Mike “Doc” Emrick, the preeminent voice of hockey in the United States, announced his retirement on Monday morning, concluding a 47-year career during which he called 22 Stanley Cup Finals, the past 15 for NBC Sports.
Emrick, 74, also was the longtime play-by-play voice of the Devils.
“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now, and into the years ahead,” he said in a news release. “I still get chills seeing the Stanley Cup.
“I especially love when the horn sounds, and one team has won and another team hasn’t, all hostility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship – the handshake line. I leave you with sincere thanks.”
It is not clear who will succeed Emrick, but Rangers radio play-by-play man Kenny Albert figures to be a leading candidate.
Because of his age and history with cancer, Emrick did not travel to the NHL’s COVID-19 bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton for the playoffs. He called his last Final, between the Lightning and Stars, remotely from a home studio in Michigan.
Emrick is a member of seven Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and is among the most personally popular people in the hockey world in addition to the respect he has earned for his work.
When the New York Post first reported his retirement plans early Monday morning, it triggered an outpouring of both shock and gratitude from fans and people in hockey.
“Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick is a national treasure – simply put,” NBC executive producer Sam Flood said. “He’s one of the best ever to put on a headset in the history of sports broadcasting.”
Said his longtime analyst, Ed Olczyk, “It has been a privilege and education on hockey’s biggest stage to have sat next to Doc for the last 14 years.”
Prior to Olczyk, Emrick’s lead partner was current Rangers president John Davidson.
Emrick’s career began during the 1970-71 season, when he covered the Penguins as a freelance reporter for the Beaver County Times.