A cup of coffee and her daughter’s diaper change in the morning are the only two things that stay the same for Kristin Hallett.
Hallett is the charismatic Flames TV host who makes it her goal for the fans to see the side of players that they never see; that they’re just normal guys. She’s also a new mom and children’s author trying to juggle everything and anything that comes her way.
Sitting in Phil & Sebastian's in East Village, Hallett sips on her coffee. The hustle of the lunch rush is a contrast to the calm demeanor of Hallett, the slow jazz music complements her tone and speed of her voice.
“My dad would always say is, ‘either lighten your load or strengthen your back,’” says Hallett. Instead of lightening her load, she strengthened her back.
The 33-year-old Calgarian is always working on new projects and adding to her portfolio constantly.
She played hockey her whole life and earned a full hockey scholarship to Minnesota State University and took political science.
After school she moved back to Canada and she always knew that she wanted to go into journalism. Hallett turned to the media for jobs.
“I had to learn through the tree of life,” says Hallett of how she got her skills that aided her journalism career.
Her first media job was being an assistant, running coffee for producers on multiple projects. Climbing up in the media world, Hallett worked as a web reporter for CTV Morning Live in Winnipeg and then Breakfast Television in Calgary as a remote host and segment producer.
Soon after, she was hired as a TV Host by the Calgary Flames for the 2012-13 season.
The Calgary Flames released the news to the public in January 2013 after the lock-out that a local personality would be the face of the Flames TV and would bring on-ice experience from her days at Minnesota State.
Calgary Flames TV is the internal media for NHL team. The media team gives the fans behind the scenes access to the players and game day information.
Looking back at her first day with the Flames, she remembers it being a very different than at her previous job where her bubbly personality shined on camera.
She was finally in the big leagues of sports media.
“I was quite overwhelmed and taken back that it’s a grind,” says Hallett. “I fell into into a trap [where I was] trying to be this hard nose hard core reporter.”
“I really had to shed this idea of what the job was and it wasn’t until then that I really started to do what I loved.”
To fans, the hockey players have a well known reputation of being serious and “boring” when it comes to being on camera for interviews, and for social media, they aren’t that personable.
Calgary Flames forward, Sean Monahan is one of the more well-known players to have the “boring” on camera personality. A fan created a parody twitter account dubbed Boring Sean Monahan, that mocked how dull he came across on camera.
“I think understanding that they are human beings … I just think that you’d watch the game differently if you had a little more of a back story.”
“I love those projects that just show a side that most don’t see. I try not to focus on the power play but the story of player inside the helmet and behind the jersey. They are just like anyone else, you just never get a chance to see it.”
It’s not often fans are going to see Calgary Flames defenceman, Dougie Hamilton smile before a game, but they’ll see him continually crack up over a toilet paper joke. She thinks that those projects that the guys are able to forget about hockey for a little bit, are the best ones, even if the video isn’t the best. It’s all about the moment.
Hallett creates projects with the Flames that encompass both a sense of community and light heartedness.
“I always have to remember that the Flames hired me because I brought something else to the table. Maybe that’s not talking about the powerplay intensely with Mark Giordano, but it was talking to Mark Giordano about his work in the community and maybe make him laugh.”
Halletts projects with the Flames will bring out a side of the players that the fans won’t see.
In 2015, she had a successful project of the Flames players reacted to their own Valentines cards. Hallett created puns with the players names and asked them to react to the cards. One of the cards for Lance Bouma read, ‘Valentine, you make my heart go Boums.’
Hallet prides herself in having great relationships with the players and their partners off the ice. She says it was the highlight of her career from these opportunities.
She was asked to MC the A Night Under the Stars on Jan. 3, 2015. A fundraiser hosted by Flames forward Matt Stajan and his wife, Katie Stajan. It was to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, after they lost their son Emerson, shortly after birth in March 2014.
“The how important the cause was, anyone would gladly MC that event and when [they] asked me, I was so honoured and it was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I remember I didn’t care about my hair or makeup standing in front of 500 people, I just cared about the content and that was a very cool feeling.”
So what’s next for Hallett?
“I think everyone would love to cover the Stanley Cup. It’s everyone's dream,” says Hallett. The Flames were last in the Stanley Cup final in the 2004-2005 season and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven.
The C of Red roars with excitement as the players enter the ice, the fire blasts from the jumbotron and a familiar face is on the screen. She’s not only responsible for making the players show a different side, Hallett is interviewing the players, giving the fans all the updates they need on game day.
Her energy at the ‘dome, doesn’t go unnoticed.
“She’s just so calm and relaxing when she comes in [on game day] and just makes everything run smoothly. She’ll be in there just ready to work and get everything ready to make the game go as smooth as possible,” says Spencer Schultz who is one of the switchboard operators for the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.
She is the only on camera female reporter for the Calgary Flames.
“She’s just got this high energy. On game day in the operator switchboard room, she’ll be jumping around, watching the game intensely. She’s the biggest fan and then can turn into a professional,” says Schultz.
Life at Home away from the ‘dome
The roaring sound of the C of Red is quite the opposite noise and atmosphere that Hallett has outside her time at the Saddledome.
Hallett grew up with two older sisters and one younger brother and she was always involved in sports.
“I always loved my hockey road trips and tournaments but getting outside in nature is the best,” says Hallett. She wants to incorporate that love of nature in her daughter.
Along with her siblings, she has her husband Justin Norbraten by her side. She met her husband in one of the most cliche places, the Cowboys tent at Stampede one year.
“Doesn’t everyone meet at Cowboys? It’s like the Tinder of Calgary before Tinder was a thing.”
“I told my girlfriends that I called dibs on him and five years later, I still do,” laughs Hallett.
They wed two years ago in May 2016 in Northern California.
“He’s such a big support in my life,” says Hallett before she pauses for a moment. “He’s just the best.”
Looking back his first impression of her he says, “You just see this gorgeous human and her big personality and [that] makes you want to keep talking to her.”
Norbraten is an oil broker for a company in Calgary, something quite opposite of Hallett’s career.
After the two wed, they had their daughter on Sept. 4, 2017.
“The best thing to ever happen to me had to have been having my daughter, Perrin.” says Hallett.
A bottle of Hallett’s favourite wine, an overheard last name, and a quick search on urban dictionary were how they picked their daughter’s name.
It was between Perrin and her mother’s name, Faye. The deciding factor was that quick search on urban dictionary.
“It was something cheesy like ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’ and we both just had to have the name be Perrin.”
Alongside balancing her life with Perrin and her husband, Hallett is an avid writer. In August 2017, she released her first children’s book.
“I would always remember us going camping...that’s probably where my love of honey bees came from. I was never really afraid of them,” says Hallett. Hallett published a children’s book, Bee Love, which was themed about honey bees.
Bee Love and heartbreak
The book has been one of Hallett’s most personal projects.
Hallett collaborated with illustrator, Mandy Stobo for the book. Stobo’s style gives a child-like presence to the drawings and it aided well with how Hallett wrote.
Each page is filled with colour and carries this story in a way that pulls in kids but also the parents.
According to her site, its a: “tale of a little bee with a hungry heart. What he yearns for, very much, mirrors what we have all desired. His Queen Bee Mother imparts her wisdom and allows her son to discover what matters most in life.”
The idea came from a dream. It was a dream of a honey bee named Will. The dream was so vivid that Hallett needed to write it down.
“I’ve never written down a dream before but this one was telling me to.”
She typed the dream into her notes on her phone and never thought of it for a few months. Around a month after writing down the dream, Hallett had suffered a miscarriage with her first pregnancy.
Later, she randomly came across her written down dream.
“It was like he was speaking to me before he went up to the stars,” says Hallett as her voice cracks.
The book has hidden messages and one special page, dedicated to Will. She takes a moment to pause and says, “It’s my favourite page.”
To the future
There can’t be anything more meaningful and powerful than her Bee Love book, but there will always be a project on the go for Hallett.
She sips her coffee again, thinking about all the new projects that will happen in the future.
“Now that I’m brave enough to share some of my writing … I want to make people feel connected and heard.”
- By Kate Paton