It should arrive as no surprise that Dave Goucher’s memories of the best of times in recent Bruins history coincide with yours.
The entire tense and fulfilling run through the 2010-11 Stanley Cup playoffs lingers fondly in his mind, beginning with the comeback from a 2-0 series deficit to the Canadiens in the first round (“I didn’t think they could win four of five, which shows what I know,’’ he says) and the 1-0 Game 7 victory over the Lightning in the conference finals (“One of the best hockey games I have ever seen”).
The Game 7 victory over the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final stands forever at the forefront, of course. So does the delirious aftermath, especially the parade a few days later during a gloriously warm June day.
“There were 2 million people there, and I was fortunate to be on one of those duck boats,’’ said Goucher. “The sheer volume of people was astounding, and the noise was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. The people on Boylston Street, hanging out of trees and windows. To be able to experience that . . . ”
This is where his voice trails off, and perhaps where his memories diverge from ours. Goucher didn’t just experience the joy of the Bruins’ first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years. He narrated it, expertly, as the Bruins radio voice for 17 years (but 16 seasons, since 2004-05 was lost to a lockout).
He didn’t just ride the duck boats. He told Boston, with his pitch-perfect call in the final seconds of the Cup-clinching Game 7, to get them ready.
Goucher is a New Englander, raised in Pawtucket, R.I., and a graduate of Boston University. He often spoke of his admiration for legendary play-by-play voice Bob Wilson and appreciated the magnitude of being a Bruins announcer. His respect for the job came through in his broadcasts, especially in his easy chemistry with analyst Bob Beers. Hockey is notoriously difficult to call on the radio, but their broadcast flowed to the point that they rarely talked over one another.
So in one sense, the news this week that Goucher is leaving to become the television voice of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights shouldn’t have been a surprise. Not only is he very good at his job, but his profile has grown nationally in recent seasons. He called Hockey East games on NBCSN in 2014 and ’15. Last postseason, he called the Ducks-Predators series on Westwood One radio. Knights management was well aware of Goucher’s work.
But in another sense, it does come as a surprise, because of Goucher’s local roots, reputation, and already long run in the role.
So why did he leave?
“I’ve been doing radio for 23 years,’’ he said. “I figured maybe I’m capable of doing some other things. Hopefully this will show an opportunity that I’m able to do that.”
He acknowledged that the chance to call games on television is a significant part of the Knights gig’s appeal, saying he wouldn’t have left for another radio job.
“I want to continue to grow and develop as an announcer,’’ he said. “For me to do that at this stage of my career, television was where I was going to do that best. That said, it was going to take something pretty unique at this stage of the game to get up and go somewhere else. Let’s face it, that job out there was about as intriguing as you’re going to find.”
Goucher, who jokingly confirmed the Knights are not paying him in poker chips, said he has been to the Vegas Strip a few times but has assurances that there’s more substance to the area beyond the familiar neon glitz.
“Talking to people that have spent some time out there, there’s a lot more to Vegas than the Vegas Strip,” he said. “That’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing. And there’s a tremendous excitement around the team. There’s a certain energy to it that’s enticing.”
The response I’ve heard from Bruins fans is overwhelmingly this: They’re happy for Goucher but sad to see him go. He said that jibes with the response he has received, noting that he’s down to roughly 75 unanswered text messages on his phone from people wishing him well.
“I know how much people care about the Bruins and how passionate they are about the Bruins,” Goucher said. “That doesn’t change on my end. I think they realize and hope they realize that it could potentially be the opportunity of a lifetime.
“What makes it easier is that I have had the opportunity to call a Stanley Cup championship. Those opportunities are rare for people who have been in the business twice as long as I have. That’s something I will always cherish.”