The 10 Best Current NHL Broadcasters
Becoming a NHL play-by-play man is extremely difficult. Only 57 people in the world currently hold that honor.
Over the years, there have been many talented hockey broadcasters, but only 10 can be included as the best in this list of current broadcasters in the National Hockey League.
10. Randy Hahn: San Jose Sharks
I've always been a fan of Hahn, and because I'm a Sharks fan, I'm really getting used to his commentating style.
He has great chemistry with his broadcasting partner, Drew Remenda, and they are both featured in NHL 2K10.
In 2009, he captured his fourth Northern California Emmy Award in the “On Camera Talent—Play-by-Play” category.
Here are a few examples of the chemistry between Hahn and Remenda:
And here are a few examples of Hahn's goal calls:
9. Mike Lange: Pittsburgh Penguins
I had to include Lange on this list; he’ll go down as one of the best broadcasters in hockey history.
The Penguins’ radio play-by-play announcer has many different lines, but my favorite is: “Get in the fast lane, grandma. The bingo game is ready to roll.”
Lange is getting up there in age, but I still love going back and listening to both old and new highlights with him behind the mic.
Here's a video of Lange's top 10 goal calls:
8. John Forslund: Carolina Hurricanes
There's only one reason why Forslund is on this list: This guy was born to call hockey games.
He dreamed of becoming a hockey commentator since he was a little boy. The following clips should show you why the Carolina Hurricanes' TV play-by-play announcer was meant to be a hockey broadcaster.
A few of Forslund's calls:
7. Rick Jeanneret: Buffalo Sabres
Some might argue that Jeanneret is annoying, and the way he yells "SCORES" may just pierce your eardrums.
But in all fairness, "RJ" is a great commentator and makes the game more exciting.
Also, his calls after the Buffalo Sabres score a goal may prove why he is on this list. My personal favorite is: "Top shelf, where momma hides the cookies!"
Here is a clip of Jeanneret's top 10 goal calls:
6. Bob Miller: L.A. Kings
Miller is another broadcaster I had to include as well. I mean, why wouldn't I?
Thirty-seven years as the "Voice of the Los Angeles Kings," Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee, Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Kings Hall of Fame inductee, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, a star on the famous Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, California Sportscaster of the Year in 1997 and 2002, and, to top all of that, he was honored by having the Staples Center press box named after him and was presented with a “lifetime contract” by the club in 1997.
That should be enough.
A few of Miller's goal calls over the years:
5. Bob Cole: CBC
A good question might be, "Why is Bob Cole on this list?" A good answer is that this man is 76-years-old and has been calling games for 41 years.
Still need some persuading? Cole joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 after winning the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence. He also captured his first Gemini Award in 2007 in the area of sports play-by-play.
He is currently employed by the Canadian network CBC and broadcasts "Hockey Night In Canada."
Here is a clip of one of Cole's most memorable games, the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada in the 2002 Winter Olympics:
4. Chris Cuthbert: TSN
To me, Cuthbert definitely deserves to be on this list. His voice is fit for the NHL today, and he calls the games so smoothly. It's like you never even notice that he's talking.
In 1998, Cuthbert won a Gemini Award for Best Sports Broadcaster, and in 2004 he was recognized by Sports Media Canada as Sportscaster of the Year. He is currently employed by TSN.
Clips of Cuthbert's calls:
3. Jim Hughson: CBC
Hughson is a must for all broadcaster lists.
The lead CBC play-by-play man, Hughson has become famous for the phrase, "Great save, Luongo!" after Vancouver Canuck's goalie Roberto Luongo makes a good save.
He has won five Gemini Awards, with the most recent coming in 2004 when he was named the best sports play-by-play man or analyst.
Hughson is known for his very clear, accessible voice, enthusiastic delivery and articulate use of the English language.
A clip of Hughson exclaiming "Great Save, Luongo!":
A couple clips of Hughson's goal calls:
2. Joe Beninati: Washington Capitals and Versus
If somebody asks, "Why is Beninati on this list?" you should reply, "If you think he shouldn't be, then you don't watch hockey."
Beninati has the perfect voice to call games, and just like John Forslund, this man was born to call hockey games.
A four-time Capital Region Emmy Award winner for excellence in composite play-by-play, his yell of "SCORE!" really signifies how good a play-by-play man he is.
Beninati is the current TV play-by-play man for the Washington Capitals and is also employed by Versus.
A few clips of Beninati's goal calls:
My personal favorite, Brian Campbell's hit on RJ Umberger:
1. Mike Emrick: New Jersey Devils, NBC, and Versus
Emrick should be at the top of everybody's top 10 commentator list.
He is by far the best play-by-play man in the NHL right now. He may be the best of all time, if not for Gary Thorne who now commentates baseball.
Emrick's knowledge of hockey has been deemed "encyclopedic," and he is known for his eloquent vocabulary, using words in his broadcasts that are not commonly used in sports play-by-play (such as referring to a goaltender's equipment as "paraphernalia").
Often, during line changes or zone clearings, Emrick will discuss interesting facts about a player's personal life, hockey records or contributions to sports.
He is the lead announcer for NBC and Versus, as well as the TV play-by-play man for the New Jersey Devils.
His honors include the 2004 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting, the 1997 National CableACE Award for best play-by-play announcer, and the 2004 Lester Patrick Trophy, which is presented annually for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States."
In that same year, he won a New York Emmy Award for his work on the New Jersey Devils' telecasts.
Here is one of his goal calls:
Just listen to "Doc" on this one:
These play-by-play men came close but just missed the cut:
Sam Rosen, New York Rangers:
Dave Strader, Phoenix Coyotes:
Howie Rose, New York Islanders:
Joe Bowen, Toronto Maple Leafs:
Dean Brown, Ottawa Senators: