The New Jersey Devils’ 2021-22 campaign has been bookmarked by the end of two eras. Back on Sept. 20, 2021, Travis Zajac signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Devils, and on Tuesday MSG Networks announced that Steve Cangialosi will be stepping down as the Devils’ play-by-play announcer after 11 seasons.
The broadcaster replaced the legendary Michael “Doc” Emrick in 2011 after serving as a reporter and host for the prior five seasons. Fans knew it would be a tough task to step into Emrick’s shoes, but Cangialosi quickly garnered favor with the New Jersey faithful. In 2012, he earned two New York Emmy Awards for his work with the Devils. MSG Networks released the following statement regarding Cangialosi’s decision.
“Steve has informed us of his decision to step down as MSG Networks’ Devils play-by-play announcer beginning next season. We will certainly miss his calls after eleven wonderful years in this role and sixteen years as part of Devils broadcasts on our networks. We look forward to Steve continuing as the play-by-play voice for our Red Bulls telecasts this season.”
The beloved broadcaster released his own official statement.
“The New Jersey Devils are a first class organization, and it was a privilege to serve as the voice of the club for 11 seasons, and to be affiliated with Devils’ hockey on MSG Networks for 16 years. Memories and friendships I’ve made with our terrific MSG Devils’ crew, and of course, the fans, will last even longer and for that I am grateful.”
A Professional in the Booth, and Gentleman Out of It
This season, I watched a Devils game in the booth with Cangialosi and Ken Daneyko. It was fascinating to watch him work, as the game seemed to slow down for the play-by-play announcer as he followed the action on the ice below him. A hockey game can be described as fast-moving and hard-hitting. New Jersey’s announcer was nothing but calm in the broadcast booth as he described the flow of the game. His knowledge was second to none, and his calls were nearly perfect as he kept fans at home entertained. After the game fans would approach him for photos and autographs. Cangialosi would fulfill every request with a smile on his face always taking his time to talk to each individual. It did not take long to realize how beloved he is by this fanbase.
Devils Fans React
New Jersey’s fans suffered a loss when Emrick left MSG Networks in July 2011, but quickly found comfort in Cangialosi’s play-by-play announcing. It has been a rough 11 seasons for the Devils, who have only made the postseason once in that duration, but within that window, there have been some great moments. Cangialosi has been credited with making good games great, and making lackluster contests bearable. His genuine enthusiasm for the team and game of hockey was consistently a bright spot no matter what the final scoresheet said.
Going through various social media platforms, it is clear that one of Cangialosi’s best calls took place on Dec. 21, 2018, at Prudential Center. The Devils hosted the Ottawa Senators, and five minutes into the second period an impressive sequence occurred. Defenseman Sami Vatanen jumped into the crease to make a save behind goaltender Keith Kinkaid, which led to Kyle Palmieri grabbing a loose puck and passing it to Taylor Hall, who eventually scored his team’s fourth goal of the night.
Over the past couple of days, fans have flooded Twitter and Facebook to thank Cangialosi for his hard work and dedication. Like most, season ticket holder Diane Kuhn will miss the Devils broadcaster and acknowledges how difficult it was to come in and replace Emrick.
“It was sad to hear Steve Cangialosi is stepping down from his broadcasting position with MSG and the Devils,” said Kuhn. “He was an excellent play-by-play announcer, and he will surely be missed by Devils fans. The duo of Cangialosi and Daneyko was one of the best broadcasting teams in the NHL. When he stepped in to take over for Doc Emrick 11 years ago, he had some big shoes to fill and he did a great job. I want to wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Longtime Devils fan Josh Reinitz echoed Kuhn’s sentiment, saying the Devils may need to take an inventive approach to find Cangialosi’s replacement.
“Devils games will not be the same without Cangy and his passion for the team will be missed,” said Reinitz. “Replacing Doc was not easy yet he made it look so. I don’t envy the person following in his footsteps but it would be great to see MSG and the Devils get creative on a replacement.”
Jeff Lundy cheers the Devils on from his home in Calgary and in addition to hearing every single one of Cangialosi’s calls he was able to meet him a few years back when the Flames hosted the Devils.
“I want to wish a heartfelt thank you to Cangy for being the voice of Devils hockey in our family room every game night,” said Lundy. “His calls were sincere and honest and he clearly had a passion for the game to step into Doc’s shoes. He was a gentleman off the ice and was genuine when my daughter and I met him in Calgary in 2019 with Daneyko.”
Both myself and my colleague Alex Chauvancy are also saddened by the play-by-play announcer’s departure. Chauvancy had this to say about one of his favorite calls by Cangialosi:
“Though there have been some tough seasons the last few years, at least you could tune in and hear Steve Cangialosi on just about every local Devils broadcast, with the rare exception. He added energy to games with signature lines like “a hop, skip, and a jump” to even the toughest Devils’ games. And when things were going well, he had some classic calls like Taylor Hall’s goal against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 21, 2018, during Hall’s Hart Trophy campaign. Devils broadcasts will sound different without Cangy, but fortunately for me, I’m a soccer fan too, so I look forward to hearing his calls on MLS and future ESPN soccer telecasts. All the best to him in whatever comes next.”
MSG Networks has not announced a replacement at this time so fans will have to wait to see who will step into Cangialosi’s shoes for the 2022-23 season. In the meantime, there is not much to say except “thank you, Cangy”.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.