CALGARY – His name is synonymous with hockey, and his voice is one heard in thousands of homes throughout Alberta – but sportscaster Peter Maher has announced his retirement.
Maher has been the ‘voice of the Flames’ for radio broadcasts since 1981, shortly after the team moved to Calgary, and during their Stanley Cup win in 1989.
He officially announced his retirement during a 10 a.m. news conference at the Saddledome on Tuesday, saying, “it’s better to leave something you love too early rather than too late.”
“I’ve been blessed to not miss an NHL play-by-play assignment after over 3100 games. For that, I’m grateful.” says Maher.
“My thanks to the Flames, who are near and dear to my heart and always will be,” says Maher.
“The game of hockey and the Flames have been so good to me, words cannot express,” he added.
Maher’s broadcasting career includes several highlights, such as his induction into the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame as a media honouree in November of 2006, and winning the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.
He worked as the voice of the Vancouver Olympics hockey broadcast for Sportsnet in 2010.
He’s known for his two catch-phrases “yeah baby” and “you can put it in the win column” which he hollered after every Flames victory.
In closing at his news conference, Peter Maher says fans can think of him at the August 4th Rod Stewart concert at the Saddledome, when the star performs “Forever Young.”
Sportsnet analyst Eric Francis worked alongside Maher for years, and says it’s sad to see him go.
“There’s something so soothing about hearing his voice, that wonderful voice of his,” says Francis. “It’s the end of an era.”
“He’s such a humble and gentle man,” says Francis. “And a man full of class.”
Francis describes watching young hockey players come to the Saddledome and meet the iconic broadcaster for the first time.
“When Peter Maher goes up to them in the dressing room, and says ‘can I have a couple minutes of your time,’ some of them – who are familiar with Peter Maher, and work and grew up listening to him – their eyes just light up,” explains Francis. “Like for them, that’s one of those big league moments when they realize ‘I’ve actually arrived.’”
“In a business full of bluster, he was very understated, very classy, just went about his business and did a darn good job doing it every single night,” says Francis.
Program Director at Sportsnet 960 The Fan Kelly Kirch shared stories of working with Maher, and how many charity events he helped out at.
“There are so many young broadcasters who look up to Peter Maher,” said Kirch.
Fans show support for veteran broadcaster over social media
When news of his retirement broke on Monday night, friends, fans and colleagues took to social media to show their support for the iconic sportscaster, many using the hashtag #YeahBaby