The film was called “The Rise of Johnny Hockey,” but it might as well be now called “The Rise of Kieran McGirl.”
The 22 year-old Sewell native and Gloucester Catholic High School graduate was revealed as a winner of New England Sports Network’s (NESN) Next Producer for his filmmaking piece on Johnny Gaudreau, a fellow high school classmate and current player for the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
McGirl’s work started out as one of 11 to be judged by Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox; and Brad Falchuk, co-creator and executive producer of the television shows “Glee” and “American Horror Story.”
In the final episode, broadcast on NESN, McGirl was left standing with the team of Kaley Roberts, Christina Beine and Brittney Badduke, filmmakers of “On the Mic,” the story of Connor Lenahan who overcame physical disabilities to be “the voice of Boston University.”
Werner and Falchuck ultimately announced all four finalists as winners of the contest, and in addition to receiving jobs at NESN, the teams split the $20,000 prize.
Over the past year, McGirl, a recent graduate of Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, has talked with Gaudreau and his family and friends, and compiled clips of his expertise on the ice to craft his film. During the competition, he received feedback from producers, tweaking his work into a winning documentary.
Now, merely weeks after his graduation, McGirl is busy as a NESN producer. “The year-long process paid off,” he said.