Mike 'Doc' Emrick, for decades the voice of NHL and Olympic hockey memories, announces his play-by-play retirement

By Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

"Retire" is such a pedestrian verb, it's hard to believe it has come out of Mike "Doc" Emrick's mouth.

Yet the man with more than 100 terms to describe a shot or pass has in fact announced his last line change.

Did pucks "rattle," "battle," "pitchfork," "shuffleboard," "angle," "waltz," "chip," "hop," "skitter," "waffleboard" or get "ladled" before Emrick left his audience with his indelible imagery?

Perhaps not, and perhaps never again.

Emrick's retirement from his play-by-play duties Monday at 74 follows a half-century covering the sport and 47 seasons calling pro hockey games, the last few months from a make-shift studio in his home outside Detroit.

Since 2006, he has been NBC's lead play-by-play voice. He was with Fox before that after some time with ESPN/ABC. He called other sports over the years - including the NFL - but hockey will be his legacy.


If you have a memory of some historic hockey event from recent decades - such as the Chicago Blackhawks' championships in 2010 (sans goal light for Patrick Kane's overtime winner), 2013 and 2015 - there is a very good chance it's inseparable from Emrick's recitation of it.

Emrick has been the voice of 45 postseason Game 7s in the NHL and described no fewer than 22 Stanley Cup Finals, not to mention six Winter Olympics, 19 NHL Winter Classics and Stadium Series games and 14 NHL All-Star Games.

He said in a self-narrated farewell video he'll continue to contribute occasional video essays for NBC, but this is a seismic shift for lovers of hockey and first-rate broadcasting.

There has been no one better.


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