Rod Phillips, the only radio play-by-play voice in the Edmonton Oilers' 31 years in the NHL, is calling it a career. The team announced Friday that Phillips will call 10 "Rod's Classics" games in 2010-11 to mark the end of his time "Voice of the Oilers."
Phillips' career with the Oilers has spanned 37 years, dating to 1973-74, the team's second season in the World Hockey Association. He called the action through all seven of the team's trips to the Stanley Cup Final and its five championships in seven years from 1984-90. In all, he's called more than 3,500 Oilers games.
"I think today's announcement is remarkable. The series of games Rod will call next year is the perfect way to properly let our fans appreciate everything that Rod has brought the team and the city. This is the ultimate tribute to our Hall Of Fame broadcaster," Oilers President and CEO Patrick LaForge said in a statement. "Generations grew up listening to Rod, and it's only fitting he is allowed this kind of tribute."
Phillips was the 2003 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, an award presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame to members of the radio and television industry who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of hockey during their broadcasting career. The award winners are selected by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.
"It's hard to imagine that Rod is hanging up the mic," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe, a defenseman on the Stanley Cup-winning teams. "There is only one Rod Phillips, and there will never be another like him in our city. He's been the voice of this franchise and has called every single significant moment in Oilers History. He also left nothing on the table and cared as deeply about this team and this city as anyone ever has. To me, he's an Oiler icon, a great Edmontonian, and has left his mark on NHL hockey and Canadian hockey. I hope the entire city gets a chance to listen to these games next season and appreciate what we have been able to enjoy."