Language Legends

As copywriters, copyeditors, proofreaders and translators, our heroes are people with a gift for words. In this new regular addition to our blog, we’ll be looking at the men and women whose voices transcend their industries and whose words are quoted, remembered and revered.

 

Rick Jeanneret —The Bellow of Buffalo

No one would consider the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres an “important” team in the league. They don’t have the cache of the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens, the draw of the New York Rangers or the Los Angeles Kings, the success of the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Chicago Blackhawks, or the trendiness of the Edmonton Oilers or the San Jose Sharks.

They made it to the finals in 2000, and all anyone remembers was the controversial winning goal and how Sabres’ fans are still complaining about it.

They’re in last place this year. They were in last place last year. And it looks like they’re going to be in last place next year.

But they have Rick Jeanneret.

Rick Jeannerete in the press box at HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

The NHL’s best announcer

The job of an announcer is to describe the action in a way their audience will appreciate. As a national announcer, this often necessitates objectivity because you’ll have supporters from both sides to appease.

But announcers lucky enough to work for a regional broadcast can be fans. They know who their audiences are rooting for and have the freedom to root alongside them, with the added benefit of creating the sounds of the game for everyone else.

Rick Jeanneret takes full advantage of this fact. He’s unabashedly pro-Sabre and doesn’t care who knows it.

Like Bono, Barack Obama or Sean Connery, Rick Jeanneret has an unmistakable voice. It’s loud and expressive, a tad high-pitched and a lot nasal. But it’s what he does with it night in and night out that puts our jaws on the floor.

Some announcers do it with their mastery of vocabulary. We see that every four years during the FIFA World Cup of Football. Others do it with their insightfulness, and no one does that better than the NFL’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.

Jeanneret does it with his excitement and his ability to create catchphrases on the spot.

You’d think he has them cued up and ready to go, but if you listen closely, you can tell he’s just riffing off-the-cuff. Something magical happens on the ice, and out come these gems.

Jeanneret was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres’ Hall of Fame in 2011, and into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012 as a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

We could go on and on about Rick Jeanneret’s talent or we could just let the man speak for himself. So without further ado…