The Stanley Cup Final match-ups are set and it looks like a good battle between Jonathan Toews and Steven Stamkos. However, I find myself wondering where the iconic voice of Bob Cole has gone.
Cole has been doing National Hockey League play by play since 1969 and has broadcast at least one game in the Stanley Cup Finals from 1980 until 2008.
He has also done several Olympic broadcasts. Not to mention as well that he is a member of the Order of Canada. But this year, he was not even given a game to call in the conference finals.
It might be the fact that I grew up hearing the duo of Cole and Harry Neale calling the Saturday night games, but I think that he should have been given the Stanley Cup Final assignment. I think we all need to hear more of those famous “Oh Baby” calls.
I know Jim Hughson has been good, and has five Gemini awards to back it up. But Cole has a way to bring up nostalgia within fans that none others can.
Cole represents, for many generations, memories of past times. Not only will you remember what happened in the game, but what you were doing at the time. Where you were when Canada won gold in Salt Lake in 2002, when Montreal won Canada’s last Stanley Cup in 1993 or the controversial Brett Hull skate in the crease incident in 1999.
Everyone has unique memories of Cole’s calls. Personally, his voice reminds me of days sitting on the basement couch on a Saturday night with my father, watching either a regular season Leaf game or a playoff game. It is a unique memory to me and one that I look fondly on.
He started during the Foster Hewitt era, and has brought that radio voice to television and made it work. It is something no announcer in todays game has because they have all been taught the television style. There seems to be less calling now and more chatter.
His voice even has it’s own app now, known as the Bob Cole Soundboard.
Not only that, but the excitement he brings to his calls makes every game interesting, I could always tell his passion from the start of a game all the way to the end. He said he enjoys what he does and I can tell.
You could always also tell the mood of the game from his voice. A bad game from a Canadian team and he would match the low mood, but if there was a great game, you might have a chance to hear him say “and the crowd goes crazy.”
There are no announcers left like Mr. Cole in my opinion. Paul Romanuk did not, in my opinion, bring the right excitement level to the Western Conference Final, and at times seemed out of place. Jim Hughson I do agree was the right call for the conference final, but he doesn’t remind fans of the good old days of hockey quite like Cole does.
I know that he was officially replaced by Jim Hughson for Stanley Cup Final calls in 2008, but the hope was there and is still there that he will be returned to the post by Rogers now that they have the broadcast rights.
Until then though, I will enjoy the matchup of the two Canadian born superstar captains of the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. It just won’t have the same old timey feel to it that a Bob Cole called game tends to have. Enjoy the Stanley Cup Final hockey fans! I’m reluctantly choosing the Chicago Blackhawks to win it all.
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Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy