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Bob Cole Dismayed that He’s Not Working the Playoffs


‘I will miss it’: Bob Cole

“It’s the old phrase when you get to the playoffs,” said Bob Cole. “You better stay out of the penalty box, especially against a team like Boston. Or else they’re going to sting you!”

Cole, who sounds as if he’s in the middle of a broadcast, then added: “It’s a great time of year.”

And yet, for the 84-year-old, it’s suddenly become the worst time of the year.

For the first time in almost five decades, the legendary play-by-play announcer won’t be calling any playoff games.

It’s a decision that caught Cole by surprise. And it’s a decision that he still doesn’t quite understand, considering he’s been this country’s broadcaster since 1972.

“I’ve been doing playoffs every year of my life in broadcasting. This is the first time that I’m not involved,” said Cole. “It’s difficult to live with the fact that I’m not working. I surely will miss not working the playoffs. That’s the best way I can say it.”

For generations of hockey fans, the feeling is likely mutual.

Though his voice has aged a bit over the years, Cole’s staccato delivery and familiar phrasings of “Oh, baby!” and “Everything is happening!” are as much a part of the game as the ice and the boards. There’s a kind of poetry to how he describes a play.

“For me, Bob has always been a huge part of simply enjoying a hockey game for years,” said Sportsnet’s Dave Randorf, who is calling the Vegas-Los Angeles series in the first round. “The voice. The drama. You turn on the TV and know, ‘This will be fun.’ That is how I hope and aspire to be like Bob.

“He has set the bar very high for all of us. I have great respect and take that very seriously.”

During what might be his last broadcast — a 4-2 Bruins win against the Senators on April 7 — Cole described a Noel Acciari breakaway goal as a “free break for a cherry.” As the final buzzer sounded, he signed off on Ottawa’s season by saying “and then the roof kind of caved in.”

It was an appropriate line for what then happened to Cole.

A day later, while watching the Masters on TV at his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Cole received a call from his bosses. At first, he assumed he was getting his marching orders for the playoffs. Instead, he was told he was being grounded.



  1. The circle of broadcast life… voices come and voices go. Bob should be proud of the many many years he’s had at the top of his game.

  2. I agree, he had a good run, time to hang up the microphone and headphones. I am not being disrespectful of Bob Cole.

  3. This is a tough spot for Rogers Sportsnet and every broadcaster. How to send a legend like Bob Cole to the showers. If you listen to the playoff broadcast team, this year, it’s optimal and can’t get any better. Some of us are pushed, while others decide when to go ? In my view, Bob Cole should decide when it’s time and not the network. example gratis: Tony Parsons.

  4. Sad in not hearing him do games but between all of the network doing the games are there not enough announcers to go around?
    Looks like some networks are going for looks and not substance.


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