Edmonton Oilers radio play-by-play hall of famer Rod Phillips will be one of 12 inductees into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame tonight in Red Deer, Alberta. The induction ceremony will celebrate Rod’s illustrious career as ‘Voice’ of the Oilers, a career that spanned 37 years.
The 72-year-old Calmar, Alberta native called over 3,500 Oiler games in his 37-year career. The number ‘3542’ along with Phillips’ name now hangs in the rafters at Rexall Place after he retired as the ‘voice’ of the Edmonton Oilers on May 28th, 2010.
After Rod announced his retirement in 2010, he broadcast ten more games during the season. They were known as "Rod's Classics" and were his version of a "farewell tour". The games involved the greatest rivals of the Oilers throughout the years: the Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes (who originally were the Winnipeg Jets), Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Los Angeles Kings.
Phillips started calling professional games in 1973 in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Oilers and then continued with the team in 1979, the Oilers’ inaugural season in the National Hockey League. Over the next 29 years Phillips would miss just two games; one due to illness and one when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
Phillips’ first career WHA game called was on October 12, 1973 versus the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers won 6-4. His first career NHL game was called on October 10, 1979 at the Chicago Stadium where the Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 4-2.
Phillips called all seven Oilers’ Stanley Cup Finals appearances including their five Stanley Cup wins against the New York Islanders (1984), the Philadelphia Flyers (1985, 1987), and the Boston Bruins (1988, 1990).
Phillips was the 2003 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, an award named after Foster Hewitt and 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 ice hockey during their broadcasting career. The award winners are selected by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.
Prior to working in the WHA and NHL, Phillips worked at CFRN where he co-hosted Edmonton’s first ever late-night weeknight sportscast. The 1964 graduate of the National Institute of Broadcasting started working in Lethbridge, Alberta at CHEC Radio before moving back to Edmonton to join CFRN.
Phillips, who was born September 9, 1941 in Calmar, Alberta, is married to wife, Debbie. They have two children, Devan (28) and Quinn (31), who has followed in her father’s footsteps and is currently a sports reporter at Global Edmonton. Phillips splits his time between Edmonton and Phoenix, Arizona and continues to attend several Oilers games each season.