More than four decades ago, Emrick got his start as a broadcaster calling the second period play-by-play for Bowling Green hockey team as a graduate student.
“I got in 18 periods of experience the first year, and maybe 20 or 22 in the second year because Bowling Green won the CCHA championship at Bowling Green that year,” Emrick said on Wednesday. “There were only four schools in the league at the time, so everyone made the playoffs, and Bowling Green won the championship. So I got some extra second periods in there.”
Those second periods where the first live broadcast experience Emrick, now widely considered hockey’s national voice in the United States, after he had called games into a tape recorder.
He’s going to get another second period of play-by-play this Saturday at 5:07 p.m. EDT when he shares the booth with Bowling Green senior broadcaster Evan Pivnick for a one-game nonconference showdown with Mercyhurst.
“I’ve asked for a throwback to old times, since he is the regular voice anyway, to do the first and third period play-by-play,” Emrick said. “I’ll do the color for first and third, and he’ll take the color in the second period.”
Emrick and Pivnick will be broadcasting the game locally on 88.1 and 100.7 FM in the Bowling Green area. It’s all part of the 50th Anniversary of the Bowling Green Ice Area — now named The Slater Family Ice Arena.
“The arena was four when I first showed up there,” Emrick said. “I’ve only made one visit back to the arena because thanks to Bowling Green, I got a job broadcasting hockey in Port Huron, Mich., as soon as left campus after my course work was done with the doctorate.
“I only got back one before in the past 45 years, so it will be a thrill to actually go through some buildings this time, and see some great Bowling Green players that came after I left and brought an awful lot of glory to the school.”
This weekend means a lot to Emrick. He was originally scheduled to work the nationally-televised game between the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild on Saturday, but quickly cleared his calendar when asked to come back to Bowling Green.
“Our broadcast on Saturday is a celebration of not only the arena itself, but also some of the people that have played there,” Emrick said. “Our goal is also to bring some people up to date some Falcon alums, while we’re bringing people up to date on how the current Falcons are doing against the Lakers.”
It’s an exciting weekend for Emrick, and he’s preparing like he would for any other broadcast.
He’s attending practices for both Bowling Green and Mercyhurst this week, while he plans to sit down with players and coaches from both teams and share their stories.
“That’s where I think a lot of what will remain with people,” Emrick said. “Not the statistics, but what you learn about the individuals that are wearing the equipment and actually out there playing the game. Those are the things that I think are most meaningful.”
Playoff push continues
There are three weeks remaining in the regular season and only three teams so far have clinched playoff berths: Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State.
Bemidji needs just one win this weekend against Alabama Huntsville (or one Tech loss against Ferris State) to wrap up its first-ever MacNaughton Cup as well as home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Beavers can finish no worse than second overall.
Beyond the Beavers, nothing much is settled. Tech is the only team that can catch BSU, as they are 10 points back with 48. However, they need to win out and have the Beavers lose out to have a chance. The Huskies also have yet to wrap up the No. 2 seed: Minnesota State is six points behind them with 42 points.
The Mavericks are idle this weekend and can only clinch home ice for the first round if Alaska (who is 12 points behind them) loses both games of their series against Northern Michigan.
Bowling Green, in fourth place, is just four points behind the Mavericks but because they have just two league games remaining are actually in danger of dropping out of the playoff picture entirely.
Confusing enough for you yet? Here’s one more tidbit:
Alaska has four games in-hand on the Falcons and is eight points behind them. Northern Michigan, currently outside the playoff picture in ninth place, is 13 points back of the Falcons and also has four games in-hand.
As you can see, the WCHA is — at least, aside from the top of the table — once again too close to call.
It’s a fan’s dream: With four league series going on this weekend, everybody has something to play for.
– Alabama-Huntsville has a history of success at home against Bemidji State and will try and play spoiler this weekend. The Chargers are 19-17-3 all-time at home against the Beavers.
– Alaska has won back-to-back games three times this season, but has yet to pull off a weekend sweep. Last weekend the Nanooks were in position to complete the sweep, but fell to Alabama-Huntsville in the second game.
– Alaska Anchorage starts a two-week road swing this weekend to visit Lake Superior State then Ferris State. The Seawolves haven’t won outside the state of Alaska since Jan. 17, 2016 — also at Lake Superior State.
– During last Friday’s game against Michigan Tech, Bemidji State trailed 2-1 going into the third period. Recent history might have suggested the Beavers would not have beaten the Huskies: Before Friday’s game, BSU had gone 70 consecutive games (0-61-9) without a win after trailing through two periods. The Beavers eventually beat the Huskies 4-2, the first game of their series sweep. It was the first time they’d come back to win after being down entering the third period since Feb. 10, 2012.
– Ferris State freshman goalie Justin Kapelmaster now has the second highest save percentage in college hockey at .941. Canisius senior Charles Williams is the only goalie with a better save percentage at .946.
– Michigan Tech saw its nine-game conference point streak come to an end after getting swept by Bemidji State in Bemidji. The Huskies hadn’t lost a conference game in regulation or 5-on-5 overtime since Dec. 2 — also against Bemidji State. The Huskies hadn’t been swept since going 0-4 to start the year against Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State. Tech returns to Houghton this weekend to host Ferris State for its annual Winter Carnival. Tech is 75-45-14 (.617) in Winter Carnival games since 1950.
– Minnesota State’s Marc Michaelis leads all NCAA freshmen with 33 points (12g-21a) and is sixth with an average of 1.10 points-per-game. Michaelis and Lake Superior State’s Max Humitz lead WCHA rookies with 12 goals, tied for the fourth-most nationally.
– Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen has three consecutive shutouts and the Wildcats are riding a 5-0-2 unbeaten streak, the second longest active streak in the NCAA.
Players of the week
Bemidji State’s Kyle Bauman (offensive), Northern Michigan’s Atte Tolvanen (defensive) and Bemidji State’s Tommy Muck (rookie) have been named the WCHA Players of the Week for the games held Feb. 3-4.