On Oct. 19 the hockey world was shocked to hear that Mike “Doc” Emrick announced his retirement from sportscasting af-ter a mind-boggling 50-year ca-reer. Emrick was the preeminent voice for NHL games on NBC and NBC Sports for 15 years and is well-known for serving as the play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Devils for an impres-sive 21 seasons.
“I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially since I’ve never done it before,” Emrick said to the New York Post. “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.”
During his outstanding career Emrick has called 22 Stanley Cup Finals and won eight Sports Emmys Awards for play-by-play, including seven straight from 2014 to 2020. He has had stints at FOX, ABC, ESPN, CBS and six Winter Olympic Games. In 2011 he became the first member of the media to be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He was named the greatest sportscaster of all time by Sports Illustrated in 2017.
His nickname of “Doc” comes from his having a doctorate in communications. His first taste of the NHL came in the 1970-1971 season when he covered the Pittsburgh Penguins as an unpaid correspondent for The Beaver County Times newspaper. He be-gan professionally broadcasting in 1973, doing play-by-plays for var-ious teams in the IHL and AHL before becoming the first voice of the New Jersey Devils from 1982 to 1986. He also did play-by-plays for the Philadelphia Flyers between 1983 and 1993, before returning to the Devils and stay-ing with them until 2011. During this time he was able to announce the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup victory. He has also called other sports besides hockey, including multiple sports in the Olympics and several NFL games between 1992 and 1993.
“Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is un-changed 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 hos-tility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship-the handshake line. I leave you with sincere thanks,” Emrick said in a video essay announcing his retirement.
Fans will never forget his iconic announcing style with play-call-ing such as when the Capitals had won the Stanley Cup in 2018, calling out, “The Capital of the country is the Capital of the hock-ey playoffs!”
Many other teams and play-ers contribute their biggest mo-ments to Emrick, including his call of “Score! The Stanley Cup! Martinez!” the moment the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012. From Penguins de-fenseman Kris Letang to Capitals right winger TJ Oshie, both active and retired players expressed their appreciation to Emrick for his commitment to the game and the groundbreaking calls he made for them.
Hockey announcing will not be the same without Doc Emrick.