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A true legend

DAN CEARNS The Standard

The Canadian sports landscape lost a true legend, this past week, when hockey announcer Bob Cole passed away, at the age of 90.

For different generations of hockey fans there have been iconic voices they remember from Saturday Night CBC hockey. For me, Bob Cole was that guy. Bob Cole and Harry Neale were one of the first duos I heard call a hockey game, during my childhood. They were also the featured duos on a number of National Hockey League video games I used to play.

To this day, his famous “oh baby” calls ring in my head. They are still featured in the intro for every Hockey Night in Canada game on CBC.

Mr. Cole was a true legend and an excellent Canadian representative. A Newfoundlander, who was a staple of hockey broadcasting for 50 years, had also called at least one game, of each of the Stanley Cup finals, from 1980 until 2008. During that time, he called a lot of games for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. In addition to NHL games, Mr. Cole also called Olympic hockey games.

To see how well respected he was in the game, you merely need to look at the plethora of positive comments and tributes flooding the internet, from current players across the NHL, former and current broadcasters and former playersl. Doug Gilmour on X, formerly known as Twitter, called him “a wonderful man, whose voice we will never forget,” and said he was thankful he called games during his career. Broadcaster Dave Hodge wrote on X, he never heard anyone say they didn’t like the way Bob Cole called games. In an article on Sportsnet’s website, Elliotte Friedman called Bob Cole a “great teammate.”

Mr. Cole seemed like a loyal broadcaster, spending his entire television career with the CBC, Sportsnet combination. In 1996, he was the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. This award, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s website, goes to “members of the radio and television industry who made outstanding contributions to their profession and the game, during their career in hockey broadcasting.”

I think it’s fair to say, Mr. Cole’s loss is felt throughout the country and he will be remembered by the many fans, like me, who listened to his many calls over the years.

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