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Bob Cole, the play-by-play voice of countless NHL games, dies at 90 



Bob Cole, the play-by-play voice of countless NHL games, dies at 90 
From being bedridden as a toddler and listening to the radio in St. John’s, to calling a few of the greatest moments in hockey historical past, Bob Cole known as NHL video games for 50 years. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Bob Cole, whose voice and energetic language have been the Saturday evening soundtrack to hockey video games over a broadcasting profession that spanned greater than half a century, has died. 

Cole, who was 90, died Wednesday evening in St. John’s surrounded by his household, mentioned his daughter, Megan Cole.

“Thanks for many years of affection for his work, love of Newfoundland and love of hockey,” Megan Cole informed CBC Information on Thursday.

Cole mentioned her father had been wholesome “up till the very finish.” 

Cole’s trademark name — “Oh, child!” — was considered one of many signposts he dropped at play-by-play commentaries that earned him the love of followers and even gamers themselves.  

“His legacy shall be that the gamers adored him. That is not simple,” longtime Hockey Night time in Canada host Ron MacLean mentioned in an interview Thursday. 

“He at all times mentioned the sport’s the factor, not the present, however the gamers so revered him… He was snug. He was skilled. He was proficient.”

Cole, who mentioned he nonetheless obtained goosebumps in his mid-80s when he stepped into an area broadcasting sales space, known as one of the vital well-known performs in Canadian sports activities historical past: Paul Henderson’s Summit Collection purpose in 1972, in opposition to the Soviet Union. 

LISTEN | Hear Bob Cole name the well-known Paul Henderson purpose in 1972 for CBC Radio:

Cross Discuss1:06Bob Cole on 1972 Paul Henderson purpose

Bob Cole on 1972 Paul Henderson purpose 

“His voice is iconic. It is all I related to watching hockey rising up. He has an in depth spot in numerous Canadians’ hearts through the years,” Steven Stamkos, captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, mentioned in 2019, when Cole known as his ultimate sport — a traditional Unique Six matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. 

“That was the man you grew up listening to,” Leafs captain John Tavares mentioned on the time. 

As Cole wound down his profession in 2019, gamers paid tribute, similar to groups skating with their sticks raised excessive within the air. 

“Nicely, effectively, effectively — Ottawa, fairly elegant. Thanks very a lot,” an emotional Cole mentioned as he commented on a Senators tribute made only for him. 

Fixture on Hockey Night time in Canada

Already a distinguished determine in St. John’s broadcasting, Cole leapt to nationwide broadcasts in 1969 when he began calling NHL video games for CBC Radio. 

He moved to tv in 1973 and could be a staple of Hockey Night time in Canada broadcasts for many years to come back. He known as many Stanley Cup ultimate collection through the years, and gave sports activities followers thrills with on-the-spot feedback, a few of which have resonated for generations. 

WATCH | In 2019, as he ready for his ultimate broadcast, Bob Cole informed Ian Hanomansing about being ‘the soundtrack of Saturday evening’: 

Bob Cole displays on 50-year Hockey Night time in Canada profession

Legendary broadcaster Bob Cole is making ready for his ultimate sign-off. After 50 years within the sales space, he’s leaving Hockey Night time in Canada on April 6.

“They are going dwelling,” he repeatedly mentioned on Jan. 11, 1976, when Russia’s Purple Military hockey staff briefly headed to the altering room throughout a heated match with the Philadelphia Flyers, then the reigning Stanley Cup champs. 

The incident occurred through the first interval, when Flyers defenceman Ed Van Impe, who had simply completed serving a penalty, delivered a tough verify on Valeri Kharlamov. The Russian star lay susceptible on the ice for a number of minutes, prompting Purple Military coach Konstantin Loktev to drag his staff off the ice in protest when no penalty was known as. The Russian staff would finally return to complete the sport.

Drawn to ‘the texture of the sport’

Rooted in radio, Cole knew that what hockey followers heard may add to their enjoyment of the sport. 

“I get a terrific cost out of constructing thrilling sound, if you wish to name it that,” he informed The Canadian Press in a 2022 interview, after he obtained a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Tv.

“It is the texture of the sport that obtained me began and I managed to hold onto that, I feel, or tried to for therefore lengthy.”

For steering on methods to name a hockey sport, Cole as soon as went straight to the highest with an audition tape: legendary broadcaster Foster Hewitt.

Impressed by Hewitt in his childhood — “radio was my all the things,” he informed Ian Hanomansing in a 2019 interview — Cole in his early 20s tracked down Hewitt in Toronto.

WATCH | Bob Cole speaks with Right here & Now’s Debbie Cooper in 2016 in regards to the life-changing recommendation he obtained from Foster Hewitt: 

Hewitt not solely agreed to take heed to the tape however took Cole into the studio to present him suggestions on the spot. 

“It was a dream you’d by no means think about may occur — Foster Hewitt is speaking to me about how he does, how he thinks a few hockey sport,” Cole mentioned in 2016 interview with CBC to advertise Now I am Catching On: My Life On and Off the Air, a memoir he wrote with sportswriter Stephen Brunt. 

Hockey was not the one sport Cole cherished. He curled for a few years, twice skipping groups that represented Newfoundland and Labrador on the Brier within the Nineteen Seventies. 

WATCH | See highlights of Cole’s profession, performed for Toronto Maple Leafs followers in 2019:

‘Oh Child!’ Make a journey down reminiscence lane with 50 years of Bob Cole calls

The Toronto Maple Leafs honour Bob Cole for his ultimate name in Toronto.

Throughout his prolonged broadcasting profession, he anchored the information for Right here & Now, CBC’s flagship TV information program in Newfoundland and Labrador, and was additionally quiz grasp on CBC’s Attain for the High in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

His voice appeared outdoors sports activities, too. Actor and producer Allan Hawco requested Cole to voice the recap intro heard at the start of most episodes of the collection Republic of Doyle

Barb Williams, govt vice-president of CBC, mentioned in an announcement that the general public broadcaster is mourning the lack of Cole. 

“What a present he had. And what a loss to all the hockey group,” Williams mentioned in an announcement. “Like each hockey fan throughout the nation, we’re deeply saddened.… Bob will at all times maintain a particular place in our hearts at CBC.”

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