Too little has been said about the booming voice and the man behind it, David Courtney.
I still can’t believe he’s gone.
It struck like bolt of sad lightning when I heard David Joseph announce the starting lineup for the Blue Jackets on Friday.
“This is wrong” said I, to myself. No one was listening at that moment inside my head.
Instantaneously I was transported through some memories of Courtney, who, for those who go to as many games as they watch on TV, was every bit as much ‘the voice of the Kings’ as Bob Miller. First I recalled, the last time I heard his voice, the sweetest words he ever said on the job, “Ladies and Gentlemen, THE STANLEY CUP!” While it shouldn’t have been the end, I am so glad to have heard Courtney announce what I know for him was a pinnacle in his career.
Then I remembered all the times I went down to chat with Courtney after games. You may remember from the piece my father wrote after David’s passing that they had known each other growing up. It was tougher to do at Staples because of the layout and us always sitting upstairs, but back in the Forum days, after almost every game we attended we would go down to see David in his booth after the final buzzer.
I’ll never forget David giving me one of my fondest Kings memories when near my birthday he took us to the tunnel outside the Kings locker room. This was, I think, in 1995 and I was just starting to really become a big Kings fan and know all the players. That night I met my heroes. When Wayne Gretzky came out of the dressing room and signed my jersey, I nearly died. This was back when I knew for a fact I would be the next Gretzky, the fact that I didn’t know how to skate mattered little.
I met most of the team that night. Tony Granato, Jarri Kurri, Kelly Hrudey! Holy shit was I excited to meet Hrudey. Rick Tocchet signed my jersey AND my hat, and he was awesome because he scored and beat some ass. Vladimir Tsyplakov, man did I love saying his name, still do, and meeting him was righteous just for that reason. The only downside of the night was that Marty McSorely didn’t come out. They said he stayed in the hot tub until very late and it was a school night so my dad wouldn’t let us stay late enough to wait for him. Most people have a grudge against McSorely for his illegal stick penalty. I have a grudge for him soaking. Prick.
That was one of the coolest nights of my childhood and it was all thanks to David Courtney. I said it earlier, and I mean it, David was every bit the voice of the Kings that Bob Miller is. In fact, I’m more OK listening to others telecast a Kings game than I am listening to Dave Joseph announce one. There is just something missing from attending the games and it will never be quite the same.
Which brings me to the Kings appreciation for David.
Hear me now LA Kings organization; you have not done Mr. Courtney justice. A short moment of silence before the tedious banner raising, ring ceremony and obligatory secondary Cup lifting before the opening game was literally the least you could do to honor the memory and untimely passing of a man every Kings fan loved better than they probably ever realized.
A moment of silence for a voice of the Kings is almost disrespectful. Silence had nothing with David’s life, career and passion. His was a booming voice and that the Kings have not had a video retrospective in honor of David, is as my forefathers would say, a shanda. For the goyem among you, a shanda is a shame, a pathetic attempt, something any self-respecting humanoid must feel compelled to shake his or her head at in derisive exasperation.
Aaron Brenner, put aside the next highlight reel you are cutting to whatever emo song seems the least offensive to the public at large at the moment and give us the tribute David Courtney deserves. Something better than this, something that has more than two short clips of David doing what he did best. Silence for David is not respect. David loved to exclaim, to announce. Let’s honor David as he honored his life.
But none of this will bring David back.
I will concede that David Jospeh is not as bad as I assumed he would be. The shoes he is forced to fill are as large as David was himself. Joseph has done a pretty good job. There was a moment where I considered giving up my season seats if I could not hear Courtney announce the Kings entering the ice, or scoring a goal or going on whatever-company-paid-for-the-mention powerplay.
I still believe the Kings should play a recording of Courtney’s voice proclaiming, “ladies and gentleman, YOUR Los Angeles Kings!” each and every home game from now until the end of hockey, but ultimately, nothing and no one can ever truly replace David. In the future, for the memories of those Kings fans to come, perhaps. But in my memory, David’s voice is firmly ingrained.
I miss David Courtney.