Rod Phillips last call tonight Vs. Kings
ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
The best way for Oilers fans to show their appreciation tonight might be to stay home.
|Rod Phillips (EDMONTON SUN FILE)
The place to be when the Los Angeles Kings meet Edmonton is in front of the radio tuning in the last call from legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Rod Phillips.
After 37 seasons and 10 hand-picked farewell calls, this is it. After this, Rod’s off into the sunset.
Phillips says he doesn’t know how he’ll sign off his final broadcast, only that it’ll be an emotional moment.
“I’m going to do the game like it’s a regular game because that’s what it is,” he said. “I just want to focus on the game and do the best I can and at the end of it, there are no guarantees, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“I hope that I’m able to remain a little bit sane and coherent. I know it’s going to be emotional.”
Phillips originally planned on hanging up his microphone at the end of last season, but the organization talked him into coming back for 10 games against some of Edmonton’s most storied playoff rivals, including Calgary, Montreal, the Islanders, Boston and Philadelphia. He says the farewell tour was a perfect send off.
“I thought it would be kind of a nice way to end my career,” he said. “It’s been fun because all the road games that I did, my wife was able to be with me. She saw some cities she’s never seen before.
“I took her to some of the greasy bars that you all know about, showed her what we did on our off nights, a couple of good restaurants. The 10 games this year have been like a holiday, kind of a fun experience. I appreciate the Oilers giving me the opportunity to do it.”
When he first signed on all those years ago, Phillips barely knew the difference between a head set and a hockey helmet, and wouldn’t have dreamed in a million years that he’d be as much a part of Edmonton’s glory days as the players themselves.
“When I first started out I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking 37 years down the road, I was thinking about trying to get through the next five minutes of the first period.”
Head coach Tom Renney says Phillips is to broadcasting what 99 was to hockey.
“He’s a special guy. Rod in his own way epitomizes what winning looks like, what commitment looks like, and loyalty. He’s outstanding at what he does. He has his own unique signature to his work.
“If we’re talking abut the talent of Wayne Gretzky, maybe we should be talking about the talent of our former play by play man.”
Rod Phillips by the numbers