Earlier this week, the hockey broadcasting world received some bad news. Jim Hughson, a long-time CBC play-by-play announcer who has done Vancouver Canucks games, is retiring. Hughson has had a broadcasting career with the Canucks for the past 42 years. Throughout those 42 years, Hughson has done a lot of things in the world of hockey broadcasting. Hughson did not only become a household name in Canada but the US as well. But now that Jim is no longer doing Canucks games, how can people remember him as a broadcaster? Here are three ways that you can never forget Jim Hughson as a great broadcaster.
Listen to Jim’s Calls from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final Run
When Canucks fans think of the best seasons in franchise history, the season usually brought up is the 2010-2011 season. That season was special for many reasons. The Canucks would win the President’s Trophy for the first time in franchise history. Daniel Sedin would earn two awards that year and Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider receiving the Williams M. Jennings Trophy. Despite all of that, that year’s Stanley Cup Final run for the Canucks was considered one of the best in recent playoff history. Luckily for Canucks fans, they got to see Jim Hughson cover it all.
Three out of the four rounds that year each had a memorable call by Hughson. It all started with his best call with Alexandre Burrow’s game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game seven of round one. The way that Hughson emoted during Burrow’s goal is always satisfying to watch. Against the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs, the game-tying goal in Game five by Ryan Kesler got him all excited when announcing it. But his most famous call that year was when Alexandre Burrows won game two of that year’s cup final on a quick wraparound goal to put the Canucks up two games to zero in the series.
Hearing him say “Alexandre Burrows has done it again” still can put a smile on any Canucks fan or any fan listening to the call. Even though the Canucks ended up losing the series in seven games, you must appreciate all the hard work they put in. Jim Hughson made that run fun to watch for all Canadians. So if you can, listen to these calls because they are legendary calls.
Being the Play-by-Play Commentator from EA Sports NHL 97 (PC) – NHL 09 (PS2)
Here’s a memory that a lot of us remember as kids. You are an NHL fan and wanted to play the newest NHL title from EA Sports. You go to your local Blockbuster, GameStop, or any other store that had the game. You see the game, and you either purchase it or rent it to play it at home. You put the fun into your console, pick up your controller and begin to play the game. As you’re playing the game, you hear a commentator, and once you score, you hear that voice say, “SCORE.”
That commentator turns out to be Jim Hughson. When Hughson got introduced as the play-by-play commentator in NHL 97 for the PC, he changed hockey video games forever. Jim would continue to be the play-by-play commentator for the EA Sports NHL for the next 11 years on different consoles for all games.
Jim did a fantastic job throughout all those years with the commentary. Jim made the game sound realistic enough to make it feel like you’re playing an NHL broadcast. You can tell how much he had fun with it when he tried to make everything dramatic as he possibly could. Hughson also made the commentary occasionally silly to provide some humor to the game. Alongside Hughson was current Hockey Night in Canada color commentator Craig Simpson.
Simpson would also provide ridiculous commentary to back up Hughson as well. Hughson and Simpson together made EA Sports NHL games fun games to play. Because of the commentary, that helped anyone who lived in the US understand who Jim Hughson is. Jim Hughson’s last NHL game was NHL 09 on PS2. After Hughson left, the new commentator for the game was Gary Thorne. If you want to relieve the days of Hughson, you can get any of these games and play them yourself because this was a lot of nostalgia for many hockey fans.
Hearing Hughson Freak Out Over a Save By Roberto Luongo
When it comes to Canucks players, Jim Hughson certainly has loved many of them throughout franchise history. But perhaps the one player he loves the most out of all the years he’s broadcasted, Roberto Luongo. When Luongo got traded to Vancouver in 2006, he would become their best goalie in franchise history. Luongo is currently the fourth in wins of all time of goalies. Luongo would play on three All-Star teams and win the William M. Jennings trophy, as mentioned earlier.
For the eight years Luongo spent in Vancouver, he would go to the playoffs six out of eight times. Luongo would get his only chance to play in Stanley Cup final appearance in the 2010-2011 season. However, it’s what Luongo does as a goalie that makes Hughson enthusiastic.
When Luongo played as the Canucks goalie, he would make an amazing save that would wow everyone. Whenever this happened, Jim Hughson, who was likely in shock, cried, “GREAT SAVE LUONGO!!” or “WHAT A SAVE BY LUONGO!!” These two reactions have become one of the many reasons people loved Jim Hughson whenever he was doing a broadcast. There are a lot of examples of de him making this empathic call. In the 2009 playoffs against the Blackhawks in game two, Luongo made a diving save to rob Ben Eager. During the 2010 playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings, he made an excellent save on Ryan Smyth and made a goal-line save on Jack Jackson in game one.
In that same series, Luongo made an incredible save on Ryan Smyth in game six. There are many more out there, but with all those saves, you get to hear Jim Hughson be in awe as he’s watching Luongo make those saves. It’s certainly sad that we won’t get to hear Hughson call any more current hockey games. Despite that, Hughson will always be remembered in the hockey broadcasting world as a legend.
Main image credit