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Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Beloved Voice Of Hockey In U.S., Retires

Hours before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden in Boston, NBC hockey play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick does voice overs in the empty arena on May 27, 2019. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

(AP) – Hall of Fame hockey broadcaster Mike Emrick announced his retirement Monday after almost 50 years behind the microphone.

The man affectionately known as “Doc” for his doctorate in communications spent the past 15 years as the voice of the NHL in the United States. Emrick, 74, called 22 Stanley Cup Finals and six Olympics since working his way up from the minors in the 1970s and did the most recent NHL playoffs remotely from his home in Michigan with his wife, Joyce, and dogs nearby.

“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 video essay about his career. “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.”

Emrick was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 on the way to being a part of an estimated 3,750 professional games.

During the 2019 final, Emrick said he wanted to do this job from the first time he saw a hockey game. He got his first taste of it in Pittsburgh during the 1970-71 season as a freelance reporter for the Beaver County Times, earned a Ph.D. in broadcast communications from Bowling Green a few years later and progressed through the minors before reaching the NHL.

Emrick has spent the past four decades as a beloved part of the hockey community — a rapid-fire story-teller known to the public for his countless verbs to describe the puck moving around a rink and to friends and colleagues for his warmth and personal attention to the sport and the people in it.

“When you have a job like that, you’re never working the rest of your life,” Emrick said last year, pausing to explain why he takes time to talk to anyone who approaches him for a conversation, photo or autograph. “I always do because I’ll miss it when it doesn’t happen.”

Emrick worked the past 15 years as NBC Sports’ lead play-by-play voice. Executive producer Sam Flood called him “a national treasure.”

“It has been a privilege and education on hockey’s biggest stage to have sat next to Doc for the last 14 years,” NBC color analyst Ed Olczyk said. “I will miss his stories, his preparation, his play-by-play, his friendship, and our dinners on the road.”

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