CHICAGO – From Denis Savard to Patrick Kane, from Chicago Stadium to the United Center, through the best and the worst of days, his voice was a constant through generations of the franchise.
Whether listening to him through a television or a radio, Pat Foley was the top narrator of Blackhawks hockey for fans over the course of 39 years and thousands of games, with his voice being immediately recognized by the die-hards or the casual observer.
Now his time in the booth is coming to an end, with one more game left to call.
Foley will step into the broadcast booth with Eddie Olczyk on Thursday night at the United Center to serve as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Blackhawks’ contest against the Sharks at 7:30 PM.
He’ll depart the booth at the end of his contract with the team, a move that was announced last June, doing so with plenty of memorable calls from regular season to the playoffs from 1980-2006 then from 2008-2022. This season, Foley has shared the booth with a number of play-by-play announcers in a year-long salute to his career by the Blackhawks.
After tonight, Chris Vosters will step in and handle the team’s television broadcasting duties moving forward after being one of those fill-in play-by-play announcers this season.
Memorable calls flood through many fans’ minds at this moment, from the screaming “Bannerman!” on a save by then Blackhawks goaltender Murray Bannerman against the North Stars in the 1985 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Jeremy Roenick’s final goal in Chicago Stadium, to a number of great moments in the 2010’s dynasty.
All came with Foley’s unique enthusiasm, one that made him a five-time Emmy award winner, earned him an election to the Hockey Hall of Fame along with the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
The 69-year-old announcer had the chance to call a few memorable eras of the team, starting with the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s. Teams led by Savard, Bannerman, Doug Wilson, Al Secord, Jeremy Roenick, Steve Larmer, Chris Chelios, and Ed Belfour made a few conference finals and even the Stanley Cup Final in 1992, where they fell to the Penguins.
There were tougher days in the late 1990s and the early-to-mid 2000s, when the team lost the footing it once had in the city, with Foley departing the franchise in 2006. He returned in 2009 as the team started a new era that was kicked off by his former broadcast partner and general manager Dale Tallon.
From 2009-2015, the Blackhawks would win three Stanley Cups in the greatest on-ice stretch in the history of the nearly 100-year franchise. Before then, the team had gone nearly a half-century without a championship.
Foley now departs the booth after Thursday with the future uncertain for a team that is rebuilding both on and off the ice.