NASHVILLE -- Longtime broadcaster Pete Weber has seen every pivotal moment in Nashville Predators history as a radio and television play-by-play announcer since their first game in 1998.
That's what made a 5-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final so special. Weber has been there for 18 seasons, seen the ups and downs, all leading to what turned into the biggest night of celebration in Predators history.
Weber has been a broadcaster in the NHL since 1978, calling games for the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings in addition to the Predators. He called his 2,000th NHL game on Jan. 10 for the Predators radio network.
When the Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks in six games in the Western Conference Final, Weber knew he would finally have a chance to be on the call for the Stanley Cup Final for the first time and to watch Nashville experience it for the first time in Game 3.
"Something I had imagined for a long time and not known if that chance would ever come," Weber said. "And so I finally realized that at the end of Game 6 of the conference final, so I knew it was going to come to fruition. And then the worst thing is the wait, knowing that it would be from the next to last Monday in May until the first Saturday in June and needing to wait that long, but I tell you, it was worth it.
"I can't say that my heart was racing but I think, and I'm going to sound like Dr. Timothy Leary here, my awareness of all around me was greatly heightened and I was just drinking it all in. Sight, sense, sound. To see all of that, and we did have a hockey Woodstock downtown outside of here, and to see so many of my friends in from around the League really drinking it in also really made it even more special for me."
Weber, along with former broadcast partner Terry Crisp, played a key role in the development of the fan base in Nashville. They put together "Hockey 101" videos in the early days of the Predators, explaining the intricacies of the game.
The contrast from that time in the early years of the Predators to seeing an estimated crowd of 50,000 people watching Game 3 on the plaza of Bridgestone Arena, and on lower Broadway, filled Weber with immense pride.
"I think because of the passage of time, it's probably a lot like watching your offspring graduate from high school and how much pride you feel," Weber said. "And I know my parents felt pride because they thought there was no way in [heck] I was getting through high school, but it does give a lot of that."
Weber's emotions ran high in the days leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh, but he settled in once the puck was dropped.
"I'm always emotional during the game, and the one thing I write down for myself several times like I'm a student at the blackboard getting punished, though it's more for a reminder, is 'Call what you see, not what you wish to see," Weber said. "But once the puck was dropped in the first game at Pittsburgh, I was fine. It's all the anticipation and the wait that we had going from Monday to Monday in that case."
Nashville trails the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).
The Predators hope to capture three more wins against the Penguins and win their first Stanley Cup. If they are able to do so, Weber will be on the call for it, just as he has been since day one.
Video: Crisp talks about the first SCF game in Nashville