I’m still no fan of the way Rogers has treated Bob Cole, but at least there’s been a wee bit of good news on that front. He’ll be sticking around to call an additional six games, winding things up on the final Saturday night of the season by calling Leafs vs. Canadiens. I still wish he was doing the playoffs, but this is about as close to as it should be as we could have hoped for.
Bob Cole was never going to go out quietly. That wouldn’t be his way.
But as the clock was ticking down on his 50 years as the voice of hockey in Canada, he thought the end was coming a week from Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
But then Scott Moore was pushed out as boss of Rogers Sportsnet and Cole’s farewell tour, orchestrated by his employers, was suddenly extended by six games — with the perfect ending for the brilliant broadcaster, the last Saturday of the regular season, Hockey Night In Canada, Toronto at Montreal.
What could be better than that?
“Whenever it ends, it ends,” said Cole in a lengthy telephone interview. “We had it finalized, then it wasn’t finalized.
“I never wanted to make a big deal of any of this. I never wanted a (farewell tour) of any kind. All this attention is kind of crazy to me. It’s not me. I’ve never been one of those guys who knew how many games he’d done or kept any records of those kind of things. I just liked what I did and I loved the games and I still love them and love doing them.
“I never thought about how long I would do this job or when retirement was coming or counted the days to retirement. But I’ve been humbled the last while, the way people have reacted all across Canada.”
He doesn’t want any good-bye parties or pity parties. In fact, he wishes he wasn’t going anywhere at all.
Retirement wasn’t his idea. It was pushed on him, almost taken away, and then there were so many good feelings that it was extended.
“All I do is go to work and I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” said Cole. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel when it’s all over. If I had my way, I’d just keep on working.”
If you have time, read the whole story. I especially enjoyed the part about how he got his start, even though something like it could almost certainly never happen today and that makes me a little sad. I’m not sure who the modern equivalent of Foster Hewitt would be, but no way in hell you’re talking your way anywhere close to the guy let alone spending two hours in his office getting compliments and advice.