Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Foley Here To See You

Pat Foley is returning to the Blackhawks. Well, at least that's what's being reported.

Foley was the longtime voice of the Chicago NHL team, before leaving a couple of years ago for reasons that to this day still haven't been confirmed by either party.

But, since the death of owner Bill Wirtz, a resurgence has taken place on the west side of Chi-town. Rocky Wirtz, Bill's son, has taken over the team, and along with having a young, talented team that looks ripe for success in the coming years, things are really looking up in Blackhawks country, both on and off the ice.

Within about 12 seconds of his father's passing, Rocky Wirtz announced that Hawks' home games would begin airing on local television -- something "Dollar" Bill rarely allowed.

Several other moves were made -- including the brilliant hiring of John McDonough as team President, and to help oversee the team's marketing, etc. McDonough recently announced that a deal had been struck so that all 82 regular season games will air on Chicago TV next year.

It seemed only a matter of time before Foley was brought back into the fold, and it looks like that day is (not quite officially) here.

Foley is loved by about 98.3 % of the Hawk fan base, and he is one of the reasons I got into radio. I had the pleasure of interviewing Foley in person at the old Chicago Stadium back in 1991. It remains one of the highlights of my radio career. I can't wait to hear him bellowing out future Blackhawk goals with his signature, "fires...HE SCOOOOOOOORES."

So, in honor of this blog's 200th post, I was going to treat you to my 200 favorite Pat Foley moments. Problem is, I could only find six. But they're good.

"BAAAAAAAAANNNNNERMAN". This is probably Foley's signature call. A key save made by Murray Bannerman in a playoff game at Minnesota. Mention Foley's name to fans in Chicago, and at least one of them will imitate this call.

FOLEY RIPS KARPOTSEV. A few years ago, following defenseman Alex Karpotsev's trade from the Blackhawks to the Islanders, Foley ripped into defenseman Karpotsev as Hawks fans nodded in agreement with everything he said.

PAT PAYS TRIBUTE TO KEITH MAGNUSON. After former Hawks great Keith Magnuson was killed in a car accident, Foley offered this tribute prior to the Hawks game that took place a few days later.

SUTTER'S OVERTIME GOAL CLINCHES PLAYOFF SERIES. This may be the best "HE SCORRRRES!!!" in the history of broadcasting.

AMONTE SCORES 4 GOALS. This montage of a Tony Amonte 4-goal night shows what's so great about Foley. 1) The intensity, enthusiasm, and volume increase in his voice with each of his four goal calls. 2) Foley has always been a master at tempo. He can go from a casual call as teams muck it up in the neutral zone, to the necessary, more frenzied call when action picks up. 3) On Amonte's third goal, Foley shows off his perfect timing of calls. Listen to the line -- one of my favorite Foley expressions, by the way, -- "...fires...HE SCORES!" It meshes perfectly with the anticipation felt in the crowd. There's almost a split second of silence from both the crowd and Foley right after the word "fires". It's said at the perfect moment.

FIGHT NIGHT. Something tells me Pat secretly wants to boxing play-by-play gig on HBO. A few months back I chronicled a Foley fight call during his current gig as announcer for the Chicago Wolves. He'd be good at the boxing gig, too.

Welcome back, Pat. It looks like he'll get to call all Hawks games -- including the home tilts -- on TV, right at a time when the team is surging ahead and will certainly be in the playoff mix next year, and for years to come.

Now if we can just make sure GM Dale Tallon doesn't decide to bring back Alex Karpotsev...

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