Earlier in the offseason, it was announced that Bob Miller would be scaling back his broadcasting duties, calling “only” 58 games in his 44th season as the play-by-play man for the Los Angeles Kings. Last year, another Hall of Famer radio man, Nick Nickson, moved from radio to TV to cover Bob Miller after his heart surgery. This year, LA’s gone with a different — albeit awesome — approach.
The following four announcers will be calling games on Fox Sports West this season. They’re all terrific.
GARY THORNE will be providing play-by-play for eight games in November and December. Thorne is currently the play-by-play man for the Baltimore Orioles, but he’s best known as the voice of my childhood. At least, the portion of my childhood I spent watching hockey on ESPN. Here’s a reminder.
Thorne will be calling games on November 8 (Toronto), 10 (Montreal), 11 (Ottawa), 13 (Winnipeg) and 15 (Colorado), and on December 13 (Buffalo), 15 (Detroit), and 18 (Boston).
RALPH STRANGIS will be providing play-by-play for four games in December and January. He’s a local legend in Dallas, as he spent 20 years broadcasting Stars games with Daryl Reaugh (who you might know as Razor). Five years ago, SB Nation rated the 30 NHL announcing duos from one star to five stars, and that team was one of four five-star duos. (Miller and Fox were also given the highest rating, because of course they were.) Here’s Strangis calling LA’s comeback from 4-0 down in 2007.
Strangis will be calling games on December 20 (Columbus), 22 (Nashville), and 23 (Dallas!), and on January 26 (Carolina).
CHRIS CUTHBERT will be providing play-by-play for four games in January and February. He has been a longtime voice of hockey in Canada, and American viewers got to hear him on their own televisions last season during the first couple rounds of the postseason, including last year’s dramatic series between San Jose and Nashville. You may also know him from watching 2014 highlights on YouTube.
Cuthbert will be calling games on January 21 (NY Islanders), 23 (NY Rangers), and 24 (New Jersey), and on February 4 (Philadelphia).
Finally, JIGGS McDONALD will be broadcasting one game in February. McDonald was the first regular play-by-play announcer in the history of the Los Angeles Kings back in 1967, calling games for the first five seasons. Naturally, he’s a Hall of Famer, receiving the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 1990. Most recently he was the voice of the New York Islanders, and he called three regular season games for the team in 2015-16, at the age of 76. Here he is calling some Kelly Hrudey action.
He’ll be 78 when he does play-by-play for the Kings once again, on February 9 in Florida.
Kudos to the Kings and Fox Sports West for lining up this assortment of talent. We love Bob, but if he needs some time off, LA hardly could have done better in finding subs.