Hockey Broadcasters

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Leaf Lander, Oct 20, 2005.

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  1. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    who is the best current nhl broadcaster?
    who is the best current nhl colour man?
    who is the best intermission host?

    who is a part of your dream 10 man nhl tv pannel ?


    who are the best all time announcers in your opinion?


    do you have any memorable stories to share about your favorite teams hockey playbyplay and colour commentary announcers?
     
  2. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Foster Hewitt and Danny Gallivan are widely considered the two best ever, and for good reason. They were the best.

    But I grew up in B.C's Lower Mainland listening to Jim Robson. He's my all-time favourite. For years, he was CBC's unofficial top guy. The moment the Canucks were eliminated from the playoffs (usually early), he'd become the CBC's lead voice. He called Bob Nystrom's Cup-winning goal in 1980.

    He did his best to be impartial, he carried Tom Larscheid for decades, and he didn't get over-excited. When Kirk McLean made the improbable save off Robert Reichel in Game 7 of the 1994 series vs. Calgary (likely the single biggest play in Canuck history), Robson didn't shout out at the top of his lungs about how it was the most amazing save ever, like some of 2005's raving lunatics, or yell "Oh Baby!" He said "a marvellous save by Kirk McLean" in a raised voice, giving the listener an understanding of the importance of the play, then told the listener that the light went on, but it wasn't a goal, informing the listener of how close Calgary came to scoring. To me, that's the most indicative call of Robson's career.
    (Go to the 1994 sub-section on the history page at canuckscentral.com to hear Robson's call).

    Not a big fan of most modern broadcasters. Most are cut from the same mould: they're homers and they are too excitable. . (It's even more embarassing when it takes place on a national network, right Bob Cole). If I had to pick one, I'd say Chris Cuthbert, despite his occasionally annoying voice. But Robson would still do a better job than any of them.

    Always liked Harry Neale and Ryan Walter as colour men. Dick Irvin is my all-time favourite? I know he's taken a reduced role, but few in the history of the industry have been better. Informed, articulate, insightful and can still break down a game.

    (I did a couple years of volunteer colour commentary for my local junior team, but I guess I can't count myself. I also have a few friends who are working their way up through the junior ranks right now).

    Intermission host? Ron MacLean. Of course, I'm a big Grapes fan. Anytime Bob McKenzie starts to speak, I listen. Loved Brian Burke's work with TSN, but few in the game are more tailor-made for TV than Burke. (Roenick will make a great candidate one day, too. Drew raves for his analyst work during the World Cup).
     
  3. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    for crying out loud you missed howie meeker

    jimminee crickets :D
     
  4. Chili

    Chili Registered User

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    Some of my favorites announcers from over the years

    Mike Lange
    Rene Lecavalier
    Dan Kelly
    Mike Emrick
    Danny Gallivan
    Marv Albert
    Foster Hewitt
    Bill Hewitt

    They are pretty much all legends behind the mike.

    Colour men? A few:

    Mickey Redmond
    John Davidson
    Greg Millen
    Gilles Tremblay
    Howie 'Stop it right there!' Meeker
    Roger 'Captain Video' Neilson
    Mike Keenan (when he was doing that job).
     
  5. Marcus-74

    Marcus-74 Registered User

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    Dan Kelly is the best of all-time IMO. Great voice and didn´t seem to have irritating mannerisms.

    Danny Gallivan might be a legend, but his hollering (for a want of a better word :D ) just gives me (wrong kind of) shivers.
     
  6. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Can't believe I forgot Howie Meeker. Yeah, the voice was a little grating at times, but he could dissect a game with the best of him. The Meekerisms always provided solid entertainment. Hey, how can you not love a guy who beat Gordie Howe for Rookie of the Year? He also served a term as an Ontario MP. (I believe while he was still an active player).

    I still enjoy the work of Mike Emmerik and Sam Rosen. There's a reason those two are usually at the top of lists when it comes to U.S. national broadcasting. I also miss the guy who used to call Bruin games on WSBK in Boston. Loved the guy's voice, always struck me as knowledgeable.

    One guy I forgot: Bob Ridley. The only play-by-play voice in the 30-plus year history of the Medicine Hat Tigers. He's done more for junior hockey than likely any commentator. "I'm not only the Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play guy, I'm also their bus driver." Had the chance to meet him last year. A class act all the way.

    Funny Ridley story. Tigers were playing in the 1975 WHL playoffs. (Way before my time, but he relays the story like it was yesterday. Game was in overtime, and a Tiger player had a wide open net, but he hit the crossbar. Ridley exclaimed, on air, that the player "hit the f***ing post." And he's still calling games 30 years later.

    Dan Kelly. Isn't he the uberhomer who calls games for the Sabres, who would annoyingly exclaim "Save Hasek" even after the most routine stops?
     
  7. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    The entire industry is plagued by the catch phrase, style as substance, ESPN sportscenter glibness.

    The announcers I heard growing up (fred Cusick and Bob Wilson doing Bruins play by play) and others of that generation had the distinct advantage of being radiomen first --- they had to paint legitimate pictures rather than just blathering.

    Dan Kelly was the first national guy I noticed when he was doing play by play for the old CBS game of the week. Who can forget his "Sanderson to Orr" commentary?

    Amongst current announcers, I'll be a homer and say Mike Emrick. He was the first announcer for the old Maine Mariners and he lets the game speak for itself.
     
  8. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    Montreal's been spoiled with Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin. I heard someone rating broadcasters once and they paid due to Hewitt by saying he was the first, he created modern hockey play by play and invented phrase that everyone copied, Like , I assume, he shoots he scores. He then went on to say while Hewitt was the first,Gallivan was the best. No one used the language and conveyed the game the way he did. Irvin is a great hockey man. I can understand people a little west of me not being crazy about him, I suppose he tended to tell the story from the CH point of view, but his passion and love of the game always came thru.

    Some don't like Miller/McGuire but I enjoy their work more than anyone else right now. The Rangers have always had good broadcasters like Marv Albert,and a few orthers I've heard on their network but never caught their names.

    Most of the HNIC crew are pretty well interchangeable to me. They have no one I make a point of listening to,maybe Hrudey,but no one else. McKenzie gives the most insightful analysis about the game in general. Davidson is good too.

    I agree with the mention of Dan Kelly. Maybe I'm partial to that generation of broadcasters,but I liked the way they sold the game rather than themselves. I find a lot of the current guys pick up lines and wait for chances to use them. It sounds rehearsed to me.
     
  9. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Agreed.

    Best - Dick and Danny
    Best current - Jim Hughson.....Cuthbert a distant second.
    Hon. Mentions: Long John D, Red Fisher, Brian McMapleleaf, Dave Hodge
    Memorable voices - Tim Ryan, Bill Hewitt
     
  10. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    I gotto mention Don cherry no one gives an opinion like him even if hehas woeflly misstepped he is entertaining. He takes the viewer in his clasp and he just punches his opions into our heads every week during coaches corner:)

    Bryan Macfarlane Bill Hewitt Dave Hodge don whitman steve armitdge scott oak bob cole ron maclean kelly hrudey Chris Cuthbert greg millen, harry neale, ryan walters scotty nowman pat burns bryan burke rick vaive mark osborne steve kouleas Tim Micallef Steve Ludwig James Duthie Gino Reda Darren Dutchyshen Jay Onrait Rod Smith Joe Bowen Martine Gaillard Jim Van Horne Bill Watters Nick Kypreos Al strachan
     
  11. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    I believe I stand corrected on the Dan Kelly front. Who's the uberhomer on Buffalo radio broadcasts.
     
  12. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    Ill answer that for yah

    Rick Jenneret

    :D
     
  13. MiamiScreamingEagles

    MiamiScreamingEagles A Fistful of Dollars

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    Some of my current favorites: Sam Rosen, Mike Emrick, Pat Foley and Mike Lange.

    Commentators: John Davidson and Andy Brickley.

    Former commentators: Bill Clement and Derek Sanderson.

    I like listening to the Canucks' feed on NHL.com, too.
     
  14. RandV

    RandV It's a wolf v2.0

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    Speeking of the Canucks feed, any announcers ever when an arena's 50/50 draw? I thought that was quite funny while listening to the Canucks/Coyotes game on radio.
     
  15. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    A friend of mine once won the 50/50 while calling a Junior A game for the cable network that I used to volunteer for. During a stoppage in play, he had to tell the PA announcer to wait until the end of the game before he could show the winning ticket. Of course, it's junior A, so the pot was probably around $300-500, peanuts compared to what Shorthouse and Larscheid won last night.

    At our Junior A games, they announce the 50/50 winner's names over the PA system. I would doubt they do that at GM Place (for security winners), but imagine the reaction from the crowd if they heard Larscheid and Shorthouse won? Friggin' guys.
     
  16. Leaf Lander

    Leaf Lander Registered User Sponsor

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    lets stay on topic please no 50/ 50 talk thanks
     
  17. ClassicHockey

    ClassicHockey Registered User

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    What is so great about today's broadcasters is that they all have their unique style.

    Not much has been written about Foster Hewitt and his effect on broadcasting. Foster Hewitt wasn't the first to do play by play of a hockey game but he certainly was a pioneer. I listened to his play by play growing up but I didn't realize how good he was until I listened to broadcast tapes of games in the 1940's. I found that Hewitt was giving game analyses at the same time that he was calling the play by play. Of course, this was before colour analysts but I was amazed at the handle he had on what was happening and what was going to happen. In fact, back in the 30's and 40's, before any video, Hewitt's interpretation of events were often used when deciding on disciplinary actions on on-ice incidents. Compare that to, let's say, Colin Campbell asking Joe Bowen what his version of a certain incident involving a Leaf. That testifies something about the esteem that hockey had for Foster Hewitt.

    Listening to these broadcasts made me really appreciate not only how good he was but how he could mesmerize a whole nation of listeners, expecially during wartime.

    This is a true story, during the height of World War 2, after Japan had attacked Pearl Harbour, the Canadian military were lacking long range binoculars for their forces to keep lookout on the west coast. Various requests were made on numerous radio programs and newspapers for the general public to help out. The response was abysmal. But, on one saturday night, on one of Hewitt's coast to coast broadcasts, the request was made and during the following week, there were so many binoculars sent in by the public, that they had to issue a further notice not to send anymore!

    Hewitt's broadcasts were especially helpful for morale among Canadians across the country during the dark days of the war, but also were extremely helpful to Canadian (and British & American) servicemen overseas in war zones. Canadian soldiers manning their posts in the fox holes at night in Tobruk in North Africa fearful of German attack, would hear Hewitt describing play by play over the sound system and it would bring tears to their eyes as they were suddenly 'back home.'

    But sometimes, those broadcasts could cause problems. One pilot during the Battle of Britain was sent to patrol the skies over the English channel watching for enemy planes at night. He was patrolling when the hockey game was put on the radio and he was mesmerized listening to Hewitt and the action that in his mind, he was also 'back home' and relaxed from his stress. He was lucky to realize his situation as a German Messerschmidt bore down on him. He survived to tell his story.

    What I'm saying that in historical perspective, Foster Hewitt has to have had more of an influence on the listeners than most other hockey broadcasters.
     
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