Doc Emrick Leaving Devils Booth To Focus Solely On NBC/Versus
Hockey announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick announced on Thursday that he "has joined NBC/Versus exclusively," ending his relationship calling Devils games for MSG Network channels after 21 years, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN N.Y. Emrick, who turns 65 next month, "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." Emrick wrote in part, "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. Candidly, it has also left me with a sense of regret that I will not be continuing to call the team's games" (ESPNNY.com, 7/21). Emrick, who will remain the lead play-by-play voice for the NHL on NBC and Versus, said, "I’m not feeble and I’m not hobbling along. I still have the energy. I still love the sport and love any excuse to be inside watching it. But it’s time to look ahead." Emrick had "pared his Devils duties by five games in each of the past three seasons." He called 59 games last season and "nearly that many for NBC and Versus." Emrick: "At one point in March, I did eight games in 10 days, all in different cities, and they were all spread out enough that I had to fly to each one of them. By the eighth game, I probably wasn’t doing the job I was doing on the first of the eight" (NYTIMES.com, 7/21). Emrick's contract with MSG Network expired after the '10-11 season, and he said he will do "around 75 or 80" games next season, down from the approximately 110-120 he had been calling. He will "continue to do a full schedule for Versus and NBC during the playoffs" (Bergen RECORD, 7/22).
HARD TO SAY GOODBYE: In N.Y., Raissman & Ackert cited sources as saying that Emrick "will likely be replaced" as the Devils' lead announcer by Steve Cangialosi. The Devils' pre- and postgame host, Cangialosi "had served as Emrick's backup since 2006" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 7/21). ESPN N.Y.'s Mazzeo wrote under the header, "Emrick's Departure Leaves Massive Void." Emrick has been a "staple in New Jersey for more than two decades," and Devils fans "grew up with Emrick in their living rooms, and later, on their computers." Mazzeo: "He was a New Jersey institution, synonymous with Devils hockey. ... Emrick isn't retiring. Devils fans will still be able to listen to him on NBC and Versus. But the fact is, he's impossible to replace" (ESPNNY.com, 7/21). In Newark, Mike Vorkunov wrote, "Two years ago, the Devils held Doc Emrick Night at the Prudential Center, honoring the man whose voice had chronicled two decades of action and three Stanley Cup championships. He had become as much as part of the organization as its narrator. That will no longer be the case" (NJ.com, 7/21).