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Hockey Play-by-Play Legend Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick Announces Retirement

Photo by: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

By Matthew Zimmer

Since high school, I’ve wanted to be in sports broadcasting/reporting. I went to college and was fortunate to do some play-by-play.

There were at least two sports I was nervous about calling, volleyball and hockey. I called high school volleyball a few years ago, but I will never call a hockey game. It moves to fast, it’s crazy.

If you’re not a hockey fan, I get it. I’m not big into the sport either. However, if you never listened to Mike “Doc” Emrick, you missed out big time. Sadly, now you won’t get to listen live, anymore.

Emrick announced his retirement from calling hockey play-by-play on Monday.

He spent 50 years in hockey. Emrick is the only hockey broadcaster to win an Emmy Award, he has six. He also became the first member of the media inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

You hear people say “he had a way with words” about a lot of the great speakers, broadcasters, authors, etc. in the world, but when I say it about Emrick it’s ridiculous the “way with words” he truly had.

He found innumerable ways to call a goal, a pass, a save, a line change, whatever was on your screen. I never understood how he was able to just effortlessly throw words into a broadcast.

I don’t have a favorite call of his, however I made it a point to watch at least some Stanley Cup playoff games just so I could hear Emrick call games.

NHL play has so much going on. He made it so easy not only to follow what was happening, but also he helped non-devout hockey fans (like me) understand what rules, strategies, etc. are being implemented.

When I watch hockey again next playoff season, I will be sad Emrick won’t be on the call. Selfishly, I hope someone will convince him to come back and call just the Stanley Cup Finals games.

He represented hockey to me. He delivered a masterclass in play-by-play every single game.

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic put it best: “No sports broadcaster ever did frantic better than Mike Emrick.”

Amen.

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