Bob Cole’s Final ‘Victory Lap’ Reaches Vancouver

Patrick Johnston by PATRICK JOHNSTON, The Province Sports    October 28, 2018

Scott Oake, Sidney Crosby and Bob Cole after the Pittsburgh Penguins morning skate at Rogers Arena on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.        Scott Oake, Sidney Crosby and Bob Cole after the Pittsburgh Penguins morning skate at Rogers Arena on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Patrick Johnston / PNG

At 85, the legendary Hockey Night in Canada play by play man just lets his work do the talking.

If there’s one voice most Canadians today think of when Hockey Night in Canada is mentioned, it’s a good bet the name of Bob Cole comes to mind.

And at 85, Cole is still calling hockey games, albeit that looks ready to change.

Before the 2018-19 season — Cole’s 50th in the play-by-play broadcaster’s chair — Rogers Sportsnet announced Cole would call 10 games this season and then unplug his microphone for the final time.

He was the lead play-by-play caller for Hockey Night from 1980 until 2008, when Jim Hughson was promoted to the main job. For the past decade, Cole, who still calls St. John’s, Nfld., home, has mostly been heard on broadcasts of Montreal Canadiens games.

Saturday’s Canucks-Penguins game at Rogers Arena is likely to be Cole’s final broadcast in Vancouver.

Saturday morning, asked about the occasion, Cole sought to play down the evening, preferring instead to focus on preparing for the game.

The host for the Saturday night telecast, Scott Oake, said that was very much in character for the broadcasting legend.

“The thing about Bob is he has always wanted the focus to be on the game. The game is everything to him. He doesn’t want the focus to be on him or on anyone else on the broadcast,” Oake said.

Oake, who has been working on Hockey Night broadcasts since the 1970s, goes even further back with Cole — all the way back to Newfoundland, where he lived as a teenager. He first started working at the CBC as a part-timer, right out of high school.

He eventually got to work on the supper-hour newscast on the CBC’s St. John’s TV station.

“My first job was as a sports announcer at CBNT,” he said. “Bob was the news anchor.”

Cole would then jet off on the weekends to call games for CBC TV and radio.



Published on October 28, 2018 at 10:17 am by mikedup


October 28, 2018 - 11:06 am

Les H.

Thanks for your years of service Mr. Cole.

I was just going through my video archive and found a video I had called Great Plays From Great Games (1989 Molstar Productions) and watched it with a buddy of mine. The various hi-lites were of games obviously up to 1989. The play by play hosts were either the late great Danny Gallivan, the late great Dan Kelly and yes including one alive and kicking Bob Cole. To think Bob has been doing hockey play by play for 50 years is just great. CONGRATS BOB! When you do your last game, do it with flair and enjoy the new found time you have. Maybe write a book of memoirs.

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