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He shoots, he scores: Foley's return to Blackhawks official
By Ted Cox | Daily Herald Staff

Pat Foley

 

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Published: 6/17/2008 12:13 AM

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The Blackhawks already have brought back Bobby Hull as a gesture of good will to their fans, but Monday they did something similar with even more of a day-to-day impact.

In a move that had been expected for weeks, if not months, the Hawks announced that the popular Pat Foley will be returning as the team's TV play-by-play man.

With the Hawks' expanded TV schedule on Comcast SportsNet and Channel 9, Foley will do all games in high definition alongside color analyst Eddie Olczyk.

"It's a new day in the new era for the Chicago Blackhawks," said team president John McDonough in making the announcement at the United Center. "His voice is synonymous with Blackhawks hockey, and it resonates loudly to our entire fan base."

Indeed it does. Foley was born and raised in the Northern suburbs and attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette. He was in all ways the heir to longtime Hawks announcer Lloyd Pettit, whose "shot and a goal" call evolved into Foley's distinctive, "He shoots, he scores!"

Yet, after 26 years with the Blackhawks, Foley spent the last two years in inexplicable exile with the Chicago Wolves after he was replaced by Dan Kelly and John Wiedeman when the team split its radio-TV simulcast.

Wiedeman will remain alongside Troy Murray as the team moves to WGN 720-AM next season, but Kelly was let go after last season, paving the way for Foley's return.

It wasn't that Kelly did anything wrong; it was that he wasn't Foley, and the team finally realized that. Foley's return is just the latest in several moves undoing past flawed policies since Rocky Wirtz took over last year after the death of his father, Bill.

Foley, to his credit, never bad-mouthed the Hawks, even as he expressed being mystified by the move.

"It's certainly a day I never could have expected would happen," Foley said Monday at the United Center. "I've not set foot in this place since I left, but it feels great to be back."

Foley praised the Wolves, whom he did games for the last two years on Comcast Cable. He said it was "a blessing" to remain in town.

He also lauded the Hawks and McDonough for the way they handled his return by first contacting Wolves chairman Don Levin.

"It was aboveboard, it was first-class, it was the way things should be done," Foley said.

"It was the Wolves' privilege to have Chicago's Hall of Fame hockey broadcaster call our games," Levin said in a statement. "We are particularly proud to have given him the opportunity to broadcast the first championship-winning game for his team in 27 years of broadcasting. Personally and professionally, I wish him the chance to do it again soon."

"The last two years have been terrific," Foley said. "The next few years have the possibility to be even better.

"I gave this franchise many of the best years of my life, and now I'm ready to give them many of my worst," the self-deprecating Foley said.

But clearly he and the Hawks both are hoping the best is soon to come with the team on the ascent.