Mike “Doc” Emrick has been a professional broadcaster for four decades, during which he has established himself as the NHL’s marquee voice. In the midst of calling the 2013 NHL playoffs for NBC, Emrick joined Bill Littlefield to discuss his childhood, broadcasting, amd the 2013 NHL playoffs.
Highlights From Bill’s Conversation With Mike “Doc” Emrick
BL: What are the particular challenges of calling hockey games as opposed to other sports?
ME: Over a period of 40 years I’ve felt that the plays that are made … defensively by players are just as worthwhile as the attack by the offensive players. So I like to mention players’ names who make plays. But the hardest thing now with some of the designs of uniforms is to be able to read the sleeve numbers.
I think that hockey has mostly continuous description. We don’t have to wait for players to unpile. We don’t have [baseball’s] interminable wait between pitches. And even in basketball there are a lot of timeouts, and in hockey there aren’t many except for our commercials. And so it’s describing continuous action so I don’t think it’s as hard as the others.
BL: How have the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs stacked up against some of the others that you’ve called?
ME: I have put so much emotional weight on this year because it looked like we weren’t going to have one at all with our lockout. And so you recognize that in the regular season, as well as in the playoffs, that the players have just extended themselves beyond belief.
BL: It occurs to me that some of our listeners might be wondering about your nickname, Doc. You earned it, you have a PhD, although I presume it’s not in hockey.
ME: No, it’s signs of a misspent youth, I guess. My parents were both teachers. They placed a value on education and as I tried to break into hockey I continued to get advanced degrees.