The first game Craig West called in the Western Hockey League was a win.
So was his 1,000th game with the Tri-City Americans.
The Americans radio man reached the milestone Saturday at Lethbridge as Tri-City beat the Hurricanes 7-3.
West, 56, had a plethora of calls and texts during the last few days from former Tri-City coaches and players, and acquaintances, but there was one he recalled Monday afternoon.
"I got a text about 9-9:30 p.m. in Lethbridge and it was 11:30 p.m. in Detroit," West said. "Stu (Barnes) sent a congratulatory text to me. That meant a lot since (Dallas) just lost 5-2. That one touched me."
West got his start in radio as a morning DJ. He moved on to calling baseball games in 1987 for the Los Angeles Angels in the California League, and called his first hockey game on Sept. 28, 1990 -- for the Spokane Chiefs.
"My first job full time was with Spokane. I was 35," West said. "I called the Chiefs and the Spokane Indians (NWL baseball) games until 1998. My only regret is that I didn't start younger and do sports earlier."
West recalled a comment Chiefs/Indians owner Bobby Brett made when he was hired: "If he's lousy, we can fire him (from hockey) and he can do baseball."
West's first game behind the mic for Spokane was a 7-5 victory over Tri-City at Toyota Center.
"Ray Whitney scored five goals," said West, who went on to call 677 games for the Chiefs.
After the 1997-98 season, West left Spokane to work for the Americans. The grind of hockey and baseball was a bit more than he and his family could handle.
"Ron Toigo hired me and (coach) Don Hay at the same time," West said. "I was asked by a TV reporter at the time, 'why would you come here?' My response, 'the guys were too young to win the previous year. Scott Gomez and Dylan Gyori are good players, this will be a good team.' We went to the division finals where we lost to Kamloops."
West called games for two years for Tri-City before taking off the 2001-02 season. During that time, he called 28 road games for the Vancouver Giants, giving him 1,705 for his career -- second only to Medicine Hat's Bob Ridley, who has called every Tigers game (3,299), except one, since 1970.
The main difference between West and Ridley -- besides 1,500 games -- is that Ridley drives the Medicine Hat team bus, and West won't ride on the bus.
"I have been paranoid of the bus since the Spokane bus crashed in January 1997," West said. "I wasn't on the bus, but I drove past the wreck outside of Cranbrook (British Columbia) coming back from Calgary. The bus had rolled down the hill, I didn't even see it. I drive at my own expense and write it off on my taxes at 55 cents a mile."
After his year hiatus, West returned to the airwaves.
"(Owner) Mark Wagstaff was on a mission. He gave me an offer I couldn't refuse," West said.
Over the years, West has missed just one game with the Americans, for the funeral of his sister-in-law Jeanne West, on Dec. 31, 2005.
West grew up in Panorama City, Calif., and knew from an early age that radio was in his future.
"When I was 10, I would do imaginary games," he said. "Everyone thought I was nuts. When I was 14, I knew what I wanted to do. It kind of came to me. I was destined to do what I do."
While in Spokane, West called the Chiefs Memorial Cup win in 1991. His last game on the Spokane airwaves was the Portland Winterhawks' Memorial Cup title game in Spokane in 1998.
"I remember Innes Mackie (now the Americans athletic trainer/equipment manager) pushing Marian Hossa out on the ice in a chair to celebrate," West said. "He had hurt his knee during the game. That was pretty cool."
During his time in Tri-City, West has worked for several owners and worked with coaches such as Hay, Don Nachbaur and Jim Hiller.
In his 1,000 games, he watched the Americans go from league doormat to a Western Conference title in 2010.
"The one I enjoyed most was the win in Vancouver to go to the WHL Finals," West said. "It made up for some of the bad years."