A giddy me 14 years ago with the great Rick Jeanneret

Best Sports Announcers – Part 1: Hockey

As quarantine continues and the reality that sports travel is a long, long way off from returning, I thought it would be fun to dive into a different segment of sports: The commentator. Being a fan and close follower of most sports, there’s a lot of announcers you hear in a lifetime. There are few that are great, some that are bad and many that are pitiful. But those rare great ones, always get you excited to watch the game they’re calling and they bring the sport to another level. So in no particular order or time, I’ll throw out some of my favorites (and dislikes) in the announcing world. Since my favorite announcer calls hockey home…let’s start there:

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Favorite Play by Play (national)

  1. Doc Emrick (NBC) – I mean, was there any question? A master wordsmith that has a voice that matches the intensity and speed of the sport. At 73 years old, he still has his fastball. In addition to his pure passion for hockey, he is a terrific human being. In 2016, Doc called the AHL All-Star Game. Could you ever picture Buck or Nantz calling a minor-league event?
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  2. Chris Cuthbert (TSN / NBC) – Incredibly underutilized by NBC, maybe that’s because I’m unaware of his TSN duties, this Canadian has been at it for awhile. He became a personal favorite of mine when I was going to college in Oswego, NY and we picked up CBC and I would hear his calls for Vancouver-Calgary-Edmonton games. Not necessarily the best pipes, but he calls the game really well.
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  3. Gord Miller (TSN / NBC) – I’ve warmed up to him over the years and have really grown to appreciate how he calls the game. Has a fast pace and a distinctive voice during bigger moments.

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Favorite Color Commentator (national)

  1. Eddie Olczyk (NBC) – The perfect compliment to Doc as he is one of the rare color guys who understands that it is best to keep their mouth shut during play. I get so annoyed at all the pairs that decide to have conversations during the game. He sticks to analysis between whistles and he is really good at it too.
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  2. No one else – It’s incredible that a major network (NBC) doesn’t have a #2 team as they really on local talent that pulls double duty. On the other side of the border, I don’t have too much experience, but haven’t heard anyone I’m enamored with.

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.Favorite Play by Play (local)

  1. Rick Jeanneret (Sabres) – My childhood icon. The voice of the Buffalo Sabres for their entire existence and the soundtrack to so many memorable and happy moments of mine. His calls are legendary and while his play-by-play may be over-the-top for some, there is a reason why you can simulcast him on radio. He’s that good. And if you’ve never heard him call a fight…well, here you go.
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  2. Sam Rosen (Rangers) – Distinctive, excellent game-caller and enthusiastic without being a homer. He is a pleasure to listen to as a neutral and a treasure to Ranger fans. Now if they could just get JD back instead of Micheletti.
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  3. John Kelly (Blues) – There’s not many others that present a natural call. He has a higher pitch voice, but that doesn’t distract. My favorite call of his was this 3 on 0 game-winner for the Blues.

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.Dislikes

  1. Pierre McGuire (NBC) – This sums it up.
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  2. Jack Edwards (Bruins) – It’s easy to hate on Boston, especially when it comes to their sports teams. Jack makes it even easier.
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  3. Joe Beninati (Capitals) – I was the happiest person in the world when he finally was removed from NBC national broadcasts. I’ve avoided him ever since.

 

 

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