The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 Sunday in a critical game at Rogers Arena that could go a long way to catapulting the Canucks into a Western Conference playoff spot.
At least, that’s what the team’s public address announcer, Al Murdoch, told the team’s fans on his social media feed.
The Port Moody resident who has been calling goal scorers and penalized players as the PA announcer at Rogers Arena since 2011, is trying to lighten the stress and anxiety of fans denied their hockey fix because of the current COVID-19 pandemic that has suspended virtually all sporting activity across North America by posting a daily goal announcement to his Twitter feed (@ALMURDOCH).
Happy these @Canucks goal announcements are putting a smile on your face during these uncertain times. Getting a ton of requests & here’s the top one from today @bohorvat #canucks #bohorvat #misshockey #stayhealthy #weareallcanucks #paannouncer #vo pic.twitter.com/Ji8pNaHBXz— AL MURDOCH (@ALMURDOCH) March 16, 2020
He said the loss of hockey hasn’t been easy on him either since Sunday’s game had promised to be electric as both Vancouver and Winnipeg are battling to get into the post-season and are currently tied in the standings.
“I miss doing the announcements,” Murdoch told The Tri-City News Monday. “The energy from the crowd, the loudness of the crowd — it makes my job a lot more fun.”
It was during a walk around Buntzen Lake with his family Sunday afternoon, when Murdoch would otherwise have been preparing for the game, that he realized he didn’t have to keep his booming voice quiet.
So he went into his home studio and recorded a short video of his announcement for a hypothetical goal by ’Nucks sensation Elias Pettersson, assisted by J.T. Miller and red-hot rookie Quinn Hughes. He even punctuated the goal call with a loud buzzer and flashing red light.
Murdoch said the reaction on social media was instantaneous and overwhelmingly positive.
“People were saying, ‘I really needed this now,’” he said. “They needed a little levity.”
Murdoch, who also does professional voice work for clients all over the world, said he’s going to keep doing a call a day to help Canucks fans through their withdrawal and distract them from their pandemic worries.
And he’s taking requests — although he’s only going to make calls from his own era at the microphone as he wants to respect the work of his predecessors, including John Ashbridge, Tom Peacock and John McComb.
Murdoch said most of the requests he has received so far have been to hear the scoring heroics of the Canucks’ current crop of young stars, including Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat, who’ve propelled the team to the brink of the playoffs for the first time in five years. He said the possibility that achievement may be denied by the COVID-19 crisis stings.
“It’s tough to stop the season but I know there’s a bigger picture here,” Murdoch said, adding, “Once we get back to normalcy, everything else will come back.”
Including real goals, which Murdoch will announce in his booming voice at Rogers Arena, not his Port Moody basement.
• To catch Al Murdoch’s daily goal calls, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/almurdoch.