Mike Emrick, (born August 1, 1946 in La Fontaine, Indiana) is an American sportscaster noted mostly for his work in ice hockey. He is currently the lead play-by-play announcer for both NBC and Versus. Among the many awards he has received is the NHL's Lester Patrick Award in 2004 and the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
Emrick earned a B.Sc. in speech from Manchester University in 1968, a M.A. in radio/television from Miami University in 1969. He then received a Ph.D. in Communications (radio/television/film) from Bowling Green State University in 1976, where he got his nickname "Doc".
Emrick taught speech and broadcasting at Geneva College in the Pittsburgh suburb of Beaver Falls from 1969–71 and got his first experience of the NHL covering the Pittsburgh Penguins as an unpaid correspondent for The Beaver County Times newspaper.
Broadcasting career[edit | edit source]
Emrick has been sportscasting professionally since 1973 when he was hired by Port Huron Flags' GM Morris Snider to do play-by-play on WHLS radio and public relations for the IHL team. In 1977, he took on the same two roles with the first year AHL Maine Mariners for three seasons (broadcasting that club's Calder Cup championships in both 1978 and 1979). Emrick then served as the New Jersey Devils first voice after moving to the state, arriving for the 1982–83 NHL season, and stayed there until 1986.
Emrick wore several hats in the 1980s working for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was a spot announcer for Flyers home broadcasts from 1983–86, then was an in-studio analyst between 1986–88 when not covering national games. Emrick was promoted to the lead play-by-play slot for both local TV and cable for the team in 1988, remaining with the Flyers until the end of the 1992–93 season. For four of those years, Emrick was paired with former NHLer and national hockey broadcaster Bill Clement.
In 1993, he returned to the Devils to replace Gary Thorne and continued to be the Devils' voice until July 2011.He announced the Devils' 1995 Stanley Cup victory alongside color commentator John Davidson for the national United States broadcast on FOX.
National work[edit | edit source]
He was the lead play-by-play announcer for The NHL on ESPN from 1986–1988. Emrick has also done play-by-play for CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, and FOX. His first national over-the-air television work came in 1992 doing ice hockey at the XVI Winter Olympic Games at Albertville, France, for CBS. He became the lead play-by-play announcer for the NHL on FOX acquire the broadcasting rights calling regular-season games and Stanley Cup Finals from 1995 to 2000. After FOX relinquished the NHL broadcast rights to ABC, he became a regional announcer for ABC from 2000–2004. He could only call select playoff games at the time, but did file reports for ABC Sports and ESPN's Stanley Cup Finals coverage.
Since the 2005–06 NHL season, Emrick has been the lead play-by-play announcer for the NHL on Versus and NHL on NBC, and since 2008, has served as an overall host of the telecast. He calls the top Conference Final and the entire Stanley Cup Finals for both networks. He has called games in 11 Stanley Cup Finals on TV for ESPN, FOX, Versus, and NBC alongside Eddie Olczyk. He has also called eight NHL All-Star Games for FOX, Versus and ESPN. He called the 1996 World Cup of Hockey for the Prime Network and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey for ESPN.
Emrick has worked five Olympic Games for NBC. For NBC, he called water polo in the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics, and men's and women's ice hockey at the 2006, 2010 and the 2014 Winter Olympics alongside Eddie Olczyk.
On May 5, 2014, EA Sports announced that he and Eddie Olczyk will call for NHL 15 alongside "Inside-the-Glass" reporter Ray Ferraro. The trio have provided commentary for every EA Sports NHL game since (through NHL 19). Since 2018–19 NHL season, the duo (Mike "Doc" Emrick and Eddie Olczyk) will call the Wednesday Night Hockey early game and the Eastern Conference Final with "Inside-the-Glass" reporter Brian Boucher.
Honors[edit | edit source]
Emrick won the 1997 National CableACE Award for best play-by-play announcer. In 2004, he was one of three winners of the Lester Patrick Trophy presented annually by the NHL for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States". This was followed four years later when the Hockey Hall of Fame awarded him the 2008 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting, and on January 30, 2009, Emrick was honored for winning the Hewitt Award by the New Jersey Devils with "Mike 'Doc' Emrick Night" before a game at the Prudential Center.
After being previously nominated in both 2008 and 2009, in 2011 Emrick became the first hockey announcer to win a national Sports Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sports Personality - Play by Play" for his work on the "NHL on NBC" the previous year. Emrick won the national Sports Emmy in the same category again in both 2014 and 2015. He had previously won five New York Regional Emmy Awards for his play-by-play work of New Jersey Devils telecasts on the MSG Network. On February 24, 2012, Emrick was again honored by the New Jersey Devils in a pre-game ceremony for his 21 seasons doing play-by-play for Devils' games.
Emrick won the NSSA Sportscaster of the Year award for 2013. The award is given out by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Emrick received the award in a ceremony on January 9, 2014. On December 20. 2014 Sports Illustrated named Emrick as its 2014 sports media "Person of the Year".
Style[edit | edit source]
The Devils' broadcasting pair of Emrick and color commentator Peter McNab was noted for their ability to break the tension of a hockey game through various types of humor, many times improvised and unintentional. For example, in a game during the 2008–09 NHL season, Resch was discussing a rebound that came off of Devils netminder Scott Clemmensen:
Other recurring comedic bits arise during games. After Emrick or Resch analyzes the play of a goaltender, if Emrick feels that Resch is sympathizing towards the goalie due to his former play at the same position, Emrick will add a sarcastic comment which talks about the glory of goaltending and how they are "by far" the most important players in the game. Another comedic bit that is shared between the Doc and Chico is when Doc will ask Chico where a particular town or city in Canada is located when they talk about a player's home town. In the event of an odd play or bounce of the puck, Doc has cited "the unseen hand," as the culprit, which always gets a laugh from Chico. However, Emrick's most famous and unique saying is "my goodness" usually being said when there is a remarkable save by a goaltender or when there is a sequence of plays having high amounts of "energy" on the ice.
Emrick's knowledge of the game of hockey has been deemed "encyclopedic", and he is known for his eloquent vocabulary. He employs an unusual vocabulary to describe play-by-play action, referring to a goaltender's equipment as "paraphernalia", for instance. Often, during line changes or zone clearings, Emrick will discuss interesting facts about a player's personal life, hockey records, or contributions to sports. In addition, sportswriter Peter King has praised Emrick by saying "Doc Emrick is one hell of a hockey announcer. If hockey were big in this country, he'd be what Jack Buck used to be."
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
Emrick is a founding member, and still president, of the NHL Pronunciation Guide, which is used as a guide for all NHL broadcasters for some of hockey's most difficult names.He is Vice President of the NHL Broadcaster's Association, and he is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Emrick also hosted a weekly podcast on iTunes called "Emrick's Angle" which offers his current thoughts on the NHL.
Emrick is an avid Pittsburgh Pirates fan. He grew up listening to Bob Prince on KDKA Radio. He attended a game in which Garrett Jones became the first Pirates player to hit a home run into the Allegheny River on the fly. On June 11, 2014, he was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered by Melissa Block discussing his career and style. In 2016, Emrick attended Pirates spring training in Bradenton, Florida and called a few innings of one game on television and radio with Pirates broadcasts Greg Brown and John Wehner. As previously mentioned, on July 8, Emrick called his first MLB regular-season game at PNC Park when the Pirates hosted the Cubs for MLB Network with Bob Costas. The Pirates won the game 8-4 with Emrick calling some of the action.
When his NBC broadcast schedule permits, Emrick travels to Hershey, Pennsylvania, each year to announce the Hershey Bears' Hall of Fame inductees.
Emrick is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 1991. Doc lives in St. Clair, Michigan with his wife Joyce.