The universe is dynamic. It cannot be argued otherwise. Our example today; Kurt Haider is moving from UAA to the Aces. For 19 years, Kurt has been a light in a sometimes dark Seawolves hockey tunnel. His calm energy and prescence as our play-by-play man has been the one constant over those years that we fans came to depend upon.
I watched a boatload of NHL playoffs this season for the first time in a long time. The best part of the last six weeks has been having the honor to listen to the best play-by-play man in hockey call the game: Mike "Doc" Emrick. I often have ideas for posts that never make it to the page. Mostly, because I end up deciding that you guys probably don't want to hear every thought I have. Two weeks ago, I was so enthralled with Doc Emrick's work on the telly that I considered a post singing his praises. One of the ways in which I thought I might format such a post would be to list my all-time favorite hockey announcers.
The list would have gone like this ... #1-Doc Emrick ... #2-Kurt Haider ... #3-Joe Starkey. I would have explained why Brian Engblom is my favorite color guy but I really just wanted to say how Doc was a generational asset to the NHL and that's he's already a legend ... and holy crap did he put in a boatload of air miles in the last 3 weeks.
Kurt Haider is UAA's Doc Emrick. During some of the less than bright days of UAA Hockey, Kurt was THE ever-present familiar voice that we UAA fans could brag about. He simply was THE BEST play-by-play announcer ever in the WCHA. There were bigger markets in the WCHA than Anchorage and some of those teams had real nice quality announcers. None of them though could hold a candle to Kurt.
This isn't my bias speaking here ... Kurt always did his homework. He spent the necessary time before a game to make sure he knew the correct pronunciation and number of every opposition player. Rarely (if ever) did a wrongly pronounced name come out of Kurt's mouth. And to his credit, he never came across like a homer and nearly every other radio/tv guy in the league did come across that way.
I'm proud to have had the pleasure of a loose association with Kurt since I started the blog. He even put me on the air once (prerecorded of course since I can be a loose cannon at times)! I definitely consider Kurt a friend and I hope he feels the same way. A couple of years ago when I was ::MAD::MAD::MAD:: about another poor season ... I included a little rant about Kurt and David in some article or comment either here or over at USCHO's Fan Forum. They'd had a short discussion about the Seawolves during the last regular season series and I thought they'd been too negative.
I know they both read it. I know they both didn't like that I'd committed those thoughts to perpetuity. I think I apologized to Kurt but I remember that I said something along the lines of he was a big boy and should take the criticism. It was an inelegant apology for two guys who have nothing but the same sort of love for the program as I. I'm sorry I said whatever it was and I'm sorry I didn't atone well for the transgression.
I'll definitely miss Kurt. I'll be interested to see how they move forward with a replacement. Hockey play-by-play is a bit of an art form. I have no idea how they'll fill this massive void. Anyone who steps into Kurt's huge effing shoes is going to have a tough time filling them.
My favorite story about Kurt is that back in 2007 if you did a Google image search for Kurt Haider the very first image returned was THIS ONE (now it's like 8th or something).
I'd used that image for a post where I'd interviewed Kurt and I couldn't find a picture of him anywhere on the internet. I always imagined Mrs. Haider doing an image search for her man and Google showing her that pic. Good times. I recycled that picture in 2011 when Kurt submitted a post from the WCHA Final Five for our enjoyment.
Please comment with your favorite Kurt Haider stories. Best of luck to you Kurt. Thanks so much for reading here and contributing. I guess I'll be listening to an Aces game or two this season for the first time ever.