Lange retires as voice of Penguins after 46 years

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Mike Lange retired as play-by-play radio announcer of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Lange was the voice of the Penguins for 46 years. He called Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup wins in 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016 and 2017 and was given the Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasting from the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 thanks to his unique style and trademark phrases including, “Slap me silly, Sidney,” “Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too,” and, “And Elvis has just left the building.”

“There are so many people to thank along the way,” Lange said. “From the terrific personnel at the arena all these years, ownership including the smaller investors who took a chance on this franchise, players who make it all possible and the management and all the staff members who are so memorable to me. I am very grateful for the chance to meet and work with you over the years. And to the fans: what a trip we had together. So many contributing to the broadcasts and listening night after night. Always made me ‘Smile Like a Butcher’s Dog.’ God Bless.”

The 73-year-old will remain with the Penguins Radio Network.

He missed most of last season out of an abundance of caution during the coronavirus pandemic but returned to work with analyst Phil Bourque to call two home games at the end of the regular season and Games 1 and 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the New York Islanders. Pittsburgh lost the best-of-7 series in six games.

“As many of you know, I have been cutting back on game broadcasts the last few seasons,” Lange said. “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.

“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 setup and I look forward to staying involved.”

Josh Getzoff will take over radio play-by-play duties for the Penguins. He’s called road games the past three seasons and home games in Lange’s absence the past two.

“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,” Lange said.

Lange started with the Penguins in 1974-75, leaving for one season and returning in 1976-77. He did radio exclusively until 1979, when games were simulcast on radio and television. He was the TV voice of the Penguins through 2005-06 before returning to the radio booth in 2006-07. Lange also was the play-by-play voice for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball in 1986-87.

“Mike is a broadcasting legend, not just in Pittsburgh but in all of sports,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said. “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.”

A native of Sacramento, California, Lange earned a degree in broadcasting from Sacramento State University. He began his broadcasting career calling games for Phoenix of the Western Hockey League in 1970. He did play by play for San Diego in the WHL in 1973-74 and Washington of the North American Soccer League before joining the Penguins.

The press box at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh was named the “Mike Lange Media Level” in 2019.

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