Tampa Bay Lightning play-by-play announcer Rick Peckham will begin his 24th season as the voice of the Lightning this fall, but it will also be his last.
Peckham has been with the Lightning since 1995 and will be in his 42nd season announcing professional hockey. He has been with the Lightning almost as long as they have been in existence, and his calls are familiar to anyone who has followed Lightning hockey.
Now, as he hangs up his headset after the 2019-20 season, let’s take a look at some of his best calls as the lead broadcaster for the Lightning.
“Unbelievable, Brayden Point!”
On March 7, 2018, the Lightning were playing a wild overtime period versus the Florida Panthers, and Peckham was getting more excited as the Lightning inched closer to victory. Defenseman Anton Stralman had a wide-open net and took a pass from Point, but it hit off the heel of his stick and bounced off the side of the cage. Once Tyler Johnson retrieved the puck, he passed to Stralman, who passed to Point, who was one-on-one with Evgenii Dadonov. Point toe-dragged around Dadonov and sniped short-side on goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Peckham hesitated as he saw Point toe drag around Dadonov, but when he scored, his unmistakable goal-call is heard along with color commentator Brian Engblom letting out a big “woah!” in unison. “Oh, unbelievable! Brayden Point wins the game in overtime! An incredible move!” Peckham said. It was one of Peckham’s top calls in the 2017-18 season and one he will always be remembered for.
“Steven Stamkos Has Reached 60 Goals!”
Steven Stamkos was the last player in the NHL to score 60 goals, and it almost didn’t happen. He sat at 59 goals with chances in Montreal and Toronto in prior games but was unable to find the back of the net until April 7, 2012 versus the Winnipeg Jets. In that game, he took a pass in the slot from Martin St. Louis. Stamkos ripped it past Ondrej Pavelec and finally got No. 60.
Peckham’s call on Stamkos’ goal is one Lightning fans will remember, specifically because of his trademark goal call with a bit of a voice crack near the end: “He scoooooores! Steven Stamkos has reached 60 goals!” Peckham’s voice rose in anticipation as he saw St. Louis fire a pass to Stamkos in the slot, and once he saw the red light go on, Peckham made the call, which added to the celebration. It was one of the best moments in Lightning history and only fitting that Peckham was on the call.
“He Did it Again!”
Nikita Kucherov had a great season in 2017-18, but his move against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 20 really shows just how good of a hockey player he is. He took a breakaway pass from Victor Hedman and had all the time in the world as he went in one-on-one on goaltender Braden Holtby. Instead of shooting, Kucherov waved his stick over the puck and let it slide through Holtby’s five-hole.
As Kucherov was going in on the breakaway, Peckham built the scene perfectly: “Kucherov in on a break! In on Holtby, fakes… Scores! He did it again!” His voice continued to build the anticipation and it was perfect how he immediately referred to Kucherov beating Holtby a month earlier in the All-Star Game. Kucherov made the perfect move and Peckham made the perfect call.
Peckham has been with the Lightning for 24 years and has become the voice of the Lightning. When games are on national broadcasts, those are fine, but there’s nothing like hearing Peckham’s voice trill as a Lightning player puts one in the back of the net.
In an article with NHL.com, Peckham said one thing he wishes he could have done was call a game in the Stanley Cup Final. The games get picked up by national broadcasts for the Conference Final and Cup Final, and had he been calling the final moments of the Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory in 2004, the moment would have been even sweeter for the fans.
It will be strange not to hear Peckham’s voice on a regular basis after the 2019-20 season, but he’s had a great career in sports and with the Lightning.
Congratulations, Rick, and enjoy retirement!