The Chicago Blackhawks broke a lot of hearts on Wednesday morning with news that was going to come at some point, but has now arrived.
Hall of Famer Pat Foley will call his final season of Blackhawks hockey in 2021-22.
According to the Blackhawks’ release, Foley will call a portion of the upcoming schedule and use the year to pass the torch to his successor. The Blackhawks have begun the search for their next play-by-play broadcaster.
“Listening to the great Lloyd Pettit fostered a love for the Chicago Blackhawks and broadcasting at an early age. To follow in his footsteps and broadcast for the team for nearly 40 years is a dream come true for a Chicago native,” Foley said in the team’s release. “Any kid who eats, sleeps and breathes sports, grows up wanting to play for their hometown team. Thankfully for me, I realized early on that my playing career wouldn’t last beyond intramurals and that broadcasting was the next best thing to staying around the game. I have had conversations with the Blackhawks about my future, and because I cannot guarantee that I would like to continue beyond the length of my contract that ends after next season, they must look ahead. I support and respect their plan to transition the broadcast booth and I’m thankful to the Wirtz family and the Blackhawks for this opportunity.”
These are going to be enormous shoes to fill. Foley has been an institution with the Blackhawks (and Wolves) for decades; this will be his 39th season on the mic.
Foley’s voice has provided the soundtrack to the latest dynasty of Blackhawks’ history but there are so many names fans cannot hear without them being said in Foley’s voice. If not for Foley, who would honestly care about Murray Bannerman?
And how many times did Foley rip Steve Larmer’s name as hard as Larmer did the puck?
Pat Foley is the Chicago Blackhawks. He has been for almost 40 years. And while this is sad news, it was going to come at some point. I’m glad we get a season to appropriately say goodbye to a Chicago institution.