Legendary hockey announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick is retiring after 47 years of broadcasting professional hockey. Emrick worked six Olympics in addition to serving as the lead play-by-play commentator for NBC’s hockey coverage since the 2005-06 season.
In 2011, Emrick became the first media member to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, one of the seven Hall of Fames he is a member of. He called 22 Stanley Cup Finals and 45 Game 7s in his distinguished career.
“I marvel at the fact that I’ve been through cancer and a lot of other calamities that anyone my age would have encountered,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in January. “When you get to be this old, you are grateful that you’ve lived this many years but you also realize that the law of averages says you’re going to have some calamities along the way. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to continue to do this and I’m thankful I can.”
The 74-year-old grew up in the Methodist Church and included prayers in the binder he used to store his research for every game. After the warm-up was over, he would recite one before going on the air to help him get mentally prepared for the broadcast.
“I think people would recognize if their announcer wasn’t calm, and I think that’s what prayer before a game represents for me,” Emrick said.
He would also write down prayers for people he told he would pray for. Emrick, who also says he has devotionals he reads through each morning, believes it is important to pray to God and thank God, but at the same time, understand that His will and His answer to prayers aren’t always what we expect.
“God is not necessarily a butler,” Emrick told Hockey Ministries in 2018, “someone that you ask to come do things for you every day. But you do make requests, that things you have on your mind go well. And there are times that you just say ‘thank You’ so much that there’s been a healing here and it makes you happy. It makes me feel like God is working whether the outcome is what people want or not.”
All told, the La Fontaine, Indiana, native called 3,750 professional and Olympic hockey games. Emrick plans to continue contributing to NBC’s NHL coverage in the future by writing and narrating occasional video essays for the network.
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