Broadcaster Bob Miller, whose vivid descriptions of the Kings’ struggles and triumphs have made him the soundtrack of local hockey fans’ lives for 44 seasons, is expected to announce Thursday that he will retire from his play-by-play duties.
Miller, 78, suffered a mild stroke during All-Star weekend festivities in Los Angeles in January, a year after he had undergone quadruple bypass surgery. His heart operation led him to work a reduced schedule this season and to limit his travel, but even a lighter workload appeared to tax him. He was hospitalized for several days following his stroke and has since been recuperating at his West Hills home.
The Kings issued a news advisory Tuesday saying Miller would host a news conference Thursday to make “a major announcement regarding his future plans,” but a club spokesman declined to specify the nature of the announcement.
In that news advisory Miller said, “I have received a lot of inquiries about my health situation and I appreciate the concern. I think it’s time to bring everyone up to date on my progress and what’s ahead in my future.”
Miller, who was honored with a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, is likely to maintain a connection to the Kings’ organization in some capacity, and to the extent he feels comfortable for as long as he wants to be involved. He was given a lifetime contract in 1998 in celebration of his 25th anniversary with the club.
The Kings hired an array of announcers to fill in for him earlier this season and recently brought in Ralph Strangis, a former play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Stars, to work alongside Miller’s broadcast partner of 27 seasons, TV analyst Jim Fox.
Although not as widely known in the sports broadcasting world as Vin Scully, who retired a few months ago after completing his 67th season with the Dodgers, Miller was held in similarly high regard by Kings fans and throughout the hockey world.
Because so many of the team’s followers wanted to hear his call of the Kings winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 2012 rather than hearing the words of the national network announcers, the Kings arranged for him to record a play-by-play of the clinching game against the New Jersey Devils and used it on a DVD and for promotional purposes.
“This is for you, Kings fans, wherever you may be,” he happily shouted over the din of the Staples Center crowd. “The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the Kings of the National Hockey League.”
He also recorded his version of the clinching game of their 2014 victory over the New York Rangers.
In addition to his Hockey Hall of Fame honor, Miller has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and is a member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the California Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, the press box at Staples Center is named for him and a photo of him is featured near its entrance.
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