As a young boy growing up in Toronto with a never-ending passion for hockey, seeking ot sources for the game could prove challenging. This was in the pre-internet days and long before the likes of ESPN and TSN initialized 24-hour sports coverage.
Televised hockey consisted of Wednesday and Saturday Hockey Night In Canada games almost always featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and a weekend NHL game of the week, first from CBS and later from NBC. Junior hockey broadcasts of the Toronto Marlboros and Hamilton Red Wings helped fill my need for action.
So did the radio. Thanks to the power of an AM signal, I was able to pull in the broadcasts if Mike Lange and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Kelly and the St. Louis Blues and Rick Jeanneret and the Buffalo Sabres. The arrival of the Sabres also helped add to the TV hockey choices. There were even times when I took some comfort in Fort Wayne Komets hockey on WOWO and the voice of Bob Chase on the call.
Steadily, all of these voices who helped me fall in love with the game and eventually make my own career in the business of hockey, are fading away. Chase left the airwaves years ago. We also sadly lost Kelly. If he wasn’t the best who ever called an NHL game, it was Lange.
Perhaps we can get Jeanneret to call May Day one more time. Maybe it’s just waxing nostaglic, but today’s play-by-play voices are too smooth, too corporate, sound too much the same and seem to be driven more by moving product then describing the action on the ice.
An era of hockey voices are falling silent and another part of my childhood is slipping away.
Crowning The King
NBCsn: Speaking of hockey legends, the New York Rangers will retire Henrik Lundqvist’s number this season.
Vancouver: The third-period collapse of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs still haunts Leafs fans. However, according to Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill, it helped to bring new Canucks defenseman Jason Dickinson to the NHL.
Sportsnet: The latest on the IIHF Women’s World Championship. The US, Canada, and Russia opened with wins.
Philadelphia: The Flyers and Travis Sanheim agreed to a bridge deal worth $9.35 million. That was the NHL’s last active arbitration case.
Detroit: Steve Yzerman has made 28 draft picks in three years as Red Wings GM. However, Yzerman explained to Detroit Hockey Now that sometimes it’s prudent to trade them as well. That’s what the Red Wings did to get Alex Nedeljkovic, Nick Leddy and Sebastian Cossa.