LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Kings broadcaster Bob Miller is retiring after 44 years and 3,351 games as the Hall of Fame play-by-play voice of the team.
The 78-year-old Miller plans to call the Kings' last home game on April 8 against Chicago and their regular-season finale at Anaheim the following night to end his career, he announced Thursday during a news conference at Staples Center.
"I've been very fortunate to have a long career in my chosen profession," Miller said. "This is not the way I wanted it to work out. I really wanted to finish all the games this season."
Miller has dealt with three medical issues over the past two years, including a quadruple bypass in February 2016 and a mini-stroke known as a transient ischemic attack in May. Miller was hospitalized for four days after suffering another mild stroke during the NHL All-Star weekend in January.
While Miller showed no ill-effects while announcing his decision, telling jokes about his lifetime contract with the Kings or the difficulty in pronouncing former Coyotes forward Branko Radivojevic's name, the circumstances surrounding those ailments led him to decide it was time to step away from a sport he first started broadcasting in 1968 while covering the University of Wisconsin.
"In this sport, in my mind, there is no taking it easy," Miller said. "When they drop the puck, you're going. You're on and that's what the fans expect from you and that's the way you want to do the game. You want to be involved in it, you want to be energetic, excited.
"You can't just say, 'I'll do two periods really dull and get excited in the third period.' I knew I wasn't going to be able to take it easy doing the games."
Miller joined the Kings in 1973, covering everything from the "Miracle on Manchester" comeback win in the 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs to Wayne Gretzky's 802nd goal, passing Gordie Howe for most in NHL history.
And while contractual reasons kept Miller from broadcasting the latter round of the Kings' Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014 live, Miller did call the clinching games in both series for later use.
"The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the kings of the National Hockey League," Miller said as the final seconds ticked off in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final against New Jersey.
Miller received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and the Foster Hewitt Award in 2000 for contributions to the game of hockey by a broadcaster, recognized with a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The press box at Staples Center is also named for Miller.
"In Los Angeles we have been very fortunate about the voices that we have had," Kings president Luc Robitaille said.
"You think of the Dodgers, you think of Vin Scully. The Lakers, Chick Hearn. And for us, all hockey fans and especially Kings fans that have so much passion, we've had Bob for 44 years."
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.