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Friday, September 4, 2015

Howard Balaban
East Niagara Post is proud to announce the addition of Howard Balaban to its ever-expanding list of contributors.

Balaban, a former reporter with the Medina Journal-Register and Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, is joining ENP as a broadcaster for the upcoming Lockport Express hockey season. Balaban will serve as play-by-play caller for the broadcasts.

RELATED: East Niagara Post to broadcast Lockport Express games

As a reporter, Balaban started out at the Olean Times Herald on the Southern Tier. After that, he followed his fiance to Iowa where he worked in communications at the Iowa League of Cities before joining the staff at the Perry Chief. At the Chief, he was promoted from sports editor to managing editor after three months.

When he and his wife moved to Ohio for her medical residency, Balaban served as a copy editor for the Willougby News-Herald in suburban Cleveland. After a brief time at that paper, he elected for the full-time job of stay-at-home dad, which he kept until moving back to Western New York, where he served as a reporter for the US&J and J-R until the paper permanently stopped the presses last year. Since that time, he has done freelance work for the Orleans Hub.

Balaban will be joined on-air by one of three color analysts for each game: Craig Bacon, George N. Root III, and Scott Leffler. The trio extensively covered the Express last season, resulting in the Junior A team naming East Niagara Post as its "official media partner."

Balaban, who is an avid New York Ranger fan, worked closely with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League while he was a student at S.U. He said it is likely that some stories from his time with that club will work their way into game broadcasts. Riffing with Root, Bacon, and Leffler is also something Balaban is anticipating.

"I think we all bring something different to the table, and as the season progresses I think we'll figure out how to best play to each other's strengths," he said.

Balaban also noted that working closely with a team comprised of players at the NA3EHL level will be a new and exciting experience because there is a purer sense of competition without professional-level money involved.

As for his fandom, he made sure to point out, "I've been living in Western New York on and off since 1993. I married into a Sabres family and will root for them whenever they aren't playing the Rangers."

Balaban and his wife, Celeste, live in Medina with their three children, Alex, Teagan, and Rayna.

Balaban is the sixth ENP contributor who formerly worked for the US&J. Two other ENP contributors pull double duty, contributing to the Post while still working for the Lockport paper.

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