing him an appearance on ESPN the next day.
“I really started my career with a blast!” Minter said.
While Minter maintains his day job as the chief technology officer at Customs Communication, Inc., he said he has no plans of leaving the Hurricanes any time soon and is savoring every moment.
“I’ll stick around for as long as the Hurricanes will have me,” Minter said. “It’s been such an amazing experience and I can’t wait to see where the team goes in the future!”