Mike “Doc” Emrick didn’t grow up dreaming of calling some of the biggest moments in hockey. He was a baseball “fanatic” until Dec. 10, 1960, when he fell in love with the sport. Fans of his ecstatic style and verbose descriptions should be thankful for that transformation, as Emrick earned an induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Dec. 12.
NHL.com’s Mike Morreale points out that Emrick is the first media member to receive that honor, as he is part of a class that includes Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, Keith Tkachuk and Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider.
Emrick won a 2004 Lester Patrick Award, a 2008 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and a 2011 Emmy for play-by-play work. Morreale points out that Emrick has broadcasted games for every major American broadcast network, 13 Stanley Cup finals and 23 playoff Game 7 matches in nearly 40 years of announcing.
This excerpt from Morreale’s story captures Emrick’s undeniable passion for the sport.
“I marvel at guys who can use unnatural extensions — their stick off their arm and skates off their feet,” he said. “And to be able to do it at 30 mph, shoot at 100 mph and collide with people inside a walled-in area. The fact there are occasional outbreaks of temper proves that morality still works every once in a while.
“All of these things thrown together just make it a fascinating human experience in watching the sport. I’ve been married to Joyce for 33 years and [a love for hockey is] almost like trying to explain why you love your wife so much. It’s one of those things that’s not terribly cerebral; it’s really a part of the heart. That’s probably the best way to explain why I love the sport so much.”