North country fans looking to fill the void left by the worldwide disruption of organized sports due to the coronavirus pandemic can now turn to YouTube for help.
That’s where they can find current episodes of the recently resurrected “Wise Guys Sports Talk Show.”
The program first ran on the Shamrocks Sports Network several years ago but was discontinued when network founder Pete Ghostlaw, a Salmon River Central graduate, moved out of the area and relocated to Indian Lake, where he subsequently started the Empire State Sports Network.
“We have a lot of sports history up here that people just don’t know about,” said Joey Reome, who serves as athletic director at St. Lawrence Central and is one of the co-hosts of show. “A few years ago, when Pete started his first network, I talked to him about doing some sort of show where we talked to north country sports personalities and he thought it would be a great idea. We did a handful of shows before he moved away but we hadn’t done anything since.”
“With this pause going on, people who like to watch sports or like to play sports don’t have a lot going on,” he added. “One thing fans really enjoy is talking about sports so we decided to bring the show back.”
Through the internet, Ghostlaw and Reome are joined remotely by the program’s third host, Dan Bartlett, who is also a Salmon River alum. The first episode of the new season aired April 13 and shows featuring a wide variety of area sports figures have been recorded almost daily.
“For our first shows, we picked a location and met there to chat. With Pete and Dan both moved away, and with social distancing and everything else going on these days, we had to come up with a different way of getting everyone together,” Reome said.
“It’s really been amazing,” he added. “Since we started back up, people have been contacting us about getting on the show.”
Each episode is recorded by Ghostlaw via ESSN and is uploaded soon afterward to YouTube. The newest shows can usually be seen starting around 8 p.m. nightly and past episodes can be viewed anytime.
One recent show featured former Massena Athletic Director Tim Hayes, who also served as varsity football and lacrosse coach at St. Lawrence Central and varsity football coach at his alma mater. Hayes recalled growing up in the village of Massena down the block from renowned basketball coach Jerry Welsh, as well as playing football under the guidance of legendary coach Mike Nicholas.
“I know most of the people that have been on and I keep learning things about them and everyone we talk to leads us to somebody else. It’s just amazing. We aren’t having any trouble finding guests,” Reome said.
Recent “Wise Guys” talk shows have featured notable north country guests such as Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, a St. Lawrence Central graduate; SUNY Potsdam men’s basketball coach Tim Bechtel; and former Franklin Academy and Duke standout Missy West. The “Wise Guys” have also interviewed Chateaugay coaches Mike Martin and Jason LaPlante and former SUNY Potsdam men’s basketball coach Bill Mitchell, among others.
Shows in coming weeks are expected to include St. Lawrence University men’s lacrosse coach Mike Mahoney, Section 10 Athletics Coordinator Carl Normandin, St. Lawrence University golf coach Mary Lawrence, and longtime Massena Central hockey announcer Jerry Manor.
“When we first started out, we mostly talked basketball because of my background as coach but now we’re mixing things up and working in other sports,” Reome said.
“We aren’t doing this to sell air time,” he added. “It’s just something to help us pass the time.”