Florida Panthers hockey play-by-play voice Randy Moller's goal is to entertain
Friday, January 29, 2010
What do Hannibal Lecter, Kool Moe Dee and Fozzie Bear have in common? If you're a devotee of Florida Panthers hockey on the radio, you'd know right away.
They are just a handful of pop-culture icons play-by-play voice Randy Moller has referenced during his animated calls of Panthers goals, which he punctuates with a signature movie line, song lyric or catch phrase.
Moller, who will call Friday's game against the Capitals in Washington, has turned his madcap, irreverent approach into broadcast legend in South Florida, where he has developed a following that rivals that of the players. A compilation of some of his most uproarious moments has generated more than 330,000 views on YouTube, and that's only Part 1. Parts 2 and 3 have been viewed more than 110,000 times.
A sampling of Moller's greatest hits:
-- "Seidenberg comes in, shot, shoots, and he scooooores! Assist from David Booth, and I think he tipped it right in front, and I just ate his liver."
-- "Bryan McCabe takes the feed from Cory Stillman! This game is tied up at 1! I go to work like a doctor!"
-- "Richard Zednik, I believe is going to get the goal! This game is tied at three! Wocka wocka!"
The only former NHL player to serve as a full-time play-by-play announcer, Moller began interjecting his distinctive comedy into Panthers broadcasts at the beginning of last season, his second as the team's radio voice. The genesis came partly from the Dan Le Batard Show, which serves as the lead-in to Florida hockey radio broadcasts.
Moller had experimented with zany calls at previous stops, and during the handoff to one of those Panthers games, Le Batard asked if Moller would accept offbeat suggestions from callers to use after a Florida goal. At first Moller agreed to do one per game.
"It was just a whim," Moller said in a telephone interview, "and I just said, 'Yeah, no problem.' So the first few were some of the most popular ones like, 'Maaa, the meatloaf,' and 'Wiiil-son,' and 'Run, Forrest, run,' and that kind of stuff."
Those initial calls from "Wedding Crashers," "Cast Away" and "Forrest Gump" became wildly popular on the Internet, and soon Moller had to get a bigger notebook to keep track of all the offerings from fans who jammed phone lines into the Panthers' flagship station, 790 The Ticket.
The Panthers organization is on board too, encouraging fans to post submissions on the team's Web site.