In sports we always get hit with the reality that our favorite players and legends will one day be gone - Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur soon, Patrik Elias down the line...but in some ways it's harder for me to cope with the fact that the talented and beloved Doc Emrick will no longer be doing Devils telecasts, since I literally know nothing else. It even sounds odd to hear old highlights of Emrick calling Ron Hextall's playoff goal as the Flyers PBP guy then, since I only associate him with the Devils, having become a more hardcore hockey fan in 1994.
So I've been a Devils fan for seventeen years, and Doc has been a big part of every one of them, even calling the first Devils Stanley Cup win when he and John Davidson were the lead team on FOX and they had the games. Other than Brodeur and GM Lou Lamoriello, I can't say that about any other member of the organization. Of course I understand his reasons for leaving, he's 65 and needs to scale back a bit - and being the main broadcaster on NBC and VERSUS provides an opportunity to still call games all over the league. Yet, as Emrick himself put it in his classy farewell letter to the fans:
A good friend advised me several years ago that before any major decision, you should look in the mirror and look at your birth certificate.
The full text of that letter can be found on the Devils' website - http://devils.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=569804
His farewell to us, the Devils fans was typically classy. Of course I would have expected nothing less. I've met him myself for only like ten seconds before a preseason game, ironically our other bloggers have had more contact with him than me and will probably share their own experiences of working for and with the one and only Doc. Just the way he has carried himself throughout his whole career and at times where he was put in the spotlight (like Doc Emrick night a couple years back after he got inducted to Hockey's Hall of Fame), you can tell the man's genuine.
And anyone who's watched a hockey game that Doc's called can appreciate both his talent and enthusiasm for the game. It's that enthusiasm that I'll miss the most about him, not to mention his unique sayings, when he says a puck gets pitchforked out of the zone or play......continues?! after a pregnant pause during certain instances when a penalty doesn't get called - just to name a couple. Not to mention personalizing the players, like when he calls Colin White the big defenseman from Nova Scotia.
Used to be I didn't like when the Devils were on VERSUS cause it sometimes took away Doc from the telecasts and always took away from the MSG+ studio experience as a whole, but now I'll be looking forward to those games on the off chance Doc will be once again behind the mike for a Devils game. Of course, the easiest way to assure that will be if the Devils make another deep run in the playoffs - hopefully he'll be around long enough to call another Devils Stanley Cup even!