There is no doubt that the National Hockey League has some outstanding local broadcasters. I am going to break this down first with the TV teams, then later this month we will do the radio side.
In my 30-plus years in the television business, I have come across outstanding announcers, and it seems like hockey attracts some of the most colorful communicators in all of sports.
So here are the five best local broadcast teams, and I welcome your feedback on anyone that I may have included on the Top 5 list.
Los Angles has had Vin Scully doing the Dodgers since they moved from Brooklyn.
Late Chick Hearn set an NBA record for consecutive broadcasts, so it is only fitting that Bob Miller, the voice of the Kings, fit into that club.
The Kings' play-by-play man is a legend in Southern California.
He has a star named after him on Hollywood Boulevard, and the hockey press box at the Staples Center also sports his name.
In 2000, he received the Foster Hewitt Award, as selected by the NHL Professional Broadcasters Association. This award, which recognizes those members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and the game during their hockey broadcasting careers, is recognized by a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
This iconic broadcaster still brings it every night, and his partner Jim Fox has been the color analyst for the Kings for 22 years.
The team of Miller and Fox are among the most respected in all of the NHL and are a joy to listen to.
The Chicago Blackhawks team of Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk are always near the top of the list when it comes to local broadcasters.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago gets a solid ”A” for their chemistry, entertainment value and their ability to call a game well.
Foley is a Chicago area native who was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, joining local legends such as Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray.
Olczyk is also the lead color analyst for the NBC Sports Group coverage of hockey.
Like Foley, he is from the Chicago area and is a former player plying his trade with Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Winnipeg, the New York Rangers and Los Angeles, winning a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994.
Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic, the home of the Washington Capitals, has two of the best in the business in play-by-play man Joe Beninati and his longtime partner, color analyst Craig Laughlin.
These two are network-quality broadcasters on the local level.
Beninati ranks up there with the likes of Mike Doc Emrick, Sam Rosen and Bob Miller as a play-by-play man.
Meanwhile, Laughlin brings tough love to broadcasts. He does not shy away from calling out even the star players when he thinks they are not playing at their best—still, he clearly pulls for the home team.
The New York Rangers team of Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti on the MSG Network continue to be one of the NHL’s top teams.
Rosen has been the Rangers play-by-play voice on MSG since 1984.
He never oversells a game, and he is consistently strong, never missing any detail while calling the action.
Micheletti is animated but knows when not to step over the line.
He is a great X’s and O’s kind of a guy with a perfect New York personality.
CSN Philadelphia Flyers broadcasts feature play-by-play man Jim Jackson and color analyst Keith Jones, who can also be seen on the NHL on NBC Sports Network broadcasts.
These guys are as Philly as cheese steak sandwiches.
Jackson also works with Bill Clement when his partner is on duty with NBC, but his ability to relate well to both partners is what makes him a good broadcaster.
Sometimes the Philly group goes with a three-man booth, and these guys do work well together, always making things fun for the fans.