Can any game-night be ‘a game-night at da Burgh’ with just a pack of howling players on track? Well, it’s certainly a no. Cause, we all know how badly we want a screaming crowd and a crazy sportscaster to set the game on fire at Pittsburgh! The same goes well with an NHL game for the Pittsburgh Penguins too. And, what can beat the fiery spirits of Mike Lange to tune the mood for a hockey game at PPG Arena.
Rather famous as the ‘Voice of Pens’, Mike Lange is an accomplished sports broadcaster hailing from the city of California. But, his unique word power has won millions of fan hearts at Pittsburgh, within a short time. Like many great sports announcers of the Pittsburgh home teams such as Myron Cope for Steelers and Bob Prince for Pirates, Lange drove every game to its peak with his artistic, on-point game commentary.
Photo by Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette
So, wondering about this star commentator of the Pens? Here’s more about the admiring life and work of Mike Lange!
A sneak-peek into his early days...
An ardent lover of words and speech, Lange began his studies at Sacramento State University in California. Thanks to his lovely friend, he initiated an interest in watching hockey games and spent his time working in local arena boxes. Soon, he found his way into the broadcasting booths starting from his college radio station. Lange began his sportscasting career as a PA announcer itself. But, before he became the power of the pens, Lange had quite a few opportunities to be a part of the Western Hockey League.
Photo from Post-Gazette.com
The thrilling voice of Hockey games!
With Penguins, Lange started on a rough patch in 1974. He barely completed one season with the Pens and soon, he hit an exit. That was indeed a tough time for our homies. Standing on the verge of bankruptcy, Penguins didn’t seem to be a fruitful place for Lange. He wouldn’t want a cold end to his career, way before it swung to a full-fledged state. So, he simply switched from the NHL to soccer games, for Washington Diplomats.
But, he returned to the Penguins the next season. And, then we witnessed the rise of immense support for the Pens by the spectacular commentary of Mike Lange! Covering every single broadcast since 1976, Lange became a heartthrob of Pittsburghers, as the lead play-by-play announcer of the radio and television network of the Penguins. Served a major part in radio, Lange amazed all of us with his mighty voice and unique expressions until 2006 in the NHL. Sadly, his contract wasn’t renewed after that and Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh soon replaced him with Paul Steigerwald which seemed an unpopular move among the Penguins fans.
Photo from nhl.com
Establishing ‘Langeisms’ and beyond.
Mike Lange is a man of mind-blowing creativity and an irreplaceable voice power. He never limited himself to the sports niche of NHL and Penguins, but thrived forward for various NHL games on ESPN and even, broadcasted for Pittsburgh Pirates. We, yinzers have always been excited to experience such love and thrill to our sports community. And hence, his 45th year in sportscasting was made special by gifting a personalized jersey to him by the Pens, right before a game in 2019.
His ability has been duly appreciated worldwide and brought him the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. Though he had to bid adieu to the mainstream broadcast network of Penguins, he signed a contract to manage the radio broadcasts only. Lange also actively participates in various charity works, supporting people throughout his life journey. Not only in real life but also on the big screen, young Lange did showcase his genius as a play-by-play commentator in a few movies like Sudden Death (1995).
Photo from twitter.com
Mike Lange was and remains to be a promising turn in the history of NHL broadcasting. And, if you are a forever admirer of this talent, then you should not miss hearing those epic lines of ‘Langeism’! Da Burgh has been truly blessed and blissful to have owned such innovative masters of sports fields. So, go digging for the top commentaries by Lange and replenish your game night memories. ‘Cause, it’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh!!
Grab the exclusive collection of T-shirts with epic lines of Mike Lange from Yinzershop to cheer out for Penguins in the next NHL season!