The Los Angeles Kings will honor the career of retired longtime broadcaster Bob Miller on Saturday, unveiling a statue of him outside Staples Center and hanging a banner in his honor from the arena’s rafters.
Miller’s statue in Star Plaza will join those of other local sports luminaries such as Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Luc Robitaille. The statue will be the second honoring a broadcaster, joining that of the late Laker broadcaster Chick Hearn.
Miller will become the first non-player to be honored by the Kings with a banner inside the arena. He will join a roster of Kings luminaries already so honored — Robitaille, Gretzky, Rob Blake, Dave Taylor, Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon.
The unveilings will be done prior to the Kings game against the Anaheim Ducks. All fans attending the game will receive a Bob Miller bobblehead.
Miller, 79, announced his retirement March 2, 2017, and in April, he called the 3,353rd and final game of his 44-season career with the Kings.
“Due to four separate health incidents the last year, quadruple bypass heart surgery, a transient ischemic attack, a mild stroke and a stent placed in my left carotid artery, and with doctor’s advice to slow down, it’s time for me to retire,” Miller said when he announced his retirement.
Miller became a hockey announcer in 1968, when the program director at his radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, told him he would be announcing a University of Wisconsin game the following Friday because it was the school’s only team to win consistently and draw standing-room-only crowds.
Miller first sought to be hired by the Kings in 1972, when the team’s original announcer, Jiggs McDonald, left for the expansion Atlanta Flames.
Hearn recommended Miller for the job, but team owner Jack Kent Cooke hired California Golden Seals announcer Roy Storey.
When Storey was fired after one season, Hearn again recommended Miller, with Cooke going along that second time.
There was a benefit to the one-season delay in joining the Kings. Staying at Wisconsin, he broadcast the Badgers during their 1972-73 NCAA championship season.
Miller waited 39 years to broadcast another title-winning team, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, which they won again in 2014.
Miller’s honors include the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, given to members of the television and radio industries for outstanding contributions to their profession and hockey, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and membership in the halls of fame of the Kings and Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.