Legendary broadcaster Mike Emrick hangs up the headset
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
Emrick had his own unique style to calling a hockey game. He had a flair for the dramatic, knowing exactly when and how to elevate and project his voice appropriately at the right moment.
On October 19, one of the most notable broadcasters of NHL hockey games hung up the microphone: Mike “Doc” Emrick retired after a 47-year career. He had been the main hockey play-by-play voice for national broadcasts on both NBCSN and NBC.
Notably, Emrick’s list of games announced is prolific and impressive. He announced 22 Stanley Cup Finals and 45 Stanley Cup Playoffs/Final game sevens. Also, he has done the play-by-play for six Olympics, 14 NHL All-Star Games, and 19 NHL Winter Classics and Stadium Series games. In total, Emrick states that he has announced approximately over 3,750 professional and Olympic hockey games. Importantly, it should be noted that while Emrick has retired, he will still be a member of the NBC Sports department by doing occasional work for its NHL coverage in the future. Emrick plans to write and provide voice narration for special video essays.
Emrick had his own unique style to calling a hockey game. He had a flair for the dramatic, knowing exactly when and how to elevate and project his voice appropriately at the right moment. When a big goal was scored during a playoff game or a cup final, you could count on Emrick’s voice to make you stop whatever you were doing—and just watch and listen.
Emrick has received numerous accolades and awards during his long and distinguished career. In December 2011, he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame—having the distinct honour of being the first media member inducted. Emrick also won eight national Emmy Awards for sports broadcasting excellence, making him the only hockey broadcaster to be awarded with even one. In 2017, Emrick was named by Sports Illustrated as the greatest sportscaster of all time.
In an interview posted on the NBC Sports website in October 2020, Sam Flood (Executive Producer and President, Production for NBC and NBCSN) said Emrick’s legacy in hockey broadcasting is unparalleled: “Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick is a national treasure—simply put, he’s one of the best ever to put on a headset in the history of sports broadcasting. Doc’s love of the game and his unmatched style produced true artistry, engaged new fans and quickly became the soundtrack of hockey [….] Doc always found the right words to meet the moment. It’s impossible to put into words the impact Doc has had not only on the game of hockey, but for anyone who has had the distinct pleasure to work with him.”
Emrick was very proud of his accomplishments as a broadcaster. He has been thankful and humbled by the praise he has received—as he stated in an interview with the New York Post shortly after announcing his retirement: “I’m not proud of myself, necessarily, but I’m thankful that I was healthy during all that time despite the cancer scare in 1991 and the surgery that resulted. I’m very grateful that I’m healthy, and I guess I’m proudest of the fact that fans still invite me to their Fan Club meetings, and I like either going or attending vicariously, because the fans are the backbone of the sport.”