If you have attended SDSU men’s ice hockey games at the Kroc Center Ice Arena or even youth or high school games, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Dave Rambo’s voice over the rink’s public address system. And also likely heard some of the musical segments he’s used to accompany his announcements during games.
And more than likely, you’ve been entertained.
Rambo has perfected his craft over the past dozen or so years as his son Dylan has progressed from the Mini-Mite age group to the 18U-AA level with the Saints Hockey Club, which uses the Kroc Center as one of its home bases.
Dylan Rambo is now a senior at Granite Hills High School.
“I first started into scorekeeping at Kroc Center when my son was a Mite with the San Diego Saints in 2011,” Dave Rambo recalled. “The team asked for a volunteer and I eagerly accepted. I made a point of reading up on all the rules of hockey and referee signals.
“A year later I added music playing during the games. In 2013, I purchased a mixing board and microphone to add announcements to the games and was now running music from a laptop. By this time, I was the go-to guy for scorekeeping as other teams’ volunteers would ask me to show them how to run the score clock system and explain the scoresheets. I also had started doing a few high school games as well.”
Toward the end of the 2014- 15 season, Dylan’s Squirt coach Cody Niewenhuis, who was also the captain of the Aztecs hockey team, asked the elder Rambo if he could fill in for one of SDSU’s games as scorekeeper.
To make a long story short, Dave Rambo brought his equipment and rocked the Kroc Center.
“It was a really great experience, and the crowd was really into the music,” Rambo said. “Some people even told me as I was leaving that was awesome music.”
The next season (2015-16), Niewenhuis asked Rambo if he could do the entire Aztec home schedule.
“I said yes and continued to do my son’s youth games and some high school game h e r e a n d there,” the elder Rambo said. “By this time, the referees would be elated to see me in the booth as I knew what I was doing, knew the signals and calls and kept the game flowing and on time schedule for the rink.
“I was also working on perfecting my techniques in announcing and started having some regular quirks to my pronunciation of things. When the Aztecs asked how much per game I would charge, I said ‘nothing!’ I am an alumni of SDSU, and this is my way of giving back to my alma mater.”
As he continued to do announcing (along with the scorekeeping and music), Rambo tried to bring some things he heard at Anaheim Ducks or San Diego Gulls professional games into his repertoire of technique.
“Hockey is the only sport that the PA announcer is not so much just announcing, hockey announcers through their techniques and moments in the game, pump both the crowd and home team up,” Rambo explained. “We, of course, never disparage or put down a visiting team and, ever since I started announcing, I always have thanked the visiting club for coming to the arena.”
Since he’s been scorekeeping and announcing, Dave Rambo said he has enjoyed watching the SDSU program under head coach Phil Bateman grow. He has worked more than 60 college games coming into this season.
“I continue to do my services for no cost as I enjoy the game of hockey and get to watch it from the best seat in the arena. As I look to the future, I am going to learn to use DJ mixers and add some flair to the music portfolio as I become better at mixing.
“Getting into play-by-play would also be something I would love to learn but then I would have to give up being in the score booth and I enjoy the scorekeeping and announcing too much right now to make that switch.”
The younger Rambo was among the Saints players on the 18U-AA team who participated in an exhibition skate and shoot at Pechanga Arena during an intermission at a recent Gulls home contest.
“The ice was really slippery,” he said. “The crowd was pretty cool. They cheered for us and even booed us. It was fun to be in that atmosphere.”