I wrote this over a decade ago for the ole Razor With An Edge blog.
My, but how times have changed. Pat Foley’s excellence, however, has not.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame today so I thought it apropos to repost this little observation.
You Think This Is Easy?
Broadcasting NHL hockey is not a ‘job’, we don’t ‘toil’, aren’t ‘putting our nose to the grindstone’. No, it’s a sheer delight…for most of us.
Ralph and I, along with play callers in places like Detroit, New Jersey, Colorado and Philadelphia have had the luxury of covering teams that win a way more than they lose year after year after year.
We’re lucky. (And at times too jaded)
Some of our colleagues have not been so fortunate.
Chief amongst them is Chicago Blackhawks play-by-play man, Pat Foley.
The Hawks have fed off the bottom for a decade and yet, 82 nights a year, Foley’s professionalism, perseverance and distinctive pipes have filled the airwaves with exuberance and energy. Loss after loss after gut wrenching loss he delivers the goods from puck drop to final buzzer, and without a shred of phoniness. Oh, I’m sure he dies a little with each lost season but he never ever lets the grind reach his lips.
How good is he? I’m convinced Pat Foley could make the incubation process worth listening to.
He had one of the funniest walk-away lines ever uttered by a visiting broadcaster at American Airlines Center in regards to the distance the press box is situated from ice level. As the elevator door was closing to take him up to the stratosphere he blurted, “Do us a favor, send up a flare if someone scores.”
There are teams in this league that no doubt deserve better coverage than they get from the booth. The Blackhawks aren’t one of them.
In fact, in Chicago the shoe is on the other foot.