“I think of you much as I think of John Madden, as a man who has been as important to the National Hockey League as anybody,” Michaels said to Emrick on Monday’s call. Michaels recalled being asked at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 30 years after the Miracle on Ice, whether he should be calling Olympic hockey instead of Emrick.
“No. 1, I can’t do hockey one-tenth as well as Mike Emrick,” he said. “No. 2, I want to listen to Mike Emrick do hockey.”
Emrick’s career in numbers is astounding. He has broadcast 47 seasons of professional hockey, including 40 in the N.H.L. He called 45 Game 7s in the playoffs. He won eight sports Emmy Awards and is a member of seven halls of fame, including the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Fort Wayne Komets Hall of Fame.
Emrick’s signature call during the Stanley Cup finals — what he recited after each of the nearly two dozen he has called — came from the American Hockey League beat writer Steve Summers, who died in 1993. Emrick adapted Summers’s description of a 12-0 Calder Cup run in 1988 by the Hershey Bears: “The episodes in life that last so many years in memory are often measured in fleeting moments as they happen.”
Dan Rusanowsky, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the San Jose Sharks, said that Emrick had become an invaluable resource to other broadcasters, creating a pronunciation guide for the N.H.L. — a league that has featured more than its share of names with uncommon vowel-consonant arrangements and distinct pronunciations thereof — and a method for condensing press notes into a two-sided sheet for quickly finding information.
NBC has not announced a successor for Emrick, who was its lead hockey play-by-play voice since 2005. The company has a number of others doing play-by-play, like Kenny Albert, who also announces Rangers games, and John Forslund. The network could also opt to hire a team or regional sports network broadcaster. Whoever it chooses, however, will have gigantic shoes to fill.