Southern California

LA Kings Honor Longtime Broadcaster Bob Miller Ahead of His Retirement

Miller will call the 3,353rd game of his Kings career Sunday

The Los Angeles Kings held "Bob Miller Appreciation Day" at Saturday's game at Staples Center to honor their longtime television play-by-play broadcaster, who is retiring following Sunday's season finale.

"I just wanted to say all of you, I appreciate your loyalty and enthusiasm for the Kings team and your passion for the Kings and the sport of hockey and the NHL,'' Miller told the capacity crowd of 18,230 following the Kings 3-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I have truly enjoyed my association with all of you, getting to meet you, getting to find about all of you and sharing stories about your enthusiasm and your loyalty to this Kings team. Let's win again tomorrow. That would be a great way to end this." 

Miller will call the 3,353rd game of his Kings career Sunday, when the team concludes the season by playing the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Miller made his comments to the crowd from the Staples Center ice after participating in the Kings players annual "Jerseys Off Their Back" ceremony at the end of the game.

He presented a special Bob Miller jersey with the number 44, referring to his 44 seasons with the team, and Bob on the back the entire team wore during pregame warmups to the winner of a drawing. 

Those jerseys were auctioned off during the game by the Kings Care Foundation.

Saturday's game was the 78-year-old Miller's first since Jan. 16. He suffered a mild stroke on Jan. 28, hours before he was scheduled to work a live broadcast of the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Miller announced his retirement March 2.

"Due to four separate health incidents the last year, quadruple bypass heart surgery, a transient ischemic attack, a mild stroke and a stent placed in my left carotid artery, and with doctor's advice to slow down, it's time for me to retire," Miller said when he announced his retirement.

The tributes to Miller included a pregame Fan Fest outside Staples Center where fans could sign a special 20-foot "Signature Wall" and leave personal messages.

All fans in attendance received a "Thank You Bob" cheer card. The backside of the card included a special letter from Miller.

Multiple interior and exterior atmosphere and decor elements were changed to read "Thank You Bob," including the large City View Terrace banner.

Several testimonial videos were played throughout the game. Tribute videos were played to start the game and third period and midway through the third period, with retired Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully among those paying tribute to Miller.

Miller became a hockey announcer in 1968, when the program director at his radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, told him he would be announcing a University of Wisconsin game the following Friday because it was the school's only team to win consistently and draw standing-room-only crowds.

Miller first sought to be hired by the Kings in 1972, when the team's original announcer, Jiggs McDonald, left for the expansion Atlanta Flames.

Legendary Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn recommended Miller for the job, but team owner Jack Kent Cooke hired California Golden Seals announcer Roy Storey.

When Storey was fired after one season, Hearn again recommended Miller, with Cooke going along that second time.

There was a benefit to the one-season delay in joining the Kings. Staying at Wisconsin, he broadcast the Badgers during their 1972-73 NCAA championship season.

Miller waited 39 years to broadcast another title-winning team, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, which they won again in 2014.

Miller's honors include the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, given to members of the television and radio industries for outstanding contributions to their profession and hockey, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and membership in the halls of fame of the Kings and Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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