One of the most iconic voices in hockey is turning off his microphone.
Mike “Doc” Emrick — the voice of the NHL most recently on NBC Sports Network — officially announced his retirement on Monday morning.
“I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially since I’ve never done it before,” he said. “But I’ve just been extremely lucky for 50 years. And NBC has been so good to me, especially since the pandemic, when I was allowed to work from home in a studio NBC created.”
“Now, into my golden years, this just seemed to be the time that was right. Plus, I’ve now accumulated enough frequent-flyer miles — to not go anywhere.”
The 74-year-old has left an indelible mark on the imagination and vocabularies of hockey fans everywhere, using an endless arsenal of words to bring vivacity to even the most mundane moments of a hockey game.
A blocker save from a goaltender was “waffle-boarded away,” a dump-in was “careened” into the zone, a simple pass was “angled” or “banked” or “chipped” or “knifed” ahead.
In fact, he used 153-different words just to describe the puck movement in the semifinals of the 2014 Winter Olympics between the United States and Canada.
Emrick’s journey to the upper echelon of broadcasting greats is rooted on the East Coast. He began professionally sportscasting in 1973 in the minor leagues before getting the nod to join the New Jersey Devils’ broadcast team in 1982 — their first year in the Garden State after moving from Colorado.
He worked there until 1986 while also providing relief efforts for Philadelphia Flyers home broadcasts between 1983-1986 and occasional appearances on New York Rangers’ radio broadcasts. Emrick became the Flyers’ lead play-by-play man in 1988 — two years into his work as ESPN’s national voice — where he remained for four seasons.
In 1993, he returned as the voice of the Devils where he remained until 2011, all the while making national appearances on CBS, FOX — where he called Stanley Cup Finals games from 1995-1999 — and ABC.
Since 2005, he’s worked with NBC Sports, calling the 2006, 2010, and 2014 Winter Olympics along with the biggest Stanley Cup playoff games.
Emrick recently wrapped up the 2020 season by calling the playoffs from his home studio, calling the Islanders’ Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning before the Stanley Cup between the latter and the Dallas Stars.
A 19-year cancer survivor, Emrick will now retire to Michigan with his wife, Joyce, along with their dogs and horses.