As a lifelong fan of the game of hockey, I have idolized many players and coaches throughout the years. However, my love for the game would not be the same without one, Mike Emrick. After a 47-year career, Emrick has decided to retire.
Emrick, who is commonly known as “Doc” by most hockey fans, had been a sports broadcaster since 1973. Since his debut, he was best known for his play-by-play work under NBCSN for the past 15 seasons.
My fondest memories of his exceptional play calling included his fascinating choice of verbs to give visuals of what was occurring throughout the game. My personal favorite verb he used was “ricocheted.” Emrick typically used this word when describing a puck that was shot at the post. Every time I could hear a ring off of the post, I knew the atmosphere of the game would not only be a result of the crowd, but Emrick’s emphasis on how close a player was to scoring.
As exciting as Emrick was in the regular season of the NHL, nothing compared to his voice in the Stanley Cup playoffs. What allowed Emrick to succeed was his lack of bias. It was evident in every game I heard him call that he was ecstatic towards both teams.
As a Philadelphia Flyers fan, nothing excited me more than to watch the game on NBCSN listening to Emrick call the game. I vividly remember the 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Emrick was the play-by-play broadcaster for this best-of-seven series which included many goals, dirty hits and vicious brawls. To this day, it remains my personal favorite series the history of the Philadelphia Flyers. My 12 year-old self owes a large portion of gratitude to the man who called the series better than anyone ever could.
As I continue to watch this sport passionately, there will be a mix of emotions that cross my mind every nationally televised game. Part of me will always expect to hear the true voice of hockey when I turn a game on. Unfortunately, I will never hear the voice of Emrick calling another game. On the bright side, there are countless memories I have of Emrick exemplifying how exceptional the game of hockey has been and always will be.
Mike Emrick will always have a special place in my heart. I believe that I can speak for just about every hockey fan in the world thanking not only the heart and soul of hockey, but as an exceptional person.