A deep voice of approval
The Hockey Hall of Famer's eyes are dimmer these days, the result of macular degeneration. It requires an effort -- willingly made -- to read the newspaper with a magnifier or to catch Bruins games by sitting right in front of the TV. But there's nothing wrong with his ears.
And listening to WBZ Radio's Dave Goucher do Bruins play by play brings a smile to the Hall of Famer's face. It also evokes the fond memories of the three decades (1964-94) in which he called the games from his perch in the broadcast booth at Boston Garden.
Yes, Bob Wilson, one of the Bruins' two Hall of Fame broadcasters (Fred Cusick is the other), is a big Goucher fan.
"He certainly has the voice," said Wilson. "He sounds like a hockey guy. You know we hockey guys are a little different from normal people. For this stage in his career, he's excellent. And the way he works at the job, he's only going to get better."
Goucher first met Wilson four years ago at the team's annual training camp luncheon.
"Bob was there that day, and I introduced myself," said Goucher. "We had lunch and talked for a while. Right from then, Day 1, he's been great and treated me with respect."
They've chatted regularly ever since.
"I invited him up to the house [Gilford, N.H.] at training camp this summer," said Wilson. "When he made the drive up, I knew he was serious about talking with me. I'm proud of the way he's handled the job."
Goucher grew up in Pawtucket, R.I., within walking distance of McCoy Stadium and within "listening distance" of Wilson and "viewing distance" of Cusick. "I played hockey from age 5 right through high school," he said, "and followed the Bruins religiously."
After graduating from Boston University, where he succeeded Sean Grande as the hockey voice of the Terriers, Goucher landed his first pro job in Wheeling, W.Va. After two seasons, he heard the Providence Bruins were looking for an announcer. He landed the job -- and an opportunity to come home.
In Providence, he met Don Orsillo, then working the Pawtucket Red Sox in summer and Springfield Falcons (AHL) in winter.
"We'd go to dinner together and ask each other, `Are we ever going to be able to make it to the big leagues?' " said Goucher. In June 2000, Goucher got the Bruins' job at WBZ; four months later, Orsillo got the call from NESN to do the Red Sox.
"What are the odds of that?" Goucher asks. "Two guys moving to the majors is amazing, but for both of us to work at our dream job for the hometown team is off the charts."
The Hall of Famer knows all about Goucher's trip.
"It's tough to be that close, working games less than an hour from Boston," said Wilson. "You come up and see the big club play and you're dying to announce them. You wonder if you're doing the right thing, but you never want to let go of the dream."
During his five-year stay with the Providence Bruins, Goucher called the Baby B's Calder Cup championship season (1998-99). "At whatever level, the most you could ask for is the opportunity to broadcast for a team that wins the Cup," he said.
Another benefit from a minor league announcing stint is the relationships. Goucher considers Peter Laviolette, who coached that Providence team before moving to the NHL, a good friend. Same with the players who came through Providence in those years.
"We all were after the same thing, an opportunity to advance to the highest level," said Goucher. "Our goal was the NHL. You cross paths with a lot of different guys all with the same dream."
This spring, the dream has continued for Goucher and Bob Beers with the first-round Bruins-Montreal series.
"As a player or announcer, you want to be part of the games that mean a lot. I'm hoping the Bruins make this a big playoff run," said Goucher.
Unlike with TV, the hometown radio broadcasters call games right through the Stanley Cup finals.
Goucher and Beers hope they'll be working for a long time this season.
The Hall of Famer understands that, too.
Attention to detail is Job 1 in Foxborough. Patriots vice chairman Jonathan Kraft had the "All-Access" cameras used for Channel 5's weekly show and the team's webcasts film material all season in case a DVD set would be needed after a Super Bowl victory. Two years ago, the "3 Games to Glory I" was a reaction to the team's Super Bowl win. This time around, "3 Games to Glory II," is a slick, preplanned, two-DVD work with six hours of information, including every play from the three postseason games right through the championship parade. Also included are the coaches' meetings, Bill Belichick's postgame address to the team after each game in the 15-game winning streak, plus five minutes of highlights from each of those games, including Belichick explaining why certain plays worked. The team is planning a gala premier Thursday with the set going on sale Friday . . . Today is Patriots Day -- both on the calendar and on the NFL Network, which will air Patriots highlights from noon-6 p.m. . . . ESPN has Sox-Yankees (ESPN, 11 a.m.) and the Marathon (ESPN2, 11:30 a.m.) today. Bruins-Montreal Game 7 (ESPN, 7 p.m.) makes it a triple play, although the game is on NESN locally.
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