Mike Emrick spoke to reporters after announcing his retirement at age 74 on Monday. The Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster has called over 3,750 hockey games in his career, including 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Game Sevens, 14 All-Star Games, and 6 Olympic Games.
Picking a favorite moment with all that great hockey to choose from — 225,000 minutes of hockey during 47 professional seasons — is difficult. But Emrick managed to point to one moment that stood out more than the rest.
During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the United States men’s hockey team played Team Russia in the preliminary round. After remaining tied after regulation and overtime, the two teams ultimately decided the game in a shootout. Capitals forward TJ Oshie (then of the St. Louis Blues) converted on four of six opportunities against Sergei Bobrovsky to give the United States a thrilling 3-2 victory. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance.
After the game, Emrick paid tribute to Miracle On Ice coach Herb Brooks as Russian fans filed to the exits. Emrick specifically asked a producer to get the shot.
“So many paid their rubles to see the home team win,” Emrick said. “Not this game. Not tonight.”
The final five words were adopted from a pregame speech Brooks gave to an overmatched US team before facing off against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. The quote was made famous in the 2004 film Miracle. “If we played ‘em ten times, they might win nine,” Brooks said. “But not this game. Not tonight.”
“That was awesome,” Emrick said of his tribute according to NBC Sports. “A springboard to another story that I think is far more significant.”
Emrick was referring to a conversation he later had with TJ Oshie after returning to the United States per Front Office Sports. Doc asked Oshie if his shootout performance against Russia was the most significant thing that happened in his life. Oshie said no, pointing instead to the birth of his first child. Lyla was born three weeks after the Olympic Games concluded and had a birth defect involving her stomach. She survived surgery and turned six-years-old in March.
Monday night, TJ Oshie returned the favor and paid tribute to Emrick for his long, successful career. “The first voice that comes to mind when I think of hockey is ‘Doc,’” Oshie wrote on Twitter. “All of the biggest moments of my career were called by Doc and he captured them like no one else could.” That includes his Olympic shootout performance and Oshie’s first Stanley Cup in 2018.
The first voice that comes to mind when I think of hockey is “Doc.” All of the biggest moments of my career were called by Doc and he captured them like no one else could. #Legend #ThankYouDoc https://t.co/JxaLuAmBeS
— TJ Oshie (@TJOshie77) October 19, 2020
Several other Capitals players, past and present, thanked Emrick for everything he did for the game as well. Lars Eller reposted the call of his Stanley Cup-winning goal. “#ThankYouDoc for all the unforgettable memories!” Eller wrote.
— Lars Eller (@lellerofficial) October 19, 2020
Steve Oleksy’s first NHL goal was called by Emrick. “Everyone knows his voice and many know what an amazing person he is,” Oleksy wrote. “You have enriched the hockey culture for years to come. Doc Emrick congrats on retirement and thank you for all the memories, locker room chats about current events in our hometown, and what you have done for the sport of hockey. #puremichigan. I still feel you and I made @marcusjohansson90 career but 🤷🏻♂️”
Nathan Walker posted a photo of him talking with Emrick in the Capitals’ locker room.
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis added, “He created the soundtrack for a generation of hockey fans. Including me. Poetic. Melodic. Insightful. Epic. He created chills for all.”
Much love and respect to Doc Emrick— of @NHLonNBCSports. He created the soundtrack for a generation of hockey fans. Including me. Poetic. Melodic. Insightful. Epic. He created chills for all. Watch this as an example. #ThankYouDochttps://t.co/S22a442Lra
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) October 20, 2020