After Thursday night’s victory over the San Jose Sharks, Patrick Kane called Pat Foley the voice of the Blackhawks. And while that’s probably the understatement of the year, it’s still important to say it out loud.
Kane called Foley the soundtrack to his career, which will undoubtedly end with his No. 88 hanging from the rafters at the United Center, but he was so much more than that to all of us. For me, Foley was the soundtrack to my Blackhawks fandom.
I was a casual Blackhawks fan during Foley’s radio days. The berth of my intense Blackhawks fandom (which culminated in my wife and I using the UC’s address (1901 W. Madison St.) to name our daughter, Madison), like Patrick Kane’s career, occurred when Pat Foley was paired with Eddie Olczyk in the Blackhawks TV booth in 2008.
Another sure-fire Hall of Famer, Jonathan Toews, called Pat Foley a “great storyteller” who “pulls no punches.”
“He’s the voice of the Blackhawks. There’s just so many great calls and just who he is as a person. He’s a great storyteller. He just adds that entertainment and that depth to the value of people watching on TV,” Jonathan Toews said about the legendary Pat Foley after Thursday’s morning skate.
“He doesn’t pull punches. He’s not afraid to go after a guy if he hasn’t scored in 15 games or whatever the situation is. We’re going to miss him for sure.”
Riding an eight-game losing streak into Pat Foley’s final call on Thursday night, the Blackhawks, who have struggled to find a reason to play a full 60 minutes of hockey in recent weeks, found a reason to rise to the occasion; that reason was Pat Foley.
Patrick Kane did what he’s done for the last 15 seasons and gave Foley another handful of memorable calls. The tick-tac-toe beauty on the game’s second shift set the tone for the night. The ankle-breaking move that left Jaycob Megna on his butt on the ice. The four-pass beauty in the third period that prompted Foley to proclaim the Harlem Globetrotters had shown up at the United Center.
The Blackhawks coughed up a two-goal lead to the Sharks down the stretch, but was anyone really disappointed that it gave us an overtime period and a shootout called by the legendary voice of the Blackhawks? Was anyone really disappointed that Pat Foley could call one last shootout win thanks to Alex DeBrincat’s goal and one final stop by Kevin Lankinen?
The way that Thursday night played out was perfect for Blackhawks fans who are about to have a significant void in their hockey viewing lives. I promise you no one watching at home was complaining. I can confirm that no one at the United Center was either as the “FOLEY!” chants rang out throughout the United Center after Eddie Olczyk named Foley the game’s first star and Foley delivered one last signature, “HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!”
Foley had this to say to Blackhawks fans on Thursday night:
“It’s been my pleasure and honor to try and serve the greatest fans in the world. So, for Dale Tallon, who built your championship teams. For Billy Gardner, who still shines in Chicago hockey. For Eddie Olczyk, Chicago’s very own who’s the best analyst in sports. And for the great Troy Murray, who is everything you want a Blackhawk to be. This is Pat Foley. Hoping that you enjoy the broadcast … I love ya.”
Well, Pat, just know that we enjoyed the broadcast. Every damn one of them, and while you may be leaving, we love you. I know that I do. Thank you for all of the memories that you made special with your unwavering energy and enthusiasm, and love for the Blackhawks and the fans.