I want to first express how excited I am to be the new TV voice of the Phoenix Coyotes. If you’ve read any of the newspaper articles since I was hired then you know that I have a professional history and longtime friendship with Coyotes’ TV Color Analyst Darren Pang. Panger was actually part of the first national TV game that I called for ESPN way back in 1987. It was the night before Thanksgiving and I was calling the play-by-play of a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. Bill Clement was the analyst. The ‘Hawks and starting goalie Bob Mason were getting smoked when Clement noted’ “Here comes wee Darren Pang and his wee little white pads into the game!” Later, Panger told me that those “wee little white pads” had just arrived and that game was the first time he had worn them!
During my years as the TV voice of the Detroit Red Wings, I would see Darren as he became more involved with Blackhawks broadcasts and then when he joined ESPN and with the launch of ESPN2 back in 1993. Three years later, I left Detroit and took a job with ESPN. Panger was my first broadcast partner on opening night of the 1996-97 season as the Florida Panthers hosted the New York Rangers at Miami Arena. We hit it off right away and remained a broadcast team for most of the eight years that I worked at ESPN. Darren and I share a similar philosophy when it comes to a hockey broadcast. We want to have fun so that the audience has fun as well. At the same time, especially in a market like Phoenix, we realize the importance of explaining some of the finer points of hockey so the viewer can better enjoy the experience.
I don’t have to tell Coyotes fans about the enthusiasm and passion that Darren brings to the booth. He used that same passion to convince me that the play-by-play job in Phoenix would be the right fit for me and my family. And it wasn’t just the idea of being reunited with my broadcast partner that convinced me to make the move to Arizona. The moves made by the organization, led by the hiring of Don Maloney as general manager, showed me that the Coyotes are heading in the right direction. I called a lot of my friends in the hockey world before I made this decision and everyone had praise for Don Maloney and what he would do for this franchise. The opportunity to work with Wayne Gretzky is something else that doesn’t come along everyday. I’m looking forward to learning more about Wayne and observing first hand how he will mold this young team into a competitive force in the Western Conference. I was also excited about the prospect of working with Coyotes President & COO Doug Moss, who has put together some of the best hockey broadcasts in the NHL.
Another factor in my decision was my prior working relationships with Mike Roth and Andy Bock of FSN Arizona. Mike was a game producer at ESPN during my years there and he produced many of the games that I worked with Darren. Andy worked on Mike’s crew as well. Andy is now the producer for Coyotes games while Mike is an executive at FSN Arizona. I look forward to being a part of a team with Darren, Mike and Andy!
The summer is racing by and we’re less than two months from the start of training camp. I can’t wait to get out to the Valley and become a part of the community.