Mike “Doc” Emrick announced earlier this week that he is retiring from broadcasting after 47 years in the business.
He became the voice of hockey for an entire generation in his role as NBC’s lead play-by-play announcer, a position he has held since 2006. He has called games in 22 Stanley Cup Finals for one network or another, more than any other American broadcaster, as well as six Olympics.
Emrick joined Dale and Keefe on Wednesday to reflect on his career and share some stories, including several about the Bruins and the time he has spent in Boston over the years.
Asked about his favorite players to cover over the years, Emrick said his favorites were really the ones he most enjoyed talking to before games and not necessarily just the most skilled or most exciting players on the ice.
Among those he most enjoyed talking to: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.
“Not necessarily individual players because of their skill, but there were a lot of individual players that I liked going into the dressing room and sitting next to, that’s for sure,” Emrick said. “And for different reasons. For example, Patrice Bergeron, I like talking to him because he’s a dog guy. He has a dog that appears on the Bruins’ calendar every year named Wilson. I think Wilson is a Maltese, but he’s a cute little white dog. So we talked about dogs.”
Emrick said he was also curious why during the 2004-05 lockout season, Bergeron -- coming off a successful rookie season with the Bruins -- decided to play for AHL Providence when the Quebec native was clearly above that level and could’ve played abroad and made more money like many other NHLers did that year.
“I noticed that he’d had time with the Bruins, and then during the season-long lockout in ’04-05, he went back and played in Providence. Well he wouldn’t have had to do that,” Emrick sad. “And so it begged the question, why did you take that year when you really didn’t have to?
“And he said, ‘Well, I hadn’t really been an NHLer that long. I wanted to keep my skills going.’ And he said, ‘I also didn’t speak very well. I didn’t have the language down very well. And I thought another year of playing, and consistently, rather than sitting out or going overseas, I thought another year would help my language.’ And it sure did. I mean, he speaks great. And he’s also a really good player, and a great guy.”
Emrick also named longtime Bruins captain Zdeno Chara among his personal favorites, something he also made clear after the Bruins got knocked out by the Lightning this postseason when he paid tribute to both Chara the player and Chara the person.
“Zdeno Chara is another one,” Emrick said. “What a wonderful person. What a good person. And what kind of sacrifices he continues to make, not only the broken jaw and the ovation that he received before Game 5 of the Final last year, but the good soul that he is to the community, too.”
For more great stories, listen to the full interview below: