Dave Wheeler, or just Wheeler, as he’s known on Power 97, didn’t always plan to be on the radio. He once had a full scholarship to play hockey for an American College. But his whole life changed when he got a puck to the face, leaving him blind in the right eye.
The accident happened when Wheeler was 18 years old, shortly before leaving on his hockey scholarship to the University of Denver. Wheeler, 31, who stands at 6’2” with brown hair and dark stubble, began skating “shortly outside the womb.” Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, he played junior hockey as a kid, and dreamed of making the American Hockey League or the National Hockey League. Wheeler says, “That was the only goal I had at the time.”
Wheeler says his outlook on life changed in a big way, “You grow up having people tell you you’re going to do one thing, and all the sudden all that goes away.” However, Wheeler remains positive about his injury and says it could have been worse later in his career.
With his hockey plans unexpectedly taken away, Wheeler says he learned an early lesson in life, “Don’t take anything for granted because it could be taken away from you at anytime.”
The ex-hockey prodigy brings his positive outlook to work, “If you love what you do, and if you’re willing to put in the hours, it doesn’t become work anymore.”
As the host of “Wheeler in the Morning” on Power 97, ironically he’s not a morning person. Wheeler says at times he’s tired and run down from working 20-hour days. On top of that, he also emcees the Bomber and Moose games, “There are certain games where I sit there and go, you know, I would like to be sitting ten rows up with a cold beer in my hand.”
Friend and co-worker at Power 97, Shecky, or Chris Elwick off the air, 30, has known Wheeler for almost ten years and says, “Many people don’t move up as quickly as he did [in radio]. Wheeler has treated me with nothing but respect.”
With the little free time Wheeler has, he enjoys playing hockey in a beer league with some non-industry friends. Adam Zacharias, 24, says, “Wheeler is a great guy, full of jokes and stories. At hockey he’s fun, likes having a good time and the odd brew in the dressing room.” Zacharias adds, “He treats me like a normal person. He isn’t self-centered.”
Wheeler likes spending time with his girlfriend, who attended the interview at Chapters so they could look at books together. The two, who have been dating for over a year, enjoy walks with Wheeler’s new puppy, half Great Dane, half Mastiff. Wheeler says, “Well, work is fun. So trying to find something more fun than what I do for four hours a morning is sometimes, and I know it may sound weird, but sometimes tough.”
Wheeler brings his positive attitude to everything he does, as the leader of the “No Pants Party.” He is doing a mock campaign, along with Power 97, to poke fun at the civic election in Winnipeg. All around the city on signs and billboards, Wheeler appears in campaign-style ads promoting his fake party.
Wheeler’s campaign plans reflect his positive outlook on life, as he is going to help out the Salvation Army closer to the election with a pants donation event.