“My friend Doc”: Steamboat podcaster reaches dream guest in episode 250 | SteamboatToday.com

“My friend Doc”: Steamboat podcaster reaches dream guest in episode 250

Vladan Chase, a Routt County firefighter, grew up in Steamboat and fell in love with the hockey community. He started the Never Far From Home podcast and after 250 episodes, he finally got his dream interview, Doc Emrick.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Anyone who lives in or has been to Steamboat Springs knows the city is special in so many ways. For Vladan Chase, it’s not necessarily the mountains, the Olympians or the countless breweries that make it unique.

It’s the people, which is why Chase started his podcast, “Never Far From Home,” to honor the game of hockey, and the community of the rink.

In the podcast’s newest episode, Chase was blessed with the opportunity to chat with legendary broadcaster Michael “Doc” Emrick. It was an interview Chase had dreamed about since he started the podcast in 2020. 

Chase had ambitions for many years to become an NHL broadcaster just like Emrick. It was a surreal moment for him just to speak with one of his heroes. 

“Never Far From Home” aims to highlight the rink community through storytelling, and Chase says that story is told through those who live it, past and present. 

In episode 250, Emrick discusses personal stories encompassing the rink community and includes anecdotes of his friend Peter McNab, who recently died and was a rink community legend in his own right. 

Chase has traveled the country to be the catalyst for telling these stories through a variety of people who keep the community going. The thing he loves most about the rink community is the range of people he can meet and how the rink brings them together. 

“You’re connecting people who may not have otherwise had an avenue of connection,” Chase said. “This connection is so rich and there is so much passion and love involved in it, the exchange of friendships and time is immeasurable.” 

Chase grew up in Steamboat and quickly fell in love with hockey. He became enamored with the atmosphere and the community as much as he did with the game itself. 

“The love of the game commands attention, but the camaraderie shared amongst friends commands time,” Chase said. “And once or twice a week that time is given freely.” 

To give back to the rink community, Chase has done absolutely everything someone can in hockey. He has played, officiated, announced games, resurfaced the ice and so much more. 

At the start of Steamboat’s adult winter hockey league this year, Chase was refereeing a C League game in which one team donned jerseys sponsored by “Never Far From Home.” 

A Steamboat adult rec C league hockey team wearing Never Far From Home jerseys in support of Steamboat local Vladan Chase. It was a full circle moment for Chase who grew his love for hockey on that very same ice in Howeslen Ice Arena.
Vladan Chase/Courtesy photo

“Watching them come out the door and seeing ’Never Far From Home‘ represented in that way was really emotional for me,” Chase said. “It was the rink that this was born at and I don’t know that any one thing was the reason that ‘Never Far From Home’ was born, I think it was a culmination of years of loving the game in so many different capacities.”

It was a full-circle moment for Chase, who grew his passion for the game at Howelsen Ice Arena. It was there he decided he wanted to be with the game forever. 

Chase is excited to share Emrick’s stories and believes his passion for the rink community comes out in a big way. 

“I was lucky enough to sit down with a member of the community of the rink that I had desperately wanted to have on,” Chase said. “As I dial up episode 250 of ‘Never Far From Home,’ I present to you: My friend Doc.”

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