Doc Emrick Reflects on Legendary Career and Ties to Pittsburgh

He called all three of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup championships in 2009, ’16 and ’17, along with the most magical moments of Sidney Crosby‘s career, like his Golden Goal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In addition to that, Emrick has a number of neat ties to the city of Pittsburgh. He began his career covering the Penguins in the 1970-71 season as a freelance reporter with the Beaver County Times while teaching at Geneva College, and of course, has been a passionate Pirates fan ever since he was a kid.

So after Emrick, 74, announced his retirement last month following a magnificent 50-year career, he received a number of messages from members of the Penguins organization. Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang all sent texts, with Mike Sullivan even writing a short letter that he mailed to Emrick’s home in Michigan.

“He’s just had such a huge impact on the game,” Sullivan said. “As I said to him when I wrote him a short note, I can only share my personal experience, but Doc is part of the greatest moments of my professional career in witnessing an experience in the Stanley Cup runs, and Doc is the voice of those experiences. 

“And you know, he carries himself with such dignity and grace with how he interacts with coaches and players, and he has such a way above him to articulate the game in such a unique way. We’re all going to miss him. We’re all going to miss him around the rinks. He’s a pleasant person. And he’s had such a positive influence on the game.”

PittsburghPenguins.com took a trip down memory lane with Emrick to talk about his iconic career and those stops he made in the City of Champions along the way.

Tweet from @penguins: Our fondest memories.Our greatest feats.The moments we all remember.Doc Emrick immortalized them with his words.Congratulations to Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick on a legendary career. Thank you for being a part of Penguins history. #ThankYouDoc pic.twitter.com/ZmVUazil2K

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Emrick’s first connection with Pittsburgh actually came when he was a kid growing up in LaFontaine, Indiana in the 1950s. 

Although basketball has always been the most popular sport in that state, Emrick actually spent his childhood as a big baseball fan – with the Pittsburgh Pirates being his beloved team. That was all thanks to KDKA’s powerful radio signal, as Emrick was able to listen to Bob Prince call games on a nightly basis in the summer months. 

In his book Off Mike: How a Kid from Basketball-Crazy Indiana Became America’s NHL Voice (released the day after announcing his retirement!), Emrick describes how Prince and color analyst Jim Woods made baseball seem like a sport of wonder and romance, which got him hooked. That love was only intensified when the Pirates won the 1960 World Series thanks to Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off home run in Game 7 against the New York Yankees. 

All these years later, Emrick is still a loyal Pirates fan and has season

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Doc Emrick Retires After Epic Career

Epic seems like an appropriate word to describe Doc Emrick’s Hall of Fame career, which he officially called on Monday after announcing his retirement.

So it’s fitting that Emrick was on the call for the 1987 Easter Epic, the legendary Isles-Capitals Game 7 that went to a fourth overtime before Pat LaFontaine’s winner. Most Isles fans are familiar with Jiggs McDonald’s call, but the rest of the country was watching Emrick on ESPN.

The Easter Epic was one of over 3,750 professional and Olympic games Emrick called over 47 seasons in the booth. He voiced 45 Game 7s, 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 19 Winter Classic and Stadium Series games and six Winter Olympics. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 – one of seven Hall of Fames he’s been inducted into. 

“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead,” Emrick said in a press 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.”

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: After 3,750+ Professional and Olympic hockey games, 100 different verbs used to describe a pass or shot, and 22 Stanley Cup Finals, the legendary Mike “Doc” Emrick has announced his retirement from broadcasting.From hockey fans around the world, we say #ThankYouDoc! pic.twitter.com/Pt27Dp63TW

Doc’s a hockey lifer, with over 50 years in game. Emrick’s NHL career included 21 years with the New Jersey Devils (1983-86, 93-2011), eight with the Philadelphia Flyers (1980-83, 88-93) and 24 years of national broadcasts for ESPN, ABC, FOX Sports and NBC. He’s been the voice of the NHL on NBC exclusively since 2011, allowing the whole country to enjoy his unique flair and style.

A Doc broadcast is unmistakably unique, as his verbose vocabulary is his calling card. If you think about a goalie’s blocker while eating waffles, you have Doc to thank for that. “Waffleboarded” might be one of his most well-known verbs, but with over 100 to describe shots and passes, (ladled comes to mind for a pass) there are certainly plenty more. Asked if he had any single call that stood out amongst the rest, Doc said there were just too many to count. He had an easier time highlighting the loudest building he’d been in, Nassau Coliseum.

“Inside Nassau coliseum, I never heard a louder ovation,” Emrick said on a conference call. “I can’t recall a louder ovation then when John Tavares scored an OT winner against Washington in the playoff series the Isles had there.”

Tweet from @brendanmburke: The top moment of my career at the time was Bailey���s OT GWG in the 2016 home opener (my 3rd #Isles game). It was a great goal and I felt really good about the call in my first big moment. And

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Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick retires from NHL broadcasting career

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.

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Ex-Devils broadcaster Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick announces end of NHL career

That’s all, folks.

Former New Jersey Devils announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick announced Monday he is retiring after five decades of covering the NHL.

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Here is Emrick’s resume, per NBC Sports:

1970-71: NHLWA reporter covering the Pittsburgh Penguins

1971-73: Bowling Green State University (play-by-play)

1973-1977: Port Huron Flags (IHL)

1977-80: Maine Mariners (AHL)

1980-83, 88-93: Philadelphia Flyers

1983-86, 93-2011: New Jersey Devils

1986-88: New York Rangers (radio)

1986-88, 2000-04: ESPN/ABC

1995-99: FOX Sports

2006-2020: NBC Sports (exclusive since 2011)

According to NBC Sports, Emrick called almost 4,000 professional and Olympic hockey games. That includes 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 14 NHL All-Star Games and eight Winter Olympics.

Here’s the press release from NBC Sports with the news:

HOCKEY, USA – October 19, 2020 – Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, among the most acclaimed, respected and beloved sportscasters of all time, announced his retirement today following a 47-year career broadcasting professional hockey, including the last 15 as the lead play-by-play voice for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage.

Synonymous with hockey in the United States, Emrick rose from calling college and minor league hockey in the 1970s to voicing the most important hockey games of the past three decades, including 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Stanley Cup Playoffs/Final Game 7s, six Olympics, NHL Winter Classics and All-Star Games. In all, Emrick estimates he has called more than 3,750 professional and Olympic hockey games, thrilling viewers with an unmatched style that blended fevered excitement with an endless vocabulary of words to describe the puck’s movement around the rink.

Acclaim for his work is unmatched. In 2011, Emrick became the first broadcaster ever inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. In all, he’s a member of seven Halls of Fame. That same year, Emrick won the first of his eight career Sports Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play, which is the most ever in the category, including an unprecedented run of seven consecutive in the years 2014-2020.

Although retiring, Emrick will remain a member of the NBC Sports family by occasionally writing and narrating video essays for its NHL coverage in the future.

“It was 50 years ago this fall, with pen and pad in hand at old Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, I got my first chance to cover the National Hockey League. Gordie Howe was a Red Wing, Bobby Hull was a Blackhawk, Bobby Orr was a Bruin,” said Emrick. “A time like this makes me recall that we have seen a lot together. The biggest crowd ever, 105,000 at Michigan Stadium. A gold medal game that required overtime between the two North American powers in Vancouver.

“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead. 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

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