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Two alums calling the shots in NHL playoffs

Two men at NHL draft Brien Rea '05 (left) and Doug Plagens '07
June 01, 2024
Linda Blaser

Lake Forest College alumni Brien Rea '05, TV analyst for the Dallas Stars, and Doug Plagens '07, radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Florida Panthers, are following their teams' progress in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Should each team win their respective conferences—the Stars are in the Western Conference and the Panthers in the Eastern—they will compete in the Stanley Cup finals. 

Both Rea and Plagens began their illustrious careers in sports broadcasting at Lake Forest College, where they honed their skills covering Forester hockey for the College radio station, WMXM 88.9 FM.

Today, Rea is in his sixth season with the Stars broadcast team, returning to his role as host after three seasons as a television analyst. Rea has earned significant recognition, including two Lone Star Emmy awards in 2023 for Sports Program–Live (Jamie Benn’s 1,000th game) and Anchor–Sports Program. He won his first Lone Star Emmy in 2021 for Sports Program–Live (Stars Live–Return To The Stanley Cup Final).

Plagens, in his eighth season as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Florida Panthers, boasts over 1,000 games of professional hockey broadcasting experience across the NHL, AHL, and ECHL levels. Besides being the voice of the Panthers, Plagens co-hosts the club’s official “Territory Talk” podcast, engaging fans with in-depth hockey discussions.

The journey of these two accomplished broadcasters was highlighted in a 2019 Forester Athletics website story by Cam McGuire ’19, “From Lake Forest College to the NHL.” McGuire, also a communication major, followed in Rea and Plagens’ footsteps providing play-by-play for Forester Athletics, and is now director of broadcsting for the Idaho Steelheads, the Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate. 

From their early days at Lake Forest College to their current success in the NHL, Rea and Plagens exemplify the dedication and passion that Lake Forest alumni bring to their professions. Their journey from covering Forester hockey to making their mark in the NHL is a testament to their talent and hard work.