He’s not in the Edmonton bubble, but the Vancouver Canucks’ public address announcer is making the best of an extremely strange situation.
Since March — when the NHL suspended its season — Al Murdoch has been brightening people’s days with his personalized goal announcements. He opened up his direct messages on both Instagram and Twitter, and encouraged fans to send in their requests for a personalized goal call.
And more than a few people took him up on his offer.
“Oh my gosh, thousands,” said Murdoch when asked if he could give a rough estimate of how many requests he’s received. “I can’t count them all, but literally, from all over the world. From Bali, to Liechtenstein, to New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and of course all over North America as well.”
“It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and I’ll tell you, a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it was really fun connecting with Canucks fans and hockey fans all over the world. It was really cool and I hope it brought the spirit of hockey back into their lives and maybe put a smile on their face, especially with all the stuff going on.”
But he isn’t done yet.
Much to the delight of fans, Murdoch — wearing his All-Star Game hat and a white Canucks jersey — took to social media to post a goal announcement for Tanner Pearson’s early game two marker, which was also the first goal of the Canucks’ postseason.
“Doing the personalized ones every single day since March 14th, I thought, ‘well, maybe I should just step back’ and then I got so many people asking me ‘are you going to do them when the Canucks and Wild start?'” said Murdoch.
“As more and more of those questions came in, I thought ‘well if people want to see it, I’m watching the game anyway, I might as well do it and see what the reaction is’. And the reaction again, was huge. People were telling me, it’s great to hear your voice again, we wish you were in Edmonton, and so on and so forth. But listen, I think Al Stafford and Mark Lewis, who was the former PA voice of the Oilers for many years are doing a fantastic job. Would I like to be there? Absolutely, but I completely understand. If Vancouver were the hub city, that’d be different, but they’re doing a great job.”
However, Murdoch is still keeping busy with the Canucks’ main productions as well, as he will be featured on the Canucks’ pregame shows that run on their social media platforms, roughly ten minutes before puck drop, they’ll run a brand new intro for the team featuring in arena host Tyson Geick, a countdown video, and cap it off with Murdoch introducing YOUR Vancouver Canucks in that voice that’s oh so familiar for Canucks fans.
“The intros are written by the great Mike Hall, so it was a really collaborative effort. You can watch them on social media, and they’ll also be played in the arena before each game, just to make it feel like the boys are back home,” said Murdoch.
At the end of the day, Murdoch is just hoping to bring a sense of normalcy back into Canucks fans’ lives.
“That was the goal with the personalized announcements and I think it’s the same thing with these ones. I was hoping I’d have a lot more goal announcements on Sunday, but that didn’t happen, so I had to wait until Tuesday night to get those out, but it was pretty cool, Brock’s first goal, Quinn’s first point. It’s fun for me too because it keeps me engaged in the game as well and again, I hope the fans are embracing it as much as I am.”
You can follow Murdoch on Twitter here and Instagram here.