Interview with Suzie Cool – Rochester Amerks New In-Arena Host

Image from Tim Cammett from Getty Images

When I began my interview with Suzie I had one rule for myself, do not make any puns surrounding her last name! If you think you have a new, clever pun for Suzie Cool I assume she’s heard it before and while Suzie Coolaid or Suzie Coolikov are fun to say I ask that we keep the comments professional!

Prior to asking Suzie to join us for an interview I didn’t know much about her outside of her newly found employment with the Rochester Amerks. With the Amerks season underway we thought it would be a perfect time to introduce the new multimedia journalist and in-arena host. It won’t take long for you to see that there is an incredible story behind her journey to Rochester.

Before you read follow her on Twitter @suzkewl

The Charging Buffalo: 

Thank you for joining The Charging Buffalo and congratulations on joining the Amerks organization! As you mentioned before we started, you just made the move to Rochester so where are you from and what are your initial reactions to The Flower City?

Suzie Cool: 

“I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Born and raised in the Steel City I never thought I would find another place like home, but to be honest I have been lucky to find a few. Rochester may be a new city for me to experience but a large portion of why I moved here was the initial impression that I gave off during my first visit. The people, the bridges and the city feel – felt like where I came from and I knew that it was the next place to call home.”

The Charging Buffalo: 

As a Rochester native I love to hear it! We’ll see if these feelings change come the snow storms of winter. What was it like to get the call that you got the job with the Amerks and what advice would you give to someone who might be contemplating a move to a new area for work?

Suzie Cool: 

“Let’s start with the call. The process with the Amerks was four rounds, from preliminary screenings to an in-person interview. I didn’t think I would get a call for at least a week after making my visit, and the next day I received the call.

What I like to emphasize here though is how sudden I made that decision. I knew in my heart that I needed to take it that same day, but waited until the following to make the callback and accept the offer. 24 hours to change my life and I did.

I tell this because when I was offered my first position with the Salem Red Sox (a job I had prior to Rochester) it took me almost a month to decide to make the move away from Pittsburgh. I think this decision really just showed the growth that I have had in the last two years and that’s something I can thank Salem and Pittsburgh for, they both helped me learn when it’s time to kind of let go and move on to that next step.

As for anyone contemplating making a move for a new job. Just do it! Yes, you’ll miss where you are from at times, but there is so much of the world to be seen and that starts with breaking out of your comfort zone. Now I look at new places with excitement – it’s not necessarily about the jobs either – it’s about the people and moments I get to add to my incredible journey.”

The Charging Buffalo:

That’s awesome to hear! You clearly have a ton of passion for what you do. Throughout your journey to Rochester do you have any moments that stand out that clarified you were in the perfect field?

Suzie Cool:

“There’s definitely a couple of moments that stick out in my mind. The first one would be my first game ever as a Pirates Ball Girl back in April of 2014. I remember looking up at the stands, in this huge place and realized that all the people that were there that night were there to have fun and to be surrounded by the people that they love and to enjoy something together.

One of my next moments was when I got hired on with AT&T Sports Network (formerly ROOT Sports Pittsburgh). After a couple of months into the job, I just meshed with the entire crew so well, no matter if I was watching the guys in the studio making magic, watching the live broadcast from the truck or even up in the booth stage-managing from time to time. It was the first place that really accepted me for who I was and what I wanted to do in this industry. Those people and that place still have my back to this day and are some of the biggest supporters cheering me on. They made me realize just how much I belong.

Another huge moment that came this past season with Salem was when my broadcasting partner and I made history as baseballs first all-female broadcasting booth. Now it’s going to sound crazy, but making history isn’t what I remember from the moment it’s the outpour of love that both Melanie and I received that made everything so special. I remember the days leading up to April 23rd and I remember the days after, just the amount of support that we saw was unreal. A lot of the support I received came from my home town of Pittsburgh. Seeing the love from a city that has watched you work so hard is something that I can’t put into words. Knowing that an entire place believes in you makes you put your head down and work that much harder, because now I’m not just doing this for me I’m doing it for all of them too.

Last but not least, the moment that I accepted this position with the Amerks was another major moment that made me realize I’m on the perfect path for my own personal journey. I was terrified but I also was so ready for that next step and that’s something that both Pittsburgh and Salem helped prep me for. After only being here for a week, I already know what is expected of me and what I need to do in order to rock at my job. I don’t think if I “didn’t belong” then I wouldn’t be able to say that and I’m confident in the product that I can produce for the Amerks because I know I belong.”

The Charging Buffalo:

That is absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing and bringing that mentality and advocacy for women in sports to Rochester. With you, yourself being a role model for aspiring journalists I’m curious to who you looked up to when you were younger or even if you still follow someone closely today.

Suzie Cool:

“I can’t really pin anyone specific that I looked up growing up, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve began to appreciate everyone who works in this industry more and more. No matter who you are, if you’re even living a small part of your overall dream than that’s more than a lot can say and I commend anyone for that.

Now being from Pittsburgh I will say that my favorite broadcasters are the crew we have with the Pirates. Between Greg Brown, Joe Block, Bob Walk, and the now-retired Steve Blass. I had some great guys to look up to and work with my time in Pittsburgh. They do a great job at calling a ball game but also know that it’s a game that needs sometimes needs reminding that it is fun. Thanks to them, that’s kind of how I take on all of my work. It’s not always about the stats but the people behind those stats or the people within the stadium that can really bring a season to life and make it worth remembering.”

The Charging Buffalo:

Going off of that, much of your experience has been centered around baseball. With your new role being within Hockey and Lacrosse have you done anything in preparation?

Suzie Cool:

“I’ve been working in hockey since 2015 between the Penguins, AT&T Sports Network, the Wheeling Nailers and the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs I’ve seen five seasons in the sport. Right now it’s really just time to dive into the game of hockey and learn it just as well as I know the game of baseball. That starts with getting to know the team, what kind of players we have on the roster, the coaching staff, the organization and then being able to do a great mix of work that showcases the guys personalities while showing how great they are at the game.

With lacrosse, it is a little different I will say. I have never worked in lacrosse, only watch a couple of games at my alma mater Saint Vincent College. Our training camp is beginning in a couple of weeks so I will begin to research are roster here starting next week and start really studying the game before the season kicks off on November 30th.”

The Charging Buffalo:

I’m not sure which team name is cooler between the Wheeling Nailers and Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs! I’m sure you’ll do a fantastic job. I don’t want to keep you too long on this so I was thinking we’d close with some fun rapid-fire questions that sound good?

Suzie Cool:

“Sounds perfect!”

The Charging Buffalo:

Have you had a Garbage Plate yet in Rochester?

Suzie Cool

“I have not!”

The Charging Buffalo:

Yikes, you’re gonna want to get on that! Next question: Best spot you’ve been to in Rochester so far? Bar/Restaurant/Etc

Suzie Cool:

“Oh mannn, that’s tough considering I’ve only been here two weeks to the day. Between work and getting adjusted to a new life, I haven’t been to many places and not to sound cliche but I’m going to say The Blue Cross Arena. Nothing better than feeling right at home while doing something you love!”

The Charging Buffalo:

Beautiful answer! I’m guessing this will get another great politician answer but it’s Penguins vs Sabres is tonight, probably in the past by the time this posts. Who are you rooting for?

Suzie Cool:

“That is toughhh…I’ve never been in the position where my hometown team is playing who I currently work for. Knowing it’s in my best interest I’ll have to say Sabres, but also take note that I bleed black and gold like any true Yinzer.”

The Charging Buffalo:

Welp I’ll try not to hold this against you when my Browns finally win the AFC North! Alright, speaking of Buffalo are we bone-in or boneless wings and blue cheese or ranch?

Suzie Cool:

“I could go either way with wings, but bone-in seems to have the better meat honestly. I also love sauce, so between blue cheese and ranch, it’s a tie!”

The Charging Buffalo:

That’s incredibly fair! Alright, are there any last words you want to give to Amerks/Sabres/Knighawks fans before the seasons kick-off?

Suzie Cool:

It’s not every day you get to talk with one of the broadcasters on the first-ever all-female broadcast team! An incredible person and a great addition for the Rochester Amerks and Knighthawks. The only problems that need solving are to get Suzie to try a garbage plate and renounce ranch as an option to pair with wings! At least she said bone-in wings over boneless right? I’m incredibly thankful for her time and if you haven’t yet be sure to follow her @SuzKewl on Twitter!

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