The Daily Princetonian caught up with women’s ice hockey team manager and announcer Amelia Koblentz ’25 to discuss the announcing process, women in sports, and how to succeed in a male-dominated field.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
The Daily Princetonian: To start off, how and when did you get into announcing?
Amelia Koblentz: I was introduced to announcing in sixth grade through a class field trip on career day where I got to go see Fox Sports and all of the minutiae behind what broadcasting was. But I didn’t really get involved in broadcasting until ninth grade when I started doing play-by-play. I fully immersed myself in it starting in tenth grade because I got a concussion in ninth grade that didn’t allow me to participate in sports in the way that I really wanted to. I still wanted to engage in the medium in a safer manner, so doing broadcasting was a way of combining my love of performance, sports, and media.
DP: What sports do you have experience announcing?
Amelia: In high school, I worked in the broadcast of volleyball, football, basketball, and lacrosse.
DP: So how did you begin announcing for the women’s ice hockey team at Princeton?
Amelia: It started with my interest in broadcasting in general, but I have an intense love of hockey, and I’m the manager of the women’s team. So through that, I ended up with a couple interviews that led to all of this [announcing]. This opportunity also came about due to some serendipitous timing issues that allowed me to be able to do play-by-play.
DP: How do you prepare for each ice hockey game? What is your routine?
Amelia: I start by watching a lot of hockey — professional games, NHL games, and other women’s hockey games. I spend a lot of time looking at the past broadcasts of Princeton’s opponents from that particular week: to learn their names and pronunciations and see where their focus is as a team. From there, it really goes into looking at the opponents’ players more in depth and finding out who their starters are. As I said, pronunciation is the most important part.
DP: What’s the hardest part about announcing for the team?
Amelia: The positioning of the media box in Baker Rink makes it very difficult to see all areas of the rink. Hockey is a really hard sport to call, considering you have to see and keep up with the movement away from the puck in order to capture the excitement of the future action of the play. So having to be focused on that, while being perched in a place that is on the opposite end of the ice from some of the action, isn’t ideal. The way that the rink is oriented means that I am looking at the rink vertically, instead of horizontally. So I have to readjust myself to call the action from the horizontal angle instead of the vertical angle to make sure that the plays make sense for the viewers of the stream.
DP: You are not only the first student at Princeton to be granted this position but also the first woman. How does it feel to be making history?
Amelia: I love it! But I’ve been put in these spots of being the first woman or the first person to do this throughout my time doing announcing, and so at some point it starts to be frustrating that there haven’t been more women in these roles. But even though I’m the first, I know I won’t be the last, so that is what keeps me going. Soon this space will be occupied by more people like me.
DP: What advice would you give to other women who strive to do sports announcing or coverage as well?
Amelia: I think that any woman going into a field that is predominantly male-dominated should just focus on not changing herself to fit the expectations of other people in the field. The most important thing is to commit to being yourself, representing your strengths, and not allowing those to be minimized in any way. The chances are, if you got into that position, you’ve earned it, or even more than earned it. So just know that, and hold that within yourself as a way to retain your confidence.
DP: What do you think it will take for women to get more recognition for their work in sports, whether it be as athletes, announcers or journalists?
Amelia: I think expanding the amount of advertising will help a lot as well as prioritizing women in sports initiatives. This year with women’s hockey, the NCAA expanded the tournament, and that is wonderful because that means that more players are getting exposed to a larger audience. On the media side, I think it’s all about putting feet in the door. For example, if a woman is already there, it’s about holding the door open for more women to enjoy those same opportunities.
DP: In addition to being an announcer, you’re also the women’s ice hockey team manager and the director of a student-run sports broadcast called Tiger Report. How do you manage these extracurriculars with your schoolwork?
Amelia: Obviously, Princeton life makes it tough, but I think that part of the biggest thing here is finding balance. Now that I’ve found activities that bring me joy, I try to dedicate enough time to get the benefit out of them. All of the things that I’m doing are very interesting and engaging to me, so I make sure to find time to focus on them.
DP: What are you planning on concentrating in?
Amelia: I’m thinking about SPIA [School of Public and International Affairs], but I’m also interested in paths that pursue the mathematical and analytical sides of things, so I’m still undecided.
DP: Are you considering announcing as a possible career path?
Amelia: I get asked that question a lot. It’s not something that has seemed like a real possibility even. Now I’m doing announcing with ESPN+ productions for the team, so it’s very much real. I don’t think it’s something that anyone thinks of going into just because the market is so small. We shall see if an announcing career is in my future. In the meantime, I’m having fun.
DP: If you had one word to describe your time at Princeton so far, what would it be? Why?
Amelia: Busy. Definitely busy. Like we’ve talked about earlier, there are a bunch of different activities to get involved with on campus that are incredibly enjoyable, but at the same time, that can’t detract from schoolwork. It’s all about striking that balance.
DP: Back to ice hockey, seeing as you’re a big ice hockey fan. Who’s your favorite player of all time and why?
Amelia: I would say NHL player Jake Muzzin, specifically from when he was on the Los Angeles Kings, since I’m from Los Angeles, but also now that he’s on the Toronto Maple Leafs. I used to wear the number six, the same number Jake wears, for my club team, so that’s where my love for him started. He’s just an overall great player. He’s someone who’s very solid and consistent in showing up, which was very inspiring. I also strive for his level of consistency.
DP: What other games are you announcing this season, and where can we watch?
Amelia: All the productions will be streaming live on ESPN+. You can go to “Sports” and then find “NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey.” The next games that I’m announcing will be on Jan. 29 and Feb. 19, 2022. So be sure to tune in!
Le’Naya Wilkerson is a contributor to the ‘Prince’ Sports section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.