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Legendary NHL broadcaster Bob Cole dies at 90

Bob Cole, a broadcaster synonymous with hockey, died this week at the age of 90.

Cole was primarily known for his work on “Hockey Night in Canada,” calling Toronto Maple Leafs games from 1980 until 2019.

He also called several Olympic Games, the World Cup of Hockey and numerous Stanley Cup Finals.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the network for which Cole worked, announced his death Thursday, adding that daughter Megan said her father had been healthy “up until the very end.”

“He’s such a legend, such a great man,” said Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, a Nova Scotia native. “I’ve met him a few times over the years. At charity golf tournaments in Halifax, he’d come out and support Atlantic Canadians. Amazing person, super funny. Just a great guy and obviously some of the best calls of all time.”

Cole was best known for his “Oh baby” call and also when he was so excited that he combined the words “goal” and “score,” to let out a call of “gore” after a Joe Sakic goal for Team Canada in the 2002 Olympics.

Bob Cole before game


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that Cole “made every game he called sound bigger” and “transcended generations by sharing his obvious passion for our game and his stunning talent for conveying hockey’s excitement and majesty with both eloquence and enthusiasm.”

Cole called his first game, on radio, between Boston and Montreal in April 1969 and moved to TV in 1973. He called his last game on April 6, 2019 — the regular-season finale between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs — and in between was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996, winning the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

“The hockey world, we lost a legend,” Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “All the coaches around the league and all the hockey people, they trusted him. He was a true pro. You could tell him anything, and he called a great game.”

Bob Cole at Leafs game

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper called him “the Wayne Gretzky of announcers.”

“I’m going to miss that man. He was a superstar in this sport,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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