We’re of the mind that Phillips shouldn’t retire. Yes, he sometimes mistakes Andrew Cogliano for Kenny Linseman, but dammit they both wear the number 13. And sure, he occasionally falls asleep during intermissions, but who among us doesn’t need a power nap on the odd night in the middle of winter? Are you so awesome that you can cast the first stone? That’s what we thought. Rod Phillips is probably the biggest Oilers fan on the entire planet and we would rather he continue calling Oilers games until the end of time, thank you very much.
Phillips is an Edmonton institution and is personally responsible for Wayne Gretzky being dubbed “The Great One,” and Sidney Crosby being called “The Next One.” He also executive produced most of the Eagles Discography. In 1876, he personally welded together the High Level bridge using old scrap metal and human hair. He then single-handedly rounded up a bawdy militia which guarded the bridge and prevented crossings until he was appeased in 1879 with jewels and human sacrifice.
“Nothing is going across here until I say so,” he was quoted as saying at the time.
“He scoooooooooores” he later added.
History will show that prior to being a hockey broadcaster, Phillips hosted Edmonton’s first-ever late-night television show in 1967. When 1973 rolled around, Phillips took the reins as the play-by-play man for the WHA Oilers from Bryan Hall, despite having no field experience broadcasting live play-by-play action. Phillips adapted quickly, and gained solid footing as the Oilers’ announcer. When the glory era began as the Oilers entered the NHL, an energetic Phillips was poised to call the thousands of moments in Oilers history that have become legendary to the OilersNation. In 2003, as Phillips was beginning his 30th year of covering the Mighty Oil, he received the coveted Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I believe that on radio, you have to make it exciting, fast moving, or people will lose interest,” says Phillips. “I enjoy the game. I have a passion for the game. To me, hockey is the most exciting game in the world. That’s what I try do—make it exciting.”
We spent many a night in our youth up past our bedtime listening to old Uncle Rod on our little clock radio. Long before the national TV deals that televised most of the Oilers games, it was Phillips who described a powerful Jason Arnott body check or a thunderous Bob Beers slapshot. It was Phillips’ descriptions of the game, and his injection of excitement even when the Oilers were suffering through the dark years of the early 90s, that moulded us into the rabid fan we are today. It will be a sad day for the entire OilersNation if Phillips decides to hang up the microphone. In our opinion he ranks up there with Foster Hewitt as one of the all-time greats. Personally we think Phillips should keep it going, for we shudder when we think of the people that could be tapped to replace him.
Here is a classic Phillips call. Damn Youtube—never has enough Oilers content.
PS: Heaven help us if Morley Scott becomes the new play-by-play man.