We knew this day was coming eventually, but it’s cruel that it came so suddenly. Bob Miller, Hall of Fame announcer and narrator to most of our hockey memories, is retiring from broadcasting at the age of 78... but if all goes well, we will have two more games to listen to the Voice of the Los Angeles Kings.
After a brief intro from Nick Nickson and a round of applause from a huge crowd in the Chick Hearn Press Room, Miller got down to it. Flanked by his wife Judy and cracking jokes the whole time, Miller started by saying, “I’ve had a great time.” He then ran down the series of medical ailments he’s faced in the last year or so, looked at the assembled media, and made it official:
“After 44 years with the Kings, (as of right now) 3351 broadcasts, 57 years in radio and TV... I think it’s time to retire and hopefully have some quality time left with my family.”
However, Miller is planning to return to the broadcast booth for two more games. He’ll get one more home game in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 8, against the Chicago Blackhawks, and he’ll then head down the freeway to call the Kings’ regular season finale in Anaheim on April 9. He joked, “Ralph, you can take those days off... but don’t go too far.”
Miller started calling games for LA in 1973, and for the better part of 45 years, he did just that, as well as anyone. In the year 2000, Miller received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions in broadcasting. Even in his latter years, he and longtime partner Jim Fox were often praised as one of the most well-rounded, even-handed, experienced, and enjoyable local broadcast teams in the National Hockey League.
Miller has done so, so much for the Los Angeles Kings, and for the game of hockey in California. With the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in California, he brought the game to a generation of new fans, and became synonymous (along with the Dodgers’ Vin Scully and the Lakers’ Chick Hearn) with the Los Angeles sports scene.
He helped bring the game outside at Dodger Stadium.
He endeared himself to ‘90s kids like me by broadcasting the Mighty Ducks movies.
He always kept things interesting, made fun of opposing teams and players when necessary, braved unfamiliar territory, and most of all, made sure that our favorite LA Kings memories had meaningful words behind them.
Bob ended his prepared statements by thanking everyone and affirming that, right up until this final season, he never lost his love for calling Kings games. He said:
“There are times where I would say to myself: where would I rather be than right here, doing this game?”
I can say, personally, there were times where I said to myself: where would I rather be than right here, listening to Bob Miller? Usually, the answer was: I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Thanks for everything, Bob.