Al Michaels’ Hockey Resume Pre-1980 Was Less than Impressive

That call still makes the hair stand on the necks of hockey fans who saw it tape delayed on a cold night in 1980, and does the same to dorky kids who had never seen it until they saw “Miracle” or looked it up on YouTube.  It is one of the most memorable moments in the history of Television, and it is thanks to Al Michaels’ call.  Michaels, as it turned out, had called little hockey before this.

How little?  Try one game, as he explained in an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that will air on Tuesday.  Via Neil Best of Newsday, who has the transcript of the interview:

MICHAELS: “And because I announced that one hockey game, by the time we fast forward to 1980 and they’re making assignments out for Lake Placid, well, let’s see. ‘Keith Jackson has done no games. Frank Gifford has done no games. Howard Cosell has done no games. Chris Schenkel has done no games. Al Michaels has done one game. We’ll put him on hockey.’ And that’s how I wind up with a hockey assignment.”


MICHAELS: “Dumb luck. Absolutely. You look back and go, ‘If that didn’t happen, what happens?’ If I don’t wind up doing that one hockey game, which is one more than any other announcer on the staff at ABC, do I get the hockey assignment in Lake Placid? Probably not. I’m doing the biathlon. And there were no miracles out on the biathlon course that year.”

Heh.  You can’t make this stuff up sometimes.  Michaels didn’t do too much hockey after words, save an Olympics here or there.  He did return to call NHL action in 1994 when ABC experimented with a regional NHL package, and hosting the Stanley Cup Finals from 2000-2002.  We’re curious to see if Michaels returns to Olympic Hockey in 2010, though we’re doubtful he’ll want to after a long football season.



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