Chico Resch, the always popular former goalie turned broadcaster, is being honoured by the New Jersey Devils tonight.
Resch was briefly the face of the franchise when the team first moved from Denver to New Jersey, playing 198 games in the Devils' first four seasons, winning just 49 of them. Resch, who previously starred with the New York Islanders, left to finish his playing career in Philadelphia, but returned to become a long time broadcaster for New Jersey. In fact, many Devils fans know him only as a broadcaster.
The affable Resch remains very humble about it all.
“It’s going to be really special. I don’t know why they’re having this for me. I really don’t,” Resch said. “I was a good goalie but I wasn’t a Hall of Famer. I wasn’t anything like (Scott) Niedermayer, (Scott) Stevens or (Ken) Daneyko.
“And in terms of Emmys, I didn’t get any Emmys. I’m going to ask Doc if I can have one that he’s won. I’ll tear off the name plate and put mine on there so 10 years from now I can say, ‘Yeah, I won an Emmy.’
“I think it was more about my personal relationships with the fans than it was about my performance, which is very gratifying. I wasn’t John Davidson. I was enthusiastic. I worked with Doc, so I got to work with one of the greats. I think maybe I was like Phil Rizzuto. I was a character of the franchise.”
Resch is one of the most approachable people you will ever meet in hockey. He loves to talk. But he is very insightful when opens up. He once said this of his playing career:
"When I became an NHLer I realized the perception I had of the glitz and the glamour was wrong. It wasn't what I had imagined and at times I almost wished I hadn't made it. But when you retire and look back on the people you got to know and the tough times you overcame, and the highs you experienced, and you can look back with great satisfaction."
That quote came from years ago and perhaps time has faded away any bad feelings about his life as a player. But I suspect there is a part of Chico Resch that enjoyed the broadcasting portion of his life over his playing career.
"The broadcasting has been the greatest aspect of my career probably. I loved playing, but in broadcasting I became a real person. It was a much more rewarding career,” Resch noted.