Longtime Penguins player and broadcaster Bob Errey was on vacation in Europe last week and returned to Pittsburgh with unpleasant news.
Errey was informed Wednesday evening that he will no longer be the color commentator on Penguins TV broadcasts – a position he held throughout the Sidney Crosby era before ending his broadcast career as the Penguins’ radio color commentator during the 1999 season –2000 began.
Errey told The Athletic that his broadcast partner since 2017, Steve Mears, would also not be returning.
Team sources believe radio play-by-play broadcaster Josh Getzoff will replace Mears in the television booth. Phil Bourque will remain as an analyst, but it remains to be seen whether he will work on his usual radio program or move to television.
Sources expect Colby Armstrong to play a larger role in the Penguins’ broadcasts going forward.
Errey was the Penguins’ first overall pick in 1983 and won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1991 and 1992. He was also the first captain in San Jose Sharks history.
The Montreal native worked with Mike Lange, Paul Steigerwald and Mears during his broadcasting career.
The Penguins’ ownership group, Fenway Sports Group, now owns the Penguins’ television rights and is launching its own network, SportsNet Pittsburgh. This network will replace the financially troubled AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh for regional Pittsburgh broadcasts. Fenway Sports Group also owns 80 percent of the New England Sports Network (NESN) and is expected to use a similar format with the new company in Pittsburgh.
Errey provided The Athletic with a letter he wrote to Pittsburgh fans:
Dear Pittsburgh Penguin fans,
It is with a heavy heart that I share this with you. Yesterday I received an unexpected call informing me that I would not be returning as a TV analyst for the Pittsburgh Penguins this upcoming season.
My journey began in 1983 as a wide-eyed teenager who had no idea what to expect on the ice or in the city of Pittsburgh. It took some time, but with determined players and passionate fans, we realized the dream of bringing the Cup to Pittsburgh.
As luck would have it, after my playing career, I took on the position of radio analyst. My family has roots in the community and youth hockey. We loved Burgh and I loved my job.
I was fortunate to work with Paul Steigerwald who lives and breathes hockey and has helped me get better every day. I was ready to learn. With the arrival of Sidney Crosby, I moved into the TV booth with Hall of Famer Mike Lange. I was probably just as excited and nervous as you. Both to work with Mike and to watch Sid do his thing. Wow! Very happy.
My last six years at the Steve Mears booth have been equally rewarding. What a professional. Tremendous talent. I would be remiss if I didn’t credit our friend Dan Potash for our laughs and his connection with the players. Truly unique.
I have the utmost respect and love for my former colleagues and friends with whom I have worked over the last 22 years! You, the fans, have constantly tuned in and made us the No. 1 local broadcast in the league every year. Unbelievable, really.
I enjoyed my nights in Pittsburgh and in the cabin. I will cherish the many incredible moments this seat has given me. It was a particular joy and excitement for me and I hope that was the case for you too.
I’m not sure where my journey will take me next, but I’m excited for the next chapter and will put as much energy and effort into it as I did here. And if you see me around this great city, be sure to stop me and say hello!
It was my pleasure.
– Bob Errey
(Photo of Bob Errey, left, and Steve Mears: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)