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'I feel honoured to say I was his friend': Gretzky remembers Bob Cole


ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Tributes continue to pour in for Bob Cole as his family has confirmed a funeral will be held for the legendary broadcaster Friday in St. John's, N.L.

Wayne Gretzky says it was Cole's passion for the game of hockey that made him a great one.

Gretzky shared his memories of Cole on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, recalling how much respect the players had for the broadcaster.

Gretzky said he was especially happy to meet up with Cole during a charity event in the broadcasters' home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a place he refused to move away from, no matter how many times his bosses asked.

Cole died last week in St. John's at the age of 90, and his funeral will be held Friday at St. Thomas Anglican Church in the provincial capital.

Cole was perhaps best known for his play-by-play commentary on Hockey Night in Canada, where he was loved for his wit, passion and signature "Oh Baby!" exclamations.

Gretzky told Ron MacLean on Saturday that Cole loved being in the rink, whether it was to watch the teams practice or to call a game.

"He was genuinely a passionate guy about the game of hockey and to me, that's what separates great broadcasters and great athletes from the average people," Gretzky said.

"I feel honoured to say I was his friend, and we're going to miss him dearly," Gretzky added. "He was a big part of Hockey Night in Canada, and he was a big part of the National Hockey League."

Cole's decades-long career took him to cities across the country, where he brought to life some of hockey's biggest games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2024.