Blackhawks organization blames fans in statement for firing of Chris Vosters

June 6, 2024  (4:39 PM)

Kyle Davidson Chicago Blackhawks
Photo credit: Daily Hive

Blackhawks do major shakeup with broadcasting crew

Chris Vosters was to replace Pat Foley, who is a Hall Of Fame broadcaster, which for anyone new, would be difficult to follow.
The Blackhawks planned to have Vosters grow into the role, along with fans adoration for Vosters to grow alongside his skills, in parallel.

But that wasn't the case, as the Blackhawks had to re-evaluate the situation and removed Vosters Thursday and was replaced by NHL Broadcast veteran, Rick Ball.
«One thing we know is that our fans value a deep hockey knowledge and experience, and it was important to us that our broadcast reflect those values,» said Blackhawks president of business Jaime Faulkner. «Every year after the season concludes, we evaluate our broadcast talent in the booth for both radio and TV, and also in-studio, to determine if it is at the level our fans expect and deserve. Based on our own evaluations, as well as feedback from key stakeholders and partners, we felt we need to make a change in this role.

«We knew it would be difficult to replace someone as loved and talented as Pat Foley when we first started the process three years ago. Of everyone we looked at and available at the time, Chris was the clear favorite, and we were convinced we had found our voice. Chris did a tremendous job calling Blackhawks games, and while it's certainly unfortunate that it didn't work out with him in the end, we're confident that Rick is going to help our broadcast reach new heights and we're excited for him to join the team.»

Fans wanted someone with more hockey knowledge, given the team is an original-six team. They want someone with credibility and tenure, in order to connect with passionate fans.
«Chris is a tremendous broadcaster with a very bright future ahead of him,» Faulkner said. «He has a very big voice that lends itself extremely well to being a sports broadcaster. We want to offer our fans a broadcast with deep experience and hockey knowledge. We evaluate things like depth of hockey vocabulary, ability to anticipate the play to use your voice to draw the viewer in, ability to call plays happening with players who don't have the puck, and knowing that sometimes you don't say anything at all.»

While Vosters fit the role, Ball offered more knowledge, and is a veteran NHL broadcaster who spent 10 years on Sportsnet, covering the Calgary Flames and covered the Kelowna Rockets, and Vancouver Canucks on "Hockey Night In Canada".
Ball of course lamented leaving the Calgary Flames and fans, but felt the benefits far outweighed the cons in coming to Chicago.
Darren Pang and Rick Ball have known each other for years, which was another plus to the job, not to mention the presence of Connor Bedard in the lineup:
«When it was first presented to me, there were probably four main factors: Original Six franchise, world-class city, young superstar centerpiece in Connor Bedard and, last but not least, Darren Pang, who I consider one of the best all-time at his job,» Ball said. «So when you put those four things, it was a no-brainer.»

The Blackhawks have kept tabs on different broadcasters in the league, should they need to go a different route. If Ball wasn't available, they likely would've stuck with Vosters for another season. Fortunately for both parties, they were able to come to terms.
«Rick is an exceptional broadcaster with a resume that includes over 20 years of experience as a hockey announcer,» Faulkner said. «He's called some of the sport's biggest games, on its biggest stages, and on one of its most storied broadcasts. He knows this game and its history, and we believe he will take our broadcast to the next level.»

With this news, keep in mind the Blackhawks are moving on from NBC Sports Chicago and will be launching their own, Chicago Sports Network in the fall.
For now the teams biggest priority is to hire studio talent.
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Blackhawks organization blames fans in statement for firing of Chris Vosters

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