Peter Maher

  • Type: Builder
  • Sport(s): Hockey
  • Year: 2019

Peter Maher; “Yeah, Baby.”

That expression and the voice that went with it were instantly recognized by Calgarians, and Atlantic Canadians who went west for work. Peter Maher … Voice of the Calgary Flames.

Maher came from the Maritimes; born, raised, and trained in Campbellton, New Brunswick, before heading for the big time.

In many ways, Peter Maher trained like the NHL athletes who he covered.

As he stated in his book, “If These Walls Could Talk — Stories from the Calgary Flames’ Ice, Locker Room and Press Box,“  he started by playing the game.   Maher says he stopped playing at the bantam level in his early teens when he realized two things;

At that level, players could start taking slap shots and he concluded that he wasn’t a very good goaltender and he realized that he could talk faster than he could move.

But  Maher was determined even at 13, to combine sports and broadcasting into a career.

As a kid, he started calling local softball games and doing public address announcing for the local softball league. He began phoning in reports on the games to CKNB the local radio station, then going into the station.

In his last year in high school, now in his late teens, Maher started doing the morning sports run … finish up in time to head for class then back to the radio station for the afternoon run.

In his book, “If These Walls Could Talk,” Maher says the natural progression was to start calling hockey games for the North Shore League. He says it was then that he “began to really listen to the guys calling the games. Danny Gallivan was always my favorite.”

He met Gallivan in Montreal and asked the legendary broadcaster if he could send him a tape.

The following year, Gallivan was guest speaker at a hockey banquet in Campbellton and during his speech announced that

“There’s someone in this room who all of you know well who’s not going to be here very much longer. He’s too good a broadcaster.”  It was Peter Maher.

Three months later he was in Toronto to broadcast Maple Leaf games for the CKO Radio Network.

Then in 1980 came the opportunity of a lifetime. The Atlanta Flames move to Calgary and someone would become the official radio voice of Flames on Sportsnet 960.

Maher broadcast the Flames first game in Calgary and everyone after that for the next 33 years . He called more than 31 hundred NHL games including his stint in Toronto. Never missed one. Never called in sick. Everyone knew the big plays in a game when he bellowed, “ Yeah, Baby.” And when the Flames vanquished an opponent, the game and the broadcast were over when Maher declared, “ You can put it in the win column.”

Maher was in Gallivan’s stomping grounds in Montreal in 1989 calling the Flames Stanley Cup Victory over the Canadiens and Lanny MacDonald’s last goal. He was the voice of the Flames in their Stanly Cup runs in 1986 and 2004 as well and called Stanly Cup finals in 1979 and 1989.

During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Peter  called the iconic play that capped the entire games; the blind pass from Jerome Iginla to Sidney Crosby who fired the golden goal home in Canada’s victory over the U.S.

In 2006,eight years before he retired Peter was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame as a media honouree and won the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. He’s been inducted into the Alberta Hall of Fame and twice to the New Brunswick Hall of Fame … one for his media achievements but the second time as the General Manager of the 1972 Campbellton Tigers, National Hardy Cup Hockey Champions.

On April 29, 2014, Peter Maher turned off his mic and retired.

Flames owner Ken King said the gathering at the Saddle Dome was the largest he’s ever been to in 13 years with the team.

“I think our maintenance crew said it best this morning when they said ‘we’re going to lose our voice’.

The broadcast booth in the Scotia Bank Saddle Dome is named after him.

Like the NHL pros who play or played, he reveres his profession and the game he covered and called with these words;

“This is the NHL, the National Hockey League. Treat every game, every broadcast, with respect and reverence. Remember, it’s an honour to be a broadcaster in the greatest league in the world.”

Throughout his career and afterwards, Peter has been very active in helping the mentally challenged. He was instrumental in setting up a workshop for the mentally challenged in Campbellton. He’s involved in the Special Olympics in Calgary and the local Alzheimer Association. Peter

Today, we honour and welcome Peter Maher of Campbellton New Brunswick to the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame.