Mike “Doc” Emrick retired this week and the sports landscape is the poorer for it. The lead TV play-by-play voice of the New Jersey Devils (in two stints) is one of the most honored broadcasters of all time, including being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Plus, he actually earned his “Doc” nickname; he holds a Ph.D in Communications from Bowling Green University.

He was always one of my favorite broadcasters because it was always obvious that he was the smartest guy in the room, but he didn’t feel the need to make sure you knew it. I had the good fortune to interview Doc and he was everything you would expect: knowledgeable, insightful, and funny. The breadth of his hockey knowledge was breathtaking, and Devils’ fans were spoiled for years by having him bring them the action.

As Lou Lamoriello told Stan Fischler, "He related to all ages and his style kept you feeling not only a part of the game but part of the history of players and teams. Simply put, there's only one Mike Emrick!"

Of course, he wasn’t just our broadcasting secret; he became the voice of the NHL on national broadcasts, calling games in 22 Stanley Cup Finals as well as five Olympics, but hearing him call a Devils’ game (with Chico Resch) was always a treat and he will be greatly missed by hockey fans in New Jersey and across North America.

In his retirement announcement he said, “Things change over 50 years, but much of what I love is unchanged from then to now and into the years ahead. I still get chills seeing the Stanley Cup. I especially love when the horn sounds, and one team has won and another team hasn’t, all hostility can dissolve into the timeless great display of sportsmanship – the handshake line.... I leave you with sincere thanks.”

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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