Who was/is the John Madden of Hockey?

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

With the Super Bowl under a week away, it is hard not to think about football, even if we are all hockey fans here.

When it comes to football, the person I think about is the great John Madden. Madden, who passed away back on December 28, 2021, was a Hall of Fame football coach, commentator, and video game developer.

He is/was someone that everyone in football seemed to love, respect, watch, and listen to. Madden was successful in all three phases of his football career.

He got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a head coach with the Oakland Raiders, having finished with a record of 103-32-7 and one Super Bowl win. It is as a head coach that he always wanted to be remembered as.

As a commentator, he broadcasted games for all four major networks in the United States. What made him so great was that, as a commentator, he taught the game of football to millions of fans and made it easier for everyone to understand and love.

When it comes to his video game, there is really nothing left to say that has not been said before. Everyone knows Madden NFL, and is one of the most popular selling video games of all time.

Madden WAS football. He lived and breathed the game and did more for it than anyone else.

Now, let’s bring in our favorite sport, hockey. Who do you folks think the John Madden of hockey is/was?

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and I have had trouble figuring out who a good representation of Madden in hockey is/was. Was it someone like Don Cherry?

Cherry played, coached, commentated, and was clearly someone who had a lot of passion for the game. He also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and said some things that were very controversial. 

Was it a guy like Howie Meeker? Meeker was a Stanley Cup champion with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a head coach, and a commentator with Hockey Night in Canada, where he was innovative in using the telestrator, something that Madden was the first to use in broadcasting football games, to diagram the action on instant replay segments. Like Madden, Meeker’s analysis provided insight that fans had never really seen before.

Someone else that can be thrown into the mix is recently fired Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau is as authentic as they come and has done it all when it comes to hockey.

These are the first three names that came to mind. What do you folks think?

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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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