The New Jersey Devils have lost their voice.
Emmy award-winning play-by-play announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick, who called Devils games on MSG Network channels for the past 21 seasons, informed the team that he has joined NBC/Versus exclusively.
Emrick, who will turn 65 on Aug. 1, wrote a letter to fans that was posted on the Devils' official website. He said that a lighter load of regular-season games, while still working the playoffs, led him to make the decision.
"I wanted Devils fans to know of this news quickly after I reached the decision since their kindness to my wife Joyce and me on countless occasions brought us so much joy," he said in the letter. "Candidly, it has also left me with a sense of regret that I will not be continuing to call the team's games.
"Words in prepared statements like these usually read very cold. Despite that, I hope you will sense how much I have enjoyed being around you and the team. This seemed the best way to get this news to you in the middle of the offseason."
In 2008, Emrick was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which awarded him the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting.
In 2011, Emrick won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sports Personality -- Play-by-play."
According to MSG.com, Emrick has received 11 New York Emmy Award nominations and has won seven times for his play-by-play announcing. He is a member of the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, vice president of the NHL Broadcasters Association and was editor of the NHL Pronunciation Guide from 1983 to 2006, according to MSG.com.
"I wish MSG Network and the Devils and Devils fans nothing but the greatest success in the years to come," Emrick concluded.
MSG Networks issued a statement Thursday:
"Doc is among the rare few broadcasters who elevates the game and the moment simply by his presence," said Dan Ronayne, executive vice president and general manager of MSG Networks. "We learned something new about the game of hockey and the players every time we tuned in. There is no finer ambassador for the game of hockey, the New Jersey Devils and MSG Networks. We are indebted to Doc for 23 splendid seasons and we will miss his insight, humor, humility and passion for the game."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.