NHL Video: The Top 25 Announcer Calls in Hockey History
You probably already know that hockey is the most dramatic, lively sport in the world.
Hockey fans are some of the most dedicated, passionate fans of any fans in the world.
When this topic floated across my email, I jumped at the chance. There are so many moments and great or wacky announcements that it is virtually impossible to narrow it down to only 25.
As I looked at various pieces, the thought occurred to me that picking 25 goals or saves only would do a great disservice to you the reader/viewer.
The NHL (and hockey in general) are bigger than spectacular goals, or most snapshots in time that capture one small piece of the pie.
Instead of just compiling recent highlights, the right thing to do was to encapsulate a combination of the moments and people that make of hockey great. This spans a wide group of teams and even reaches across many languages across the globe.
Chances are, you may be angry that a certain moment, player or announcer is not covered in this highlight package. Feel free to let the world know about what else should be here in the comments section.
It is virtually impossible to get everything into a list like this, let alone rank it in some type of meaningful order, so no disrespect is meant for any "snubs".
Try your best to not let the positioning of the highlight give you an aneurysm. This is meant to be a broad-view slideshow.
Now we can take a look at the Top 25 announcer calls in hockey, and some commentary on why they are important in the overall picture of the great sport.
Stanley Cup Winning Goals 1990-2011
For an NHL fan, nothing means more than seeing your team lift the Stanley Cup.
It is a privilege that has eluded some all-time greats and added to the greatness of those that were able to capture it.
This video seemed like a great place to start, because it spans a large period of time. It gives credit to the guys who were credited with the Stanley-Cup-winning goal in each season.
With such a wide range of announcers, you get a feel for the excitement that hockey brings across the world. This is especially true of playoff time in North America. Enjoy!
The Flyers Win the Stanley Cup
Fans in Philadelphia have waited too long to hear this again. Regardless, this call is legendary.
It takes place at the end of the 1973-74 season, when the Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup.
Bobby Orr and His "Flying Goal"
You've probably seen this highlight a million times. If you see it a million more, that will not make it mean any less.
On May 10, 1970 Orr scored one of the most recognizable highlights in sports history to help lift the Bruins over the St. Louis Blues for the Stanley Cup.
Lanny McDonald and the Calgary Stanley Cup
One last pre-1990 Stanley Cup moment worth a listen/watch is the 1989 goal by Lanny McDonald to help lift the Calgary Flames over the Montreal Canadiens.
McDonald ended his career on top that night in late May 1989.
He may not have been the prettiest player to lace 'em up, but his example is one that hockey players everywhere should emulate.
San Jose Sharks First Win in Franchise History
With all the Stanley Cup highlights, it is important to remember that winning is not easy.
In the 1990s, the NHL started its latest wave of expansion.
The San Jose Sharks were pretty much terrible for their first season in the league. But on October 8, 1991, the Sharks earned their first NHL victory.
While the Sharks have become a top team in the Western Conference in the many years since this night, let their struggle be a reminder to hockey fans everywhere of the importance of teamwork and dedication.
Steven Stamkos Demonstrates Toughness
Speaking of dedication to team, moments like this one from the Eastern Conference Finals are what hockey is all about.
Steven Stamkos is an NHL superstar, yet he gets clocked in the face by a slap shot.
Stamkos was back trying to help his team in this very game. He proved his toughness and passion for his sport.
Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!
Sometimes the joy of winning is enough to make the announcer lose themselves in the moment.
This Stephaine Matteau goal that won the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals is a great example of that.
This reminds us that often times, the announcers are just as caught up in the play as the fans are.
Buffalo Sabres Rick Jeanneret
The Buffalo Sabres have one of the most animated announcers. Rick Jeanerret clearly bleeds blue and yellow for his Sabres.
Some would argue that announcers are supposed to be impartial, but often team-paid announcers are not. Frankly, when you listen to this, why would you want them to be?
Even if you are not a Sabres fan, you would likely agree that this adds color to the sport.
Pittsburgh Penguins Mike Lange
Living in Pittsburgh, when it comes to wild announcers, I am most familiar with Mike Lange.
His distinctive post-goal calls have entertained the city for his entire career.
In 2001, Lange made the Media portion of the Hockey Hall of Fame. At the Consol Energy Center "PensGear" stores, T-shirts featuring his most popular sayings are even available for sale.
Tampa Bay Lightning Dave Mishkin
When it comes to absolute insanity in the broadcaster's booth, the Bolts' Dave Mishkin may take the cake in terms of play-by-play calls.
Just listen to the reactions in this video and make sure you do not have the volume too loud!
CBC Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry
It is simply not possible to venture into the wilder side of announcing and not give an honorable mention to CBC's Don Cherry.
If it were based on suits alone, Cherry would be the standout. When you add the audio, he becomes pure gold.
Sure, the man has his critics, but he loves his country and his hockey, so how bad of a guy could he be?
Bloopers Like "Cindy Crosby"
Sometimes bloopers can play into the enjoyment of announcing.
Detroit's Ken Daniels slips up here and refers to "Cindy Crosby" in a popular clip.
Was it a Freudian slip, just a blooper or a purposeful dig?
Detractors of Sidney Crosby will not care and are sure to get a laugh out of this clip.
Ron Hextall Scores a Goal
This clip is no blooper, but it shows the quirkier side of hockey.
On December 8, 1987, goalie Ron Hextall became the first NHL goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into the net.
There have been many more to do this since, but none can match Hextall in his originality. He was a true innovator in terms of the role of a goalie on his team.
Alexander Radulov and the Fastest KHL Goal
Sometimes we need to be reminded that hockey is not just a Canadian or even a North American sport.
There are many quality leagues around the world that house top-quality talent.
Russia's Kontinental Hockey League is a prime example of this. In this clip, we see the fastest goal in the KHL's history, scored by former Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov.
Alexander Ovechkin Dazzles, Part One
There are plenty of Russians in the NHL, too.
Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is the premier Russian playing in North America.
For starters, I am a Penguins fan who's saying good things about Ovie. Secondly, watch this highlight and listen to the response he gets from the crowd and announcers.
Alexander Ovechkin Dazzles, Part Two
Just to prove there is no "Pittsburgh bias" from me when it comes to Ovechkin, listen to the reaction he gets from the announcing team on this goal.
He is proof that you should never give up on a play.
Peter Forsberg Helps Sweden Win Gold
Non-North American talent has long been a part of the game.
In this case, Europe takes center stage.
The announcing on this helps set the stage for the drama of the first-ever gold medal in the Olympics in ice hockey by the Swedes.
Peter Forsberg was an NHL legend, but also a legend of the sport of hockey because of moments like this.
Sidney Crosby Helps Canada Win Gold
If you consider the last goal a big moment, just hear the announcing and reaction to this one.
Sidney Crosby scores the OT-winner against the United States to win gold for Canada in Vancouver.
While Crosby has his throngs of haters, I bet there were not many of them north of the border at this moment.
1980 Miracle on Ice
After seeing the United States lose in that last video, I am a bit down.
Luckily, arguably the most recognizable announcing calls made by Al Michaels will cheer me up.
It is a common misconception that this was the Gold Medal Game of the 1980 Olympics. That is not the case. In terms of importance though, this moment stands alone.
Many believe if the Americans played the Soviets 1,000 times, the Soviets would have won 999 of them. Listen to the shock of the "Miracle on Ice".
Russian KHL Rage
After watching that last video, it seems pretty likely that any Russian readers/viewers are angry now too.
That allows this to switch gears to one of hockey's other main attractions: a good old fashioned fight.
Now since I am a dumb American, I cannot tell one word of what the announcer is talking about. It has to be something along the lines of, "This one time I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out."
This is a fight in the KHL between Vityaz and Avangard.
While I'm unclear if there was another incident of this magnitude, I do believe this game was cancelled and the title of the YouTube video boasts that 840 PIM were assessed.
Listen to the madness, even if you are unable to understand it like me!
Last Game at the Montreal Forum
In keeping with the multilingual theme, I present to you the PA announcer from the ceremony at the last game at the Montreal Forum.
Here, one of the greatest goal-scorers ever is announced.
This introduction and ovation for Maurice "Rocket" Richard should give you chills.
If it doesn't, you may not be a hockey fan.
Doug Gilmour's 1,000 Career Point
Initially, the thought of honoring the final game at Maple Leafs Garden crossed my mind.
Since we just witnessed the end of the Forum, a better way to honor the Leafs and keep the broad perspective of the game is in Doug Gilmour's 1,000th career NHL point.
Currently, only 78 NHL players can claim the distinction of being a 1,000 point-scorer. You could easily pick any of those player's to represent the moment.
Gilmour played with many teams, but for many he is best known from his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Regardless of which team you associate him with, Gilmour and this clip are a perfect example of the milestone.
While not the most talented player to ever glide on a frozen sheet, Gilmour was tough and gritty. He earned every point with blood and sweat.
Mario Lemieux's Last Goal in Pittsburgh Before His First Retirement
This clip is special on many levels.
At the time, it was Mario Lemieux's last goal in Pittsburgh. Saying goodbye to a legend—and my personal hero—was yet to come for the city.
When Lemieux was sprung on a breakaway in the final moments of a playoff game against the Flyers, it was magical. Gary Thorne is the announcer, and he captures it perfectly.
A secondary reason this clip is perfect is that if you hang in there long enough, you can hear Civic Arena PA announcer John Barbero in his signature call, a Lemieux goal.
While an announcer of a different kind, Barbero will never be replaced in Pittsburgh.
He was the PA announcer for the Penguins from 1972-2009 and unfortunately lost his battle with cancer in July of 2010.
Information regarding Barbero is credited to Trib Total Media.
Wayne Gretzky and the 2,000 Point Mark
This video is one of the most historic moments in NHL history.
Wayne Gretzky reaches his 2,000th career point.
There are many records owned by "The Great One", and this is one that may never be reached.
The most impressive part of Gretzky's feats would have to be that if you took away every one of his goals, he would still be the sports all-time leading scorer.
Wayne Gretzky Notches Number 802
This is another great job of announcing by Gary Thorne and another magical moment by "The Great One".
There could be no better end to this slideshow.
While there are plenty of moments that did not get squeezed in to this, just like Gretzky, you cannot miss with this clip.