You know a voice is distinctive when as soon as you hear it, you're taken back to another time. To another place.
When I hear the voice of Vin Scully, Dick Enberg, Bob Costas or Al Michaels, I can tell you instantly where I was the very first time I heard it.
Mike Emrick has one of those voices, one that takes me right back to 1989. First round of the playoffs, Game 7 in Calgary, Flames vs. the Canucks. Calgary survives in OT on a Joel Otto goal and goes on to win the Cup. The game was on SportsChannel America, John Davidson the analyst and Emrick on play by play. I was hooked.
Soon after, Doc would become the full-time voice of the Devils, replacing Gary Thorne. And that voice would be part of hockey in New York for the next 20-plus years.
Today, he left. He'll still work on NBC and Versus. We'll still hear his tones for the big playoff games and the Stanely Cup Final. But no longer will a Devils/Panthers game on a Wednesday in November sound like the game of the year.
One of the dreams come true for me in this business was to meet Doc. He might pop up on the Michael Kay Show or a hockey show I might be doing here or there. I would see him at a morning skate or between periods at a game. He was one of the nicest people in the world. A better person than an announcer.
Now that he's leaving the Devils, I would like to say, as a talk show host: thank you. As a hockey announcer: thank you. But mostly as a hockey fan I say, thanks Mike "Doc" Emrick.
One of the best ever!