CHICAGO – The focus of a hockey game on Thursday night was all directed at the broadcast booth, where a legend’s voice would be calling one final contest for the Blackhawks.
Good news for the fans, and maybe not the best news for the team, is that Pat Foley got as many minutes as he possibly could to extend that one final call.
A Sharks rally from a 4-2 deficit in the third period forced an overtime period along with a shootout, giving the Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer some extended time in the final game of his 39-year run with the franchise.
Then the Blackhawks were able to get the finish right, as Alex DeBrincat’s shootout goal and a subsequent stop by goalie Kevin Lankinen gave the hosts a 5-4 victory
Yet the focus of this evening was all around Foley, a Glenview native, who became a fan favorite during his career that spanned five different decades. He started calling games in 1980 and would continue until 2006 when he left the franchise, briefly joining the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
Foley returned in 2008 just in time for the greatest on-ice run in team history where they won three Stanley Cups in six seasons. In June of 2021, it was announced that the play-by-play man was leaving at the end of his contract in 2022.
For his years with the franchise, the Blackhawks presented Foley with the game’s No. 1 star, an honor usually reserved for the best player on the ice in a particular game. The crowd gave the announcer a loud ovation as he and color commentator Eddie Olczyk toasted a beer in the press box.
Foley then addressed the crowd in his final statement in his role with the team, expressing his thanks for their support and the honor of calling Blackhawks games through the years.
“I love you, I’m gonna miss you, but I’ll see you around. I’ll be walking around this United Center down the road here,” said Foley. “Thanks a million. I love you. I’ll miss you. Goodnight. Goodbye.”
The thanks were mutual on a special night at the United Center, where the main story was the one being told about the storyteller.