The Pittsburgh Penguins radio booth is minus one icon who inspired hundreds of hockey broadcasters who followed his lead with colorful descriptions. Now, millions of Penguins fans will be without Mike Lange doing play-by-play in the radio booth. The Penguins announced Lange, who has been the gravely voiced joy since 1974, is stepping aside as the voice of the Penguins.
I’ll be cow-kicked.
However, Lange will not be leaving to hunt moose on a Harley. According to the team, he will remain with the Penguins radio network.
“Mike is a broadcasting legend, not just in Pittsburgh, but in all of sports,” said Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse. “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 Penguins 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 forwent last season due to COVID and his health issues in recent years. Josh Getzoff handled the radio calls and will assume the duties officially. Phil Bourque will remain the color commentator.
But Pittsburgh sports fans have lost one of the greats, whose unique expressions were featured on ESPN Sportscenter, and his call to end games, “And Elvis has left the building,” permeated pop culture.
Older fans will remember an Elvis impersonator in the late 1980s and early 1990s, who would get up and leave towards the end of Penguins games when the home team scored a clinching goal.
Lange called only home games for three seasons before the COVID campaign. The Hall of Fame broadcaster was honored with a large mural in the Pittsburgh Penguins press box.
“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. 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,” said Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange. “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.”
Older fans will also remember Lange on the radio-TV simulcast. As Mario Lemieux introduced a new fanbase to hockey, Lange was the soundtrack. He introduced new fans to the game through his voice and his incomparable lens. There is a reason the Pittsburgh Penguins have a loyal TV viewing, and PHN will assert it’s because a generation of fans grew up watching Lange on TV, and it became a staple of Penguins fandom long ago.