Mike Tirico has a remarkable broadcasting résumé, with big-time sports coverage particularly in the NFL (calling Monday Night Football from 2006-15), NBA, college football, golf, tennis, and soccer departments. But until Wednesday night, the 52-year-old had never called an NHL game.
Well, Tirico was the play-by-play man for Wednesday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on NBCSN, and fans seemed to enjoy his performance alongside Ed Olczyk.
Tirico’s first goal call came on this score from Chicago’s Artem Anisimov early in the first period:
The first goal of the Mike Tirico hockey play-by-play era. pic.twitter.com/Q5A7bszMmr
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) February 21, 2019
And here’s Tirico’s call of Patrick Kane’s game-winner for the Blackhawks in overtime:
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 21, 2019
That sounds like a natural.
Tirico’s immediate success isn’t exactly surprising, seeing as how he’s been terrific in pretty much any previous play-by-play or studio-hosting role across the sports world. But hockey play-by-play may be the most difficult job in the business, featuring a sport with extremely fast-paced play and difficult names to pronounce from across the globe.
Here are some tweets from viewers impressed with Tirico’s debut:
It's official: there is absolutely no sport Mike Tirico can't call.
— 506 Sports (@506sports) February 21, 2019
Mike Tirico is such a pro that his first hockey broadcast sounds like it should be his 100th. Or more. So smooth.
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) February 21, 2019
Mike Tirico calling hockey is … quite good.
— Greg Rajan (@GregRajan) February 21, 2019
Let’s just find a new sport for Mike Tirico to call every week. He’s rolling on this NHL broadcast.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) February 21, 2019
As much as I enjoy hearing Doc Emerick broadcast hockey games, holy hell is Mike Tirico knocking his first hockey game outta the damn park. Gonna enjoy hearing him do more. Hopefully he'll call one in Nashville.
— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) February 21, 2019
Hard to believe this is Mike Tirico’s first time calling hockey. Sounds like an absolute veteran! @NHLonNBCSports
— Melanie Collins (@Melanie_Collins) February 21, 2019
Mike Tirico making his first NHL call sound far more effortless than the rest of us pretend it is. #respect
— Chris Cuthbert (@CCtsn) February 21, 2019