No Slowing Down For Hawks Announcer Pat Foley: 'Let's Roll, Baby'

George Ofman
November 05, 2019 - 6:00 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – So, how does someone start an interview with NHL Hall of Famer Pat Foley?  

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Try a Harry Caray impression. It drew that trademark boisterous laugh from the longtime voice of the Blackhawks.

He’s a big fan of the late baseball announcer and has been known to do his own version of Caray while on the job.

“He wound up being a friend of mine later in life,” Foley says. “On my way down to do this interview, I was on the phone with a buddy, and I did a Harry Caray quote.” 

The wildman aspect of Foley is part of his persona. During an interview with WBBM Newsradio’s George Ofman, the 39-year veteran (37 of them with the Hawks) discussed how he manufactured a fabulous career, following in the rather large footsteps of the legendary Lloyd Petitte.

“I would sit at my desk on Sunday nights and underneath the glass where I’m supposed to be doing my homework, there was a diagram of a hockey rink that I drew so I would sit over that picture and listen to Lloyd and try to visualize what was going on. He could paint that picture on the radio.”

During his tenure as voice at Michigan State, Foley had to stop emulating Petitte. 

“I said, ‘A shot and a goal’ and ‘a shot and a save’ the way Lloyd did, and when I listened to the tape I said, ‘Hey kid, that’s his line, you have to figure something else out.’”

He did: “HE SCORES!”

Foley has had the fortune of describing the exploits of such hockey greats as Tony Espositio, Denis Savard, Chris Chelios, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews. But the player that helped make his career was Murray Bannerman, whose name he screeched out after the goaltender made a big save during a game at Minnesota. It became a trademark call.

Foley has also had the pleasure of working with such popular analysts as Dale Tallon, Billy Gardner, Troy Murray, Steve Konroyd and Eddie Olczyk, whom he’s shared a partnership for the last 13-plus seasons.

“I’ve always had the idea I want this to be fun. We want to be informative, but you want it to be enjoyable for the viewer,” Foley said.

Fast forward to today. Has the thought of retirement crossed the mind of the soon to be 66-year-old Foley?

“Only because people are asking me about it now. I don’t have any serious thoughts that way. Still like what I do, so let’s roll, baby.”