Many of us have picked up a new hobby while in quarantine over the past year. Barrie Colts forward Ethan Cardwell is no different.
When he and friend Michael Raskin launched Showbound: The Podcast last fall, they had no idea it would turn into one of the biggest hockey podcasts in Canada.
“I figured we’d just do it for fun and maybe we’ll get some listens, who knows,” said Cardwell, thinking about the last few months. “From there, it kind of took off.”
Raskin, who used to work for the Colts, approached Cardwell with the idea of starting a hockey podcast last year. He considered Cardwell a good speaker with a solid network of friends and fellow hockey players the two of them could tap into for guests. Though the idea hadn’t crossed his mind in the past, Cardwell went forward with it as a way to keep busy during the pandemic, and together, they launched their first episode with guest Cole Perfetti in late October.
“It wasn’t even on my radar. I wasn’t even considering anything like this. I hadn’t thought about it at all,” he recalled. “I was bored doing nothing, the rinks were closed, and there wasn’t much going on. I graduated high school last year and I’m taking a few university courses this year so I’m not too busy and I figured this could be something to fill up my time.”
Having had the opportunity build up a lot of connections over the course of his career so far, Cardwell has maintained a consistent guestlist of prominent hockey players including Quinton Byfield, former NHLer and London Knights great Rob Schremp, and Colts teammate Brandt Clarke.
Not only has it become an enjoyable hobby, but it’s been a great way to catch up with old friends, teammates and past opponents – especially at a time when COVID-19 has kept most people at home.
Apple Podcasts: https://t.co/vWyY6iRPt6
YouTube: https://t.co/sHhn3SGjcg pic.twitter.com/KB3SUgTXWf
— Showbound: The Podcast (@ShowboundPod) February 10, 2021
“That’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed most; just having these guys on that I’ve played with or played against and know quite well. It just makes it easy. We can talk about hockey as much as we want but the listeners want some personality too, so it’s nice for me to be able to draw on some stories from the past or draw on some funny stories I’ve heard about,” he said.
“For example, this week we had Hendrix Lapierre from Chicoutimi in the QMJHL on. I hadn’t talked to Lappy in probably in months, so just to be able to catch up with him, see how he’s doing and have a fun conversation, it lets me reconnect with guys I may not see during this pandemic.”
For the past five weeks, Cardwell has been in Sweden playing for Surahammars IF of the Hockeyettan men’s league with fellow OHLers Jack Thompson and Blake Murray of the Sudbury Wolves. Since heading overseas, Raskin has taken over the brunt of the work to allow Cardwell to focus on hockey, but it’s otherwise been business as usual and the duo has continued to put out episodes every Wednesday since the podcast’s initial launch.
Their growing listenership has led to some bigger sponsorship deals as well, including one with presenting sponsor Axel Watch and another with men’s grooming product line Manscaped.
“I had no idea these higher-end businesses would reach out to our podcast but I guess we have to thank our fans for giving us the listens and buying the products,” said Cardwell.
The start date to the 2020-21 OHL season remains undetermined, but the 18-year-old forward remains optimistic and, in the mean time, has enjoyed his first taste of pro hockey overseas. An ongoing career in the sport he loves remains his number one focus, but during what has been a truly strange time for all of us, he’s grateful to have discovered another unexpected love in podcasting.
“I’ve got a lot of support and it seems like people are having fun with it so we’re going to keep the ball rolling and keep producing content that people like,” said Cardwell. “We’ll keep doing what we love.”