On the other end, a booming voice said, “Ed, this is Patrick Foley.”
A bit startled, I said, “Pat, aren’t you doing the game right now? I was just listening to you.”
Actually, it was in between periods, giving Foley the chance to thank me for the story I wrote in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune about his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which took place Monday (pictured above).
Knowing Foley and his sense of family, it didn’t come as a surprise that he was most appreciative that I included his mother, Mary, in the story.
“It really meant a lot to her,” Foley said.
I really appreciated getting a call from Foley, especially during a game. Often, reporters hear volume when subjects are upset about a story, but it is crickets on a positive piece.
Then again, Pat Foley is a class act.
On the Blackhawks site, my old Tribune colleague Bob Verdi wrote about Foley’s big day in Toronto.
TORONTO—Chicago’s favorite voice of winter cracked a bit here on Monday, but this happens when an industry giant accepts the award of a lifetime and there is no cough switch nearby.
Pat Foley, the Blackhawks’ beloved TV play-by-play man, graciously accepted the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award with the same passion that he brought to the booth as a 26-year-old kid in 1980. Instead of congratulating himself, though, Foley passed out thanks for making this dream career possible, and that’s where those famous pipes briefly lost a little heft.
His dad, Bob, didn’t make the trip, but rest assured he’ll look great wearing his eldest son’s Hall of Fame jacket to Mass when Pat returns home. Mother Mary got first dibs on the keepsake garment, seated with Pat’s family members and many friends, professional and golf.
Pat tees it up more often than Arnold Palmer, but he’s always prepared, and he was primed for Monday’s induction. Foley found himself at table No. 3, and he took that placard to the podium in memory of an absent pal who wore that number, Keith Magnuson.
Scores and highlights matter in this business, but so do people, and as Foley reminded us all, hockey’s community is in a league of its own. How lucky can a guy be to grow up in Glenview, Ill., listening to Lloyd Pettit, then make good on an opportunity to talk about the Blackhawks for a living, and still love everything about the job, including those parades?
Foley’s attachment to the Blackhawks, never in doubt, was confirmed early. He spoke of superstars Steve Larmer and Doug Wilson, and why they belong in the Hall of Fame. Foley saluted the Wirtzes—Bill, Michael, Rocky. John McDonough, the team’s President and CEO, brought Foley back after he was let go. A masterstroke, to public acclaim. But beside McDonough at lunch, there was Jay Blunk, Executive Vice President. He phones my mom every so often just to see how she’s doing, Foley said, because that’s what these Blackhawks do. Off camera, a random act of caring.