SIMMONS: Ben Shulman is the latest gem from the father-son sports broadcasting tree

It’s a long and already remarkable list of everything that Ben Shulman has accomplished in broadcasting in such a short span of time.

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He is only 22 years old. He’s just out of school, from Syracuse University. He might not sound exactly like his father, Dan Shulman — but who does? – but he has his own voice, his own cadence, his own style. And you don’t hear that often from young broadcasters, but he already sounds like he belongs, like he’s ready for the big time, like we’ve known his name and his manner and his voice for years – like we have getting to know his father and the way we got to know so many second generation sports broadcasters.

The great Joe Buck is the son of the great Jack Buck, longtime voice of the St. Louis Cardinals. Justin Cuthbert, host of morning show The FAN 590, is the son of Chris Cuthbert, Canada’s top play-by-play man. John Kelly, the voice of the St. Louis Blues, is the son of Dan Kelly, the greatest hockey announcer ever. The #1 hockey announcer in America after Doc Emrick moved away, Kenny Albert is the son of the legendary Marv Albert. Joe Bowen’s son David is the current voice of the Sudbury Wolves.

And young Noah Eagle, who is doing NFL games on the network at the age of 25, which is really unheard of, is the son of Ian Eagle, who is doing NBA, NFL and college basketball games on various American networks.

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The list could go on with fathers and sons. There are more names and more voices. The baton is passed and Kenny Albert may not sound like Marv Albert with his own style, but he still sounds great. And Ben Shulman, who went to Syracuse to learn radio, has done play-by-play for a minor league baseball team in Indiana, filled in for Ben Wagner on seven Blue Jays radio shows last summer, is currently doing play-by -Play plays for Raptors 905, has done international basketball events for Rogers Sportsnet and in between has done regional broadcasts for ESPN, the ACC Network in the US and the SEC Network.

You don’t get all this because you’re someone’s son. You get all of that because you’ve already separated from the pack—and that’s just the beginning.

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All this with an asterisk.

If you go to an American university as a Canadian, you will be entitled to work in the United States for an additional year. After that, if you want to stay in America, if you hope to stay and work, you need what is called a 0-1 visa form. This form entitles you to work for three years. Three years to try and prove network worthy.

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It’s like any other government application. You fill out the forms. You get the right advice. And then you wait and hope. Because so many of your dreams are embedded in American sports and American opportunities.

Ben Shulman (left) behind the broadcast booth. (Submitted Photo)

“I’d love to work for a major league team or a major league network,” said young Shulman. “I just want to make a living.” Ben is the third son in the Shulman family. He was the sports nut. He played baseball and hockey at as high a level as possible. When he was three, he played street hockey in the driveway with his 10-year-old brother. His father has broadcast games in both the United States and Canada and is currently the television voice of the Blue Jays and the voice of US college basketball on ESPN. Sport was simply part of family life.

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“I think I learned things about television from a young age,” Ben said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say there weren’t certain perks to having my dad around. But I remember wanting to take my father to school that workday. He couldn’t do it because he was gone. So Leo (Rautins) took me to a Raptors game. I got to experience everything from his point of view. I need to see the truck. Such things. I guess if my dad was a baker I would know how to bake bread.”

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In the US, Canadians have long operated as sports broadcasters. The current roster includes longtime NBA voice Mark Jones, Adnan Virk of Baseball Network, NHL Network and WWE’s Jackie Redmond; NFL Network’s Stacey Dales and a bevy of hockey commentators and play-by-play folks like Dave Randorf, Ray Ferraro, Keith Jones, Mike Johnson and Barry Melrose.

“I’m not saying that because I’m his father, but I think he’s really good,” said Dan Shulman, one of the leading play-by-play people in all sports. “I think I get more nervous listening to him than when he does.”

Ben said: “A lot of people, including my dad, have a winter sport and a summer sport. This is how you work all year round. I would like to play baseball in the future and I love basketball too. Honestly, I’d do just about anything you ask of me. I played a bit of hockey, I played field hockey, soccer and little league baseball. whatever you need from me I will do.”


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