Mike Lange retiring
The Pittsburgh Penguins organization has had some of the greatest hockey players to ever play the game don their jersey, including past stars like Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. Currently, the Penguins have at least two stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that will both eventually be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame when they retire.
However, on Monday the team said goodbye to another legend after 46 years. Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange announced that he has decided to call it quits on doing play-by-play after an illustrious career.
The 73-year-old took a step back last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he did return at the end of the campaign to call two regular-season games, as well as games 1 and 5 of the Penguins’ first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders.
“As many of you know, I have been cutting back on game broadcasts the last few seasons. This year was difficult with the pandemic, but I was still able to broadcast a limited few, which was important to me,” said Lange in a statement released on Monday.
“That marked 50 years of broadcasting professional hockey – four in the Western Hockey League and 46 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That was pretty special for me. I didn’t get cheated in my quest to do what I have always loved. The Penguins have asked me to continue to add commentary and voice work on a limited basis to the current radio set-up and I look forward to staying involved. In the meantime, the best consolation to stepping away is knowing that the broadcast couldn’t be in better hands with the very talented Josh Getzoff, and the Ole ’29-er, Phil Bourque.”
While Lange has announced that he will no longer be doing the Penguins’ play-by-play calls that he is so famous for, he did say that he would remain as part of the Penguins Radio Network making various appearances during Penguins programming. Lange has become a valuable member of the Penguins community and they do not want to lose him entirely.
“Mike is a broadcasting legend, not just in Pittsburgh, but in all of sports,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said in a statement, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He is respected and admired by all, including our ownership, players, and management and executive team. Mike’s clever phrases and goal calls are synonymous with the most iconic moments in Penguin’s history. Although he is stepping away from the booth, he remains a huge part of the Penguins family and we look forward to hearing his voice for years to come.”
Lange started off with the Penguins during the 1974-75 season before leaving for a year and returning for the 1976-77 season. While Lange started by doing radio exclusively, he quickly became the television voice of the Penguins as well in 1979 right through to the 2005-06 campaign.
Lange may have never played a game for the Penguins, but he is a club legend nonetheless and one whose voice fans will miss hearing on a nightly basis.