For decades, Los Angeles has been blessed -- some might say spoiled -- with having the greatest play-by-play announcers call games for our various local teams. Unfortunately, that golden era has officially come to an end.
Several years ago, basketball broadcasting icon Chick Hearn passed away. Last season, the legendary Vin Scully retired. Now the Los Angeles Kings' Hall of Fame announcer Bob Miller, who has endured recent health problems, has stated that he will be retiring as well.
The "Voice of the Kings" will return to the TV broadcast booth in April and then retire upon the conclusion of the regular season.
At least the Clippers' Ralph Lawler still plans to remain on the mic. Or so we hope.
Miller will call two more Kings games on FOX Sports West – April 8 at home against the Chicago Blackhawks (3 p.m. start time) and April 9 in Anaheim against the Ducks (5:30 p.m. start time). He is currently on a medical leave of absence.
Miller made the following statement at a press conference on Thursday:
“Due to four separate health incidents the last year, quadruple bypass heart surgery, a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), a mild stroke and a stent placed in my left carotid artery, and with doctor’s advice to slow down, it’s time for me to retire.
I have been fortunate to work in a career I’ve always wanted, to be a radio-TV sports announcer for 57 years, 44 of those years as the Los Angeles Kings play-by-play broadcaster. Not many of us get to enjoy five decades, 3,351 games, in a career that has brought so much joy and excitement.
I have worked for every owner the Kings have ever had and I appreciate that opportunity and their support as well as the support from AEG, FOX Sports West, Kings coaches and players, my broadcast partners, newspaper reporters, radio-TV announcers, the Kings fans and my family.
I plan to broadcast two more games and then I hope to have some quality years and enjoyment in retirement.”
Miller this season took a limited broadcasting role with the Kings for the first time in this his 44th season with the Kings with the plan to miss several road games and broadcast 58 total contests during the Kings’ 50th Anniversary celebration. Miller’s last Kings broadcast took place on January 16 at STAPLES Center. He suffered the mild stroke in late January.
The final Kings regular season home game against the Blackhawks will be Bob Miller Appreciation Day at STAPLES Center and the Kings will honor Miller early in the 2017-18 NHL regular season. Additional details relating to each of these events will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Miller and TV Analyst Jim Fox have worked together on TV for more consecutive seasons (27) than any other current club TV broadcasting team. Ralph Strangis will continue to broadcast Kings games on FOX Sports West this season in Miller’s absence alongside Fox.
“As far as any of us can remember, Bob Miller has been the Voice of the LA Kings," said Luc Robitaille, Kings President, Business Operations and Hockey Hall of Famer. "Watching a Kings game will never be the same.”
On November 13, 2000, Miller received the Foster Hewitt Award, as selected by the NHL Professional Broadcasters’ Association. This award, which recognizes those members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and the game during their hockey broadcasting careers, is recognized by a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
On October 2, 2006, Miller received a star on the famous Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. On February 4, 2002, Miller was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame, where he served as that organization’s President for five years.
Miller has also been named the top Television Play-by-Play Announcer in Southern California 10 times (including 2015), and in 2014 he earned that club’s Special Achievement Award. In 2011, Miller was inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1998, to commemorate his 25 years of loyal service to the organization, Miller was honored by having the STAPLES Center press box named after him and was presented with a “lifetime contract” by the club. In 1997, Miller was named as one of the six inaugural members of the Kings Hall of Fame during the organization’s 30th Anniversary celebration. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association also named him the California Sportscaster of the Year in 1997 and 2002.
In 2013, Miller’s second book – Tales from the Los Angeles Kings Locker Room – was released. In 2006 he authored the book, Bob Miller’s Tales from the Los Angeles Kings.
A native of Chicago, Miller, 79, received his degree at the University of Iowa where he started his broadcasting career doing Hawkeye football and basketball games. Before joining the Kings, he worked professionally in radio and TV in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and was the voice of University of Wisconsin hockey, football and basketball. In 1992, Miller received the honor of being inducted into Wisconsin’s Hockey Hall of Fame.
Along with his duties for the Kings, Miller’s voice has accented numerous TV and film projects, including “Cheers,” “Rollerball,” “Miracle on Ice,” “The Mighty Ducks” and “The Mighty Ducks 2.”
Below are thoughts from many in the Kings organization on Miller's legacy:
Jim Fox, Kings TV Analyst:
“It has been an honor to work with Bob for the last 27 years. His professionalism and work ethic are very apparent and that definitely shows up in his knowledge of the game and the relationships he has with people involved in hockey, especially the fans. He has been a mentor to me in how to prepare for games and how to never underestimate the value of doing homework. As far as his call of the game, I have always marveled at his skill in communicating what is happening in the game, not only with his spot-on description of the game’s events, but even more importantly with his skill at finding the appropriate energy and urgency to cover each individual moment. Bob has never had to use a shtick or gimmicks to cover the game and that is because ‘he is that good.’ I have enjoyed his stories and joke-telling throughout the years and because I was right beside Bob for the longest lasting tenure of any current NHL broadcast team, I am most fortunate to have always sat in the best seat in the house. Congratulations to Bob, his wife Judy and their entire family.”
Nick Nickson, Kings Radio Play-by-Play Announcer and Hockey Hall of Famer:
“Bob Miller is the consummate professional. The passion and dedication he has brought to Kings games over the years is unparalleled and has endeared him to Kings and NHL fans everywhere. It has been an honor to have worked with and alongside him for 36 years. I consider him a true friend. He will always be the ‘Voice of the Kings.’”
Daryl Evans, Kings Radio Analyst:
“Bob Miller stands alone. Hearing Bob call the games with his passion and pride for his profession is something I will always remember. It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to work with Bob over the years and I am so happy he was able to hoist the Stanley Cup. Congratulations to you, Bob, on an amazing career…one of we can only dream about having. Bob Miller – a legendary Hall of Famer.”
Marcel Dionne, Hockey Hall of Famer:
“Retirement has finally come for Bob. Wow. His career has been a great one. Your name is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, you have two Stanley Cup rings, you have a great wife and beautiful kids and grandkids. You are one of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met. You are a true professional -- during hard and good times -- and the loyalty you had with different ownerships over the years is second to none. Your dedication to the fans of the Kings has been unbelievable and everybody will miss you on the air. Now I am looking forward to going to a Kings game and have you sitting with me so you can tell me again and again all the great stories of your great career. You are a funny man and I love you dearly. All the best to you my friend.”
Rob Blake, Kings Vice President/Assistant General Manager and Hockey Hall of Famer:
The term ‘Bob Miller, Voice of the LA Kings’ will always go hand-in-hand. It has been a great pleasure to hear your voice call so many Kings games over the years, Bob. Congratulations to you and Judy.”
Rogie Vachon, Hockey Hall of Famer:
“Congratulations on a wonderful career, Bob. Nobody will ever call a hockey game the way you did for so many years. I am proud to be your friend. Enjoy your retirement as it is very well deserved.”
Dave Taylor, Kings Hall of Famer:
“Congratulations Bob on a tremendous career. You have represented the Kings, the City of Los Angeles and the NHL with professionalism, integrity and a great sense of humor. Congratulations to you, Judy and your entire family from myself and my wife Beth.”
Jiggs McDonald, former Kings Broadcaster and Hockey Hall of Famer:
“I have total respect for Bob's decision. Health is number one. While he will miss being in the booth or around the arenas and the guys, the Kings television audience will miss him more. Bob’s verve and personality, and his love of the game was evident in every broadcast over these past 44 years. He established a level of excellence that made him synonymous with Chick and Vinny in Southern California.”
Pete Weber, former Kings Broadcaster:
“Bob Miller was the one who showed me how to prepare as a professional and I could not have spent the more than 35 years ‘post-Bob’ in this business without his life, hockey and broadcast lessons. He taught me how enjoyable this life can be and to relish it. I will be forever grateful for that. Now it’s my turn to ‘pay it forward.’”
Rich Marotta, former Kings Broadcaster:
“It is rare to find the combination of professionalism, talent, knowledge, humor, enthusiasm and humanity as the Kings and Los Angeles got in Bob Miller. He has brought all those attributes to the broadcast booth and has brought them every night. Bob is genuinely enthusiastic about every game, and his love for the game always shines through. On top of that, his preparation is always impeccable. He has never mailed it in. The city of Los Angeles has been blessed with great broadcasting talents, and Bob Miller ranks with the giants.”
In other NHL news . . .
KINGS DEFEAT TORONTO
Los Angeles overcame a 2-0 deficit in the third period and Anze Kopitar (1-0—1) scored the decisive goal in the shootout as the Kings improved to 3-1-2 in their last six contests to leapfrog the idle Blues (31-26-5, 67 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
LATE CANADIENS GOAL SPOILS SUBBAN'S RETURN TO MONTREAL
Paul Byron scored the go-ahead goal on a breakaway with 8.3 seconds remaining in regulation to power the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens (36-21-8, 80 points) to their fourth straight win.
Former Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban collected an assist in his first game in Montreal since being traded to the Predators in exchange for Shea Weber last June.
Subban was brought to tears during a standing ovation from fans at Bell Centre after a video tribute was aired prior to the start of the game.
CAPITALS SET FRANCHISE RECORDS WITH SHUTOUT WIN
Jakub Vrana scored the only goal of the contest and Braden Holtby (15 saves) registered his League-leading eighth shutout of the season as the Capitals (43-13-7, 93 points) extended their home win and point streaks to 14 and 16 games (15-0-1), respectively, to eclipse previous benchmarks set in 2009-10.
Washington became the first team to register a home win streak of 14 or more games since 2011-12, when Detroit established an NHL record with 23 consecutive home victories.
The Capitals, who lead the NHL with 26 home wins this season (26-5-1, 53 points), have registered 10 shutouts at Verizon Center including six during their 14-game win streak. Prior to this season, Elias notes that their franchise record for home shutouts in one campaign was seven, set in 1995-96.
Holtby improved to 18-0-2 in his past 20 decisions (1.71 GAA, .935 SV%, 5 SO), two shy of his career high for consecutive decisions with a point (20-0-2 in 2015-16). Elias notes that only one other goaltender in NHL history has achieved multiple stretches of 20 straight decisions with at least a point (within a single season): Pete Peeters in 1979-80 (27 GP) and 1982-83 (31 GP).
KUCHEROV, LIGHTNING LOOK TO CONTINUE HOT STREAK
Nikita Kucherov and the Lightning (29-25-8, 66 points) take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins (38-16-8, 84 points) at PPG Paints Arena. Tampa Bay owns a record of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and sit four points back of the Islanders (30-22-10, 70 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Kucherov leads the team with 27-34—61 this season (55 GP) and has collected 6-6—12 in his last four games, becoming the first Lightning player to record 12 points in a four-game span since Vincent Lecavalier accomplished the feat from Nov. 10-19, 2007 (5-7—12). Meanwhile, defenseman Mark Streit will make his debut with the Penguins after being acquired from the Lightning on Monday; Streit had been acquired by Tampa Bay from Philadelphia earlier in the day.
DUCKS SIGN LOGAN SHAW TO EXTENSION
The Anaheim Ducks signed forward Logan Shaw to a one-year contract extension through the 2017-18 NHL season.
Shaw, 24, has collected 7-5=12 points with 21 penalty minutes (PIM) in 96 career NHL games with Anaheim and Florida. Shaw made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut with the Panthers in 2015-16, playing three First Round games against the New York Islanders. The 6-3, 202-pound forward has appeared in 149 career American Hockey League (AHL) games with San Diego (2016-17), Springfield (2016-17), Portland (2015-16) and San Antonio (2013-15), earning 29-24=53 points with 55 PIM.
Acquired from Florida in exchange for forward Michael Sgarbossa on Nov. 16, 2016, Shaw has recorded 2-3=5 points with eight PIM in 43 games with the Ducks this season. He has also appeared in 15 AHL games with Springfield and San Diego, earning 4-2=6 points with two PIM. Shaw was selected by Florida in the third round (76th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
THURSDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps)
WASHINGTON 1, New Jersey 0
NY Rangers 2, BOSTON 1
PHILADELPHIA 2, Florida 1 (SO)
COLUMBUS 1, Minnesota 0
BUFFALO 6, Arizona 3
MONTREAL 2, Nashville 1
OTTAWA 2, Colorado 1
NY Islanders 5, DALLAS 4
LOS ANGELES 3, Toronto 2 (SO)
SAN JOSE 3, Vancouver 1
FRIDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)
Tampa Bay @ Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., SN, TVAS, NHLN-US, ROOT, SUN
Arizona @ Carolina, 7:30 p.m., FS-SE, FS-A PLUS
St. Louis @ Winnipeg, 8 p.m., TSN3, FS-MW
NY Islanders @ Chicago, 8:30 p.m., WGN, MSG+
Detroit @ Calgary, 9 p.m., SNW, FS-D
Toronto @ Anaheim, 10 p.m., FS-W, TSN4
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services