NHL broadcasting legend Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick retires after 47-year career

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
 
| The Detroit News

Detroit – Mike Emrick, one of the most popular sportscasters of all time, retired Monday, ending a 47-year career broadcasting hockey.

The Marysville, Mich., resident has been the lead play-by-play man the last 15 years for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage.

Emrick combined an unabashed excitement for the game with a long and unique vocabulary of words while describing the action – a characteristic that appealed to hockey and non-hockey fans alike.

“It was 50 years ago this fall, with pen and pad in hand at old Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, I got my first chance to cover the National Hockey League. Gordie Howe was a Red Wing, Bobby Hull was a Blackhawk, Bobby Orr was a Bruin,” said Emrick in a statement. “A time like this makes me recall that we have seen a lot together. The biggest crowd ever, 105,000 at Michigan Stadium. A gold medal game that required overtime between the two North American powers in Vancouver.

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“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead. I still get chills seeing the Stanley Cup. I especially love when the horn sounds, and one team has won and another team hasn’t, all hostility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship – the handshake line.

“I leave you with sincere thanks.”

In 2011, Emrick became the first broadcaster to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame – one of seven Hall of Fame elections for Emrick. Emrick won eight Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality/Play-by-Play, which is the most ever in that category.

Emrick began broadcasting college and minor league hockey in the 1970s. He rose through the ranks to broadcast 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Stanley Cup playoffs, and six Olympics.

Emrick estimated he’s broadcasted 3,750 professional and Olympic games.

Emrick will remain a member of NBC Sports by occasionally writing and narrating video essays for its NHL coverage.

“Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick is a national treasure – simply put, he’s one of the best ever to put on a headset in the history of sports broadcasting,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president, production, NBC and NBCSN. “Doc’s love of the game and his unmatched style produced true artistry, engaged new fans and quickly became the soundtrack of hockey.

“He lived at the rink on game days, spending countless hours at morning skates to find one more story to seamlessly weave into his frenetic, yet lyrical, call of a game. Doc always found the right words to meet the moment. It’s impossible to put into words the impact Doc has had not only on the game of hockey, but for anyone who has had the distinct pleasure to work with him.”

Said Ed Olczyk, NBC Sports’ lead analyst, who worked the last 14 years with Emrick: “It has been a privilege and education on hockey’s biggest stage to have sat next to Doc for the last 14 years. I will miss his stories, his preparation, his play-by-play, his friendship, and our dinners on the road.

“But most of all, I will miss his trust. My family and I wish him, Joyce, the pups and horses lots of love down the road.”

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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