Legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Cole passes away at 90

Samer Dagher
April 25, 2024  (1:10 PM)

Legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Cole
Photo credit: CBC

Bob Cole, whose voice and colorful commentary were the Saturday night staple for hockey fans during a broadcasting career spanning over half a century, passed away at 90 years of age. Cole died Wednesday night in St. John's surrounded by his family, his daughter Megan confirmed to CBC News on Thursday.

Cole's signature call — "Oh, baby!" — became synonymous with his play-by-play commentaries, endearing him to fans and players alike. He immortalized one of Canada's most iconic sports moments: Paul Henderson's Summit Series goal in 1972 against the Soviet Union.
"His voice is iconic. It's what I grew up with watching hockey. He holds a special place in the hearts of many Canadians," said Steven Stamkos, captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in 2019, when Cole called his final game — a classic Original Six matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

As Cole approached the end of his career, players paid tribute to him, with entire teams raising their sticks in his honor. "Well, well, well — Ottawa, pretty classy. Thanks very much," an emotional Cole remarked as the Senators paid tribute to him.
Starting in 1969 with CBC Radio, Cole transitioned to television in 1973, becoming a fixture on Hockey Night in Canada. His memorable calls, like "They're going home" during a heated match between the Philadelphia Flyers and Russia's Red Army team in 1976, echoed through the decades.
Rooted in radio, Cole understood the importance of the auditory experience in enhancing fans' enjoyment of the game. "I get a great charge out of making exciting sound," he said.
Cole's love for broadcasting led him to seek guidance from legendary broadcaster Foster Hewitt, whose feedback shaped his career. Apart from hockey, Cole was passionate about curling and even represented Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier in the 1970s.
His influence extended beyond sports, as he served as the quiz master on CBC's Reach for the Top in Newfoundland and Labrador. Additionally, he lent his voice to the intro of the series Republic of Doyle.
Bob Cole's voice and passion for broadcasting left an indelible mark on Canadian sports and culture, endearing him to generations of fans.
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Legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Cole passes away at 90

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