Fluto Shinzawa on the Boston.com Bruins blog reports that NESN has hired Naoko Funayama to replace Rob Simpson as Bruins reporter on the network’s telecasts.
Funayama has been a freelance reporter for NESN on Red Sox stories while working at NH’s WMUR-TV as a full time sports reporter.
She was born in Tokyo and speaks fluent Japanese, this garnered her some attention during the early days of the Daisuke Matsuzaka era as she was pretty much the only local media person who could talk directly wth the Japanese ace. She stepped in as a translator in at least one early press conference.
She has a hockey background, as her NESN bio states that she is a youth hockey volunteer and serves as a coach for SCORE Boston, a program that provides inner-city youth with an opportunity to participate in the sport of hockey.
Here’s an archived article from the New Hampshire Union Leader on Funayama.