Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tom Larscheid Retires, Leaves Gaping High-Pitched Laugh-Shaped Hole

"Let's face facts: Jan Bulis is just a dumb hockey player."
~ Tom Larscheid

It was announced today that after 33 years as the Canucks radio color commentator, Tom Larscheid will only be calling one more game. He and John Shorthouse will call the season opener against the LA Kings and will subsequently hang up the headphones and mic.

Tommy is a legend in Vancouver and he will be sorely missed. He had a way of bringing the game to life on the radio that is hard to match. As a former football player, he wasn't always the best analyst of the game of hockey, but he had an infectious enthusiasm and a straight-shooting personality. He was always up front with his homerism, but wasn't afraid to call out players (like Jan Bulis), when they weren't performing up to par. He was blunt, but fair, and it always felt like he was the fan's representative in the booth, upset when the fans were upset, happy when the fans were happy.

He could also turn a phrase like few others. "Bingo, bango, bongo, his name is Roberto Luongo." That line wouldn't have worked coming from anyone other than Tommy. He talked about "fire in the belly," "calling the coppers," and laughed his incredibly recognizable high-pitched laugh. He's also given some memorable lines for, well, other reasons, such as the infamous "I just came from the Canucks dressing room and Pavel's groin has never felt better."

He's been hinting at retiring for almost five years now, but he kept signing on for one more year. I knew this day was coming, but I was hoping he'd get a chance to call the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup. He was there for 33 years of futility, calling both the Canucks appearances in the Finals ("He'll play on crutches!"), but never saw them hoist the Cup.

He will then be replaced by Dave Tomlinson, who is the exact opposite of Tommy in many ways: cynical, dry, and knowledgeable. The Team 1040 broadcasts will be the poorer for it.

Farewell, Tommy. Enjoy your retirement: you've earned it.

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