BOSTON -- Chris Kerber finally fulfilled his dream of making the radio call of the St. Louis Blues going to the Stanley Cup Final.
And amid a rush of emotions that came with the Blues reaching their first Cup Final in 49 years, Kerber, the Blues' radio play-by-play announcer since 2000, also made the classiest of gestures.
He offered Blues television play-by-play announcer John Kelly the opportunity to call the second period of each Cup Final game. Kelly's late father, Dan Kelly, spent 21 seasons as the Blues' radio and TV voice until 1989, calling Bobby Orr's famous overtime goal in Game 4 of the Cup Final in 1970 during Boston's series sweep.
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Kerber called the decision a "no-brainer."
"We've got a tight group of guys," Kerber said. "Everybody is as much family as anything. John has two Stanley Cups and hasn't called a [Final] game, and I've been doing this for 25 years and never called a [Final] game. It just seemed like the right thing to do, and we did it.
"We have been talking about this for a long time, but I just hadn't gotten to that point of the Final yet. John's got a terrific family, and that family's as rich a part of St. Louis Blues history as anything else. To be able to, me personally to be able to share the booth with John, not the gesture, but that we did these games together is just as important as anything else, so I'm looking forward to it."
Kelly called the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets on FOX Sports Midwest, but local affiliates get replaced by NBC and NBC Sports Network, thus limiting Kelly to doing pregame and postgame shows. Kelly called Colorado Avalanche games during a 30-year broadcasting career, but he was sidelined in 1996 and 2001 when the Avalanche won the Cup when national television took over.
"This is my first one, Chris' first one, and it's going to be a very special moment for me and obviously for him," Kelly said. "... Would I like to do the Finals on TV? Of course, of course. Anyone would. But there's no use in getting upset or mad."
When Kerber, who is Blues vice president of broadcasting and content development, made the offer, Kelly was taken aback.
"I was shocked at first and then I told him I didn't want to do it because it wasn't my place, and he insisted and said it wasn't an option," Kelly said.
Dan Kelly called 16 Stanley Cup Final series, including 1969 and 1970, when the Blues last reached the Cup Final, and now John, whose son Patrick has gotten his start in broadcasting for the St. Louis Ambush of the Major Arena Soccer League, gets to follow in his father's footsteps.
"My family was there, and they were blown away by the gesture," Kelly said. "I'm still to this day blown away by the gesture because quite honestly, it's unprecedented to me, and in broadcasting where a radio announcer would offer that to a television announcer that doesn't get the chance to do the games. It's amazing that he would think of me, my family and obviously my late father, who did the last Final that the Blues were in. Chris knows how I feel and what it means to me and it's something honestly that I'll remember for the rest of my life."