When it comes to sports and community involvement, CTV Chief Meteorologist Josh Classen and family epitomize team spirit
Growing up in Lloydminster, Josh Classen found an early love for broadcasting. Already a regular at the local rinks as an aspiring NHL goaltender, Classen filled his off-ice time by announcing his younger brother’s hockey games. That passion for sports and communication has grown into a successful television career and has fueled important life lessons that he and his wife are passing on to their three children.
As the chief meteorologist for CTV Edmonton for the past several years, Classen has become one of Edmonton’s most trusted weather gurus, a champion for dozens of charities and a proud husband and father. But Edmonton was almost robbed of his weather expertise and could have seen him as the voice of the Oilers or Eskimos, as a career in sports broadcasting was his intended career choice.
“I actually fell backwards into weather. I went to NAIT wanting to become a sportscaster but got a weather job first,” said Josh.
Although he aimed for a sports position at the local station in Lloydminster, the job ended up being given to Adam Cook, the current sports director at CTV Edmonton. “After a week of doing the weather at CKSA-TV in Lloydminster I was hooked. I was horrible… but I loved it. I was told that when [Adam] left that I could have the sports job. He left, but by then, I loved weather too much to switch to sports,” said Josh.
And it wasn’t long before his fascination for weather forecasting grew, guided in part by influences from stalwarts at Environment Canada.
“When I moved to Saskatoon, I lived a couple blocks away from the Environment Canada offices. I would stop in and visit with Bob Cormier, Wayne Miskolczi, Larry Flysack and the rest of the crew. Those guys taught me as much as three years at MSU [Mississippi State University Broadcast Meteorology Program] and that helped generate a real interest in the science of forecasting,” said Josh.
Even though Classen did develop a successful passion for weather, he never lost his love for sports. While he had dreams of becoming an NHL goalie, the chance never came, but he always appreciated the effort of his parents, which he and his wife Kristin mimics today with their own children’s hectic schedules.
“I can’t begin to imagine how much time and money my parents must’ve sacrificed to help me become a so-so beer league goaltender, not to mention the stress of having a goalie for a son! There is a special place in heaven for the parents of goalies,” said Josh.
Along with a love for weather and sports, a chance meeting at a fashion event Classen was emceeing in Saskatoon resulted in another love—that of his future wife Kristin.
“Kristin and her girlfriend were attending to show support for her friend’s sister. I remember turning to my co-emcee and saying, “I love that woman!” My co-emcee rolled her eyes… but it really was love at first sight for me. It took Kristin a little bit longer to fall for me!
A conversation briefly after the fashion show resulted in the discovery that Josh knew Kristin’s older brother and that they would both be attending a mutual friend’s wedding later that summer. They reconnected shortly before that wedding and the rest is history as they say.
Fast forward several years and now the Classens have three wonderful boys: Oaklan, Pryor and Beckett, all of which are now heavily involved and passionate about various sports of their own. But with that comes an ever-growing hectic schedule for the Classens, given Josh and Kristin’s busy work schedules and charitable events, combined with several sports and conflicting games and practices for the children.
All three boys are in swimming, golf and rock climbing. Oaklin trains with the St Albert Olympians Swim Club, Pryor is on the track team at school, Beckett plays hockey and tennis. As well mom Kristin takes Sculpt-Barre classes several times a week while Josh plays hockey twice a week.
But how do they manage all those various commitments?
“Hand-written daytimers are essential! To be honest… we don’t know anything different [from other parents.] We’ve learned to be satisfied with doing the best we can and not beating ourselves up over things that can’t get done. We’re a team and support each other the best we can,” said Josh.
Despite scheduling challenges, both Josh and his wife are happy to be run ragged due to their belief that sports for their children are essential building blocks in their development into young men.
“Sports teaches so many valuable lessons to children. We don’t expect any of them to turn pro. But we do want them to learn how to work with others, how to push themselves, how to win and lose, how to listen to instruction, how to lead and follow. We want them to be healthy and hopefully, sports keeps them out of trouble!”
“Watching them enjoy themselves is great. But the best part is the feeling that we’re actually doing something that will help turn these three great boys into responsible, successful men,” said Josh.
“Sports teaches so many valuable lessons to children.”
But the lessons taught in organized sports are not the only values being taught to the kids as community involvement and charity is also a big part of the Classen household.
One of his great local charity successes in Edmonton is the creation of Hats for Homeless: a program that donated toques to homeless shelters in Edmonton for five years. What started as a way for Josh to wear goofy hats on the air has resulted in an overflow of toques, so much so that he is looking to create a new community initiative.
Josh has also been involved with the Stollery Children’s Hospital, the Alberta Diabetes Foundation, the Canadian Breast Cancer CIBC Run For the Cure, the Excel Society and much more.
“We were just raised knowing that there’s a value and joy in helping others. I also realize that we’re pretty lucky to be in the position we’re in. There’s a responsibility that comes with the job I have and I’m happy to do all I can to help as many people and organizations as possible,” said Josh.