ANALYSIS: Hockey world says goodbye to broadcasting icon Bob Cole

His voice. His style. His passion. You could feel it in every game Bob Cole announced.

Grandparents, parents, and children have all heard the voice of Bob Cole tell stories on Saturday nights. Cole passed away on Thursday, and fans lost a bit of zest for the game.

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No one in our business, in front of the camera, in the booth or behind the scenes, had a better flair for the dramatic than Bob Cole.

He treated the event like that of a great conductor of a symphony orchestra. You also got a tremendous understanding for his knowledge of the game with his sense of anticipation, with a simple change in tone or a quick phrase: “Watch out!” or “Here they come!” or “Oh, baby!”

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Not big words, but emphatic words. The tone and delivery forced you to look up from whatever you were doing and move to the edge of your seat. It was that ability to convey that sense of anticipation, perhaps, that separated Cole from most others, and put him on a level with the greatest: Gallivan, Hewitt, Kelly.

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And if he conducted from the booth, his voice was that of a great entertainer. He knew a big goal in the first minute of the first period is important, but not as important as one in the third. No one in the game had a better sense of drama. His sense of moment was impeccable.

He understood that in the biggest events, on the biggest stage, maybe it was important to say nothing. Bob Cole shouldn’t be in a textbook. Bob was the textbook.

Cole did everything with passion. He was passionate about his family and curling, and Newfoundland, and golf, and hockey. And doing it right. Doing it all right. He loved Frank Sinatra and the New York Yankees. And he loved being a part of Hockey Night in Canada.

No one, absolutely no one,  not the great Danny Gallivan or the equally great Dan Kelly, had the dramatic flair for an event like Bob Cole. Both Danny and Dan were/are at the top of the list of the game’s greatest. They were pure announcers. Their roots in radio came through, even on television.

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And while Cole’s roots were there too, he could marry words to pictures better than anyone. He understood the moment visually, as much as he did audibly.

He was pure television royalty.

Click to play video: 'Bob Cole dead at 90: Hockey broadcasting legend’s love for the game'

Bob Cole dead at 90: Hockey broadcasting legend’s love for the game

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