CHEERS to the inimitable Ducky Drake for his 40-year stint as the voice of Cardinal hockey.
Drake got his start in broadcasting career in 1968 in St. Johnsbury, Vt., moving on about a year later to jobs in Franklin and Laconia, N.H.
In a fortuitous move for this area, he came to Plattsburgh in the summer of 1971 to take a full-time job as a disc jockey and sports announcer.
Drake moved to WIRY Hometown Radio in 1984, first part time and later full time. It was to be a fruitful working relationship that would make him a North Country classic, his voice recognizable to anyone who tuned in. He became the station’s news and sports director in 1999.
He started broadcasting the Plattsburgh State hockey games and continued through a decades of coaching and player changes.
Drake was so closely associated with Cardinal hockey — to listeners and in his own heart — that he stayed on in that role even after his retirement at the end of June 2013.
His delivery was always smooth, which is challenging when announcing hockey, an extremely fast-paced sport.
He had a great memory and a knack for memorizing the names and uniform numbers of the opposing teams.
His signature call, as Plattsburgh State headed for a victory, was: “Stick a fork in (the Tigers, Bears, Cats or whatever the opponents); they are done.”
Drake always seemed to keep a good perspective, getting neither too high nor low as he called games, which included high-school sports, as well as college. His Coach’s Corner reports were deservedly popular.
Last Saturday, Ducky Drake called his last regular-season hockey game. When the post-season ends, it will also be the end of a special era in broadcasting. Ducky, you will be missed.
CHEERS, while we’re speaking about hockey, to Sydney Aveson of the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team, who was one of six amateur athletes featured in the Feb. 10 issue of Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”