BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
It all started when Stuart Forbes happened upon a Craigslist ad more than ten years ago.
“Late summer of 2009, I answered an ad looking for a videographer to shoot hockey games and record them to DVD that was then given to each coach and the referee in case there were any questionable calls the league needed to look into,” said Forbes. “The Metro Jets (junior hockey) team was a little rough around the edges at that time and the videos turned out to be needed more often than not. As the years went on, internet streaming of the games came about and that’s when the real fun began.”
Now the video director of the Jets, a United States Premier Hockey League team which just wrapped up its fifth season playing out of Fraser Hockeyland after 26 years at Lakeland Arena in Waterford, Forbes said his job has been pretty consistent for the most part.
“My primary duties haven’t changed much over the years, although once HockeyTV became involved, I don’t need to record the games any longer as HockeyTV makes an archive,” explained Forbes. “I have expanded the broadcast by adding a play-by-play voice, an on-ice microphone for background noise and on occasion, have used different camera angles to make the broadcast more like a television broadcast.”
The Jets have won four national championships in their brief history with the latest coming in 2018 and have been to the national tournament six straight years, including 2020.
Forbes said the atmosphere around the Jets is supremely positive.
“I would say the way things are run for the young men who play for the team is what I like most about the organization,” he said. “The structure in which the owner and coaches are supplying the players goes way beyond just trying to win hockey games, improving not only their hockey skills but skills that will help them in life as well. You get a feeling of family around the team. The motto, ‘Once a Jet, Always a Jet’ goes beyond just the current players. Some players have reached out to former players to learn about college programs that interest them and when nearby, players have stopped in to watch each other play.”
One fun aspect Forbes has experienced with his job is being able to bring his two children, Aiden and Abby, with him on game nights. Aiden goes to Clarkston High School and Abby is at Clarkston Junior High.
“I love having them out with me,” said Forbes. “I get to show them what is I do for work and I get to see them embrace it and work at it. Each of them has a small drive to learn the aspects of television broadcasting and want to know if this would be something they would want to proceed with in life. My favorite thing of all is when moms and dads stop by our ‘booth’ and tell the kids what an awesome job they are doing.”
“Stu has been with the Jets longer than I have and has been a great asset to the program,” said Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “He has a lot of experience in the sports industry and we are grateful to have him on our team. People really enjoy when he calls our games and has built quite the little following over the years. I personally enjoy working with him and he’s always been supportive and professional about our organization’s direction.”
Originally from the Windsor, Ont., area, Forbes has been married to his wife, Glory Forbes, for 18 years. The family of four lives in Clarkston.
“Living in Clarkston is great because it’s a small-town community, the village is small-town America,” Forbes said. “It has several nice shops and some great eateries that have even found their way onto television for offering unique dining experiences. I also love the quiet and serenity of the area. There have been mornings I walk out to get the mail or put the garbage to the road and you get the smell of someone’s wood-burning fireplace or just the calm sound of nothing, like climbing out of a tent on a brisk morning to stretch kind of feeling.”
Forbes said his wife has always been “my No. 1 fan and supporter since day one.”
“When I took the job, she knew it was mainly for the love of the game,” he said. “Now, it’s a love of the game and I love what I have made my broadcast.”
Forbes has also worked as a cameraman with the Detroit Tigers since 2010, and was a cameraman/engineer with the Detroit Pistons from 2014 until the Palace closed in 2017. He has been a broadcast maintenance engineer for Olympia Entertainment since Little Caesars Arena opened in 2018.