Meet The Thunderbirds Family: Ian Furness

Brian Liesse

Team photographer Brian Liesse is introducing T-Birds fans to those connected to the team whose contributions might not be readily visible. We are excited about this project because we get to highlight those that make T-Bird hockey possible through their hard work and dedication to the team and the sport of hockey. We look forward to introducing you to T-Birds staff, accesso ShoWare Center staff, Booster Club members, Game Night Staff, Media, and others who help us celebrate and promote the team and the sport in the Pacific Northwest. Each person highlighted has answered a questionnaire about what they do with the team or how they are connected to the team,and some personal highlights. Brian took the photos of each person in their T-Bird environment.

What do you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

Hmm…technically I work for the Thunderbirds and the Portland Winterhawks. My current role as the television play-by-play broadcaster is a joint agreement between the two teams.

How long have you been working for/with the Thunderbirds? 

I did work for the Thunderbirds on their broadcasts from 1992-1994 as their radio play-by-play announcer. During the 1991-92 season I also did some work on the radio as the color commentator for Dennis Beyak and Rich Waltz and did the local play-by-play for the 1992 Memorial Cup Final game on 570 KVI. I also tried to sell tickets in the Summer of 1993. Emphasis tried. I was a horrible salesman.

What is your favorite aspect of what it is you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

I love the game of hockey. Calling a game and hopefully bringing my enthusiasm for the sport to the viewer is the best part of the job.

What is the most challenging aspect of what you do for/with the Thunderbirds?

This is an easy answer. My job is not the same as Thom Beuning’s or even Nick Marek’s in Portland. I am not the “voice” of one team or the other. Instead, by job is to bring enthusiasm and excitement to the telecasts for BOTH teams. As such, the criticism I get from fans of both teams is a challenge. I have been in television and radio for a long time so I am used to it. The frustration comes from fans not understanding the role I have which is unique.

What is your favorite Thunderbirds memory? 

My favorite memories on the ice come from calling games in the early 90’s. A playoff series win over Spokane. Chris Herperger hat trick in one of those games for a come from behind win. And believe it or not, riding the bus and making memories with a great group of kids and coaches and trainer Curt Kamp.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions? 


Are you excited for an NHL team to come to Seattle? 


What do you enjoy doing when not working for/with the Thunderbirds? 

Work, work and work at Sports Radio 950 KJR and KCPQ TV, Q13 Fox. Or golf at Druids Glen.

What position do you/would you play if you were to play hockey?


Who are the Thunderbirds biggest rivals? 

  1. Portland
  2. Portland
  3. Everett

Where can we find you on social media?

@ianfurnesssea on Twitter and Instagram

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