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Legendary NHL Commentator Bob Cole Dies Aged 90

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Bob Cole interview from CBC News: The National

Legendary NHL commentator Bob Cole, best known as a mainstay for the Stanley Cup broadcast, passed away this week at the age of 90.

Friend and fellow broadcaster John Shannon said Cole died Wednesday night in his hometown of St. John’s, the capital of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the network for which Cole worked, announced his death Thursday, adding daughter Megan said her father had been healthy “up until the very end.”

The New York Post

Though he called many games in his career, one game in particular stands above the rest. Game four of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs was against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

The Blue Jackets came from behind, sending the game into overtime, where they ended up winning. This victory would later be remembered as one of the most memorable moments in Cole’s career.

Cole began his hockey broadcasting career on VCOM radio in St. John’s, Newfoundland. In 1969, Bob moved to television when Hockey Night in Canada expanded its coverage. Cole was appointed as the lead play-by-play announcer for Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, where he typically covered Toronto Maple Leafs games. 

Throughout his tenure with the Maple Leafs from 1980 to 2008, Cole broadcasted at least one game of the Stanley Cup Finals each year.

As well as his work in the NHL, Cole also called many Olympic games, including the gold medal game from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, which was between Canada and the United States. 

The viewership for this game totaled 10.6 million viewers, surpassing the previous record for the most-watched CBC Sports program, which was held by Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals with 4.957 million viewers.

In 1996, Cole was honored in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence. In 2022, he received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th Canadian Screen Awards.

Rest in peace!

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