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Jay Rokeach Is New Voice of the Florida Panthers

BY GEORGE RICHARDS
grichards@MiamiHerald.com

For more than 40 years, Jay Rokeach's booming voice has been synonymous with the University of Miami's athletic teams. Whether it's baseball, football or basketball, Rokeach has become the 'Voice of The U.'

Rokeach is about to be the voice of hockey in South Florida as well.

Rokeach has been named the Panthers newest public address announcer, replacing Mitch Phillips. Former PA announcer Bill Murphy will remain in his role as in-arena host. Rokeach called Saturday night's UM-Ohio State game in Miami Gardens and hopes to remain with the university despite a few conflicts with the Panthers.

Rokeach says he has committed himself to all 41 regular season home games, meaning there will be conflicts with his Miami duties. Rokeach says he would have to miss two UM football games as well as five men's basketball games and seven baseball games. Rokeach has been behind a microphone at UM since he was a student there in 1969. Rokeach has also worked at Miami-Dade North and has been the in-house PA announcer (press box, luxury suites) for the Dolphins the past decade.

The Panthers get their first real taste of the Miami experience on Monday as Rokeach works Florida's preseason doubleheader against Nashville. Rokeach did work a rookie league game for the Panthers last week.

“I would love to continue to do both as long as possible. I love the University of Miami and love doing Hurricanes games. It's been a big part of my life and a part of my life I cherish,'' said Rokeach, a resident of Pembroke Pines.

“But working for the Panthers is a great opportunity for me. It's a great commute and I'm excited about it. I'm going to do my best with this. It's a microphone and a sporting event. That's what I do. This is going to be a new experience but something I'm really looking forward to.''

Rokeach has worked through UM scheduling conflicts before as he was the original PA announcer for the Marlins from 1993-97. It was with the Marlins that Rokeach worked with Pete Soto, the Panthers new director of presentation and production.

Soto, who spent 12 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before returning to South Florida this summer, was looking for a new announcer after Lewis decided the gig wasn't for him. Soto quickly called up Rokeach to gauge his interest. Rokeach was obviously intrigued and interested.

“I came down and knew I wanted to look at different avenues. I called Jay on a whim,'' Soto said. “We decided to do it. We were willing to work around his Miami conflicts, but he's a professional and wanted to commit to us. I agree with that. What he brings is he is a natural PA announcer. He knows what makes the crowd happy and play along. He's a consummate professional. I'm very excited about this. It's great for the fans. And we have a comfort level. I have absolute trust in him.''

Rokeach readily admits he's no puckhead, but knows a little bit about the game. Rokeach says he enjoyed going to a handful of Panthers games each season and figures he will be a quick learner. Soto is not worried.

“My biggest concern is the pronunciation of the players,'' Rokeach joked. “I don't want to be responsible for a war between the USA and Canada.''


Jay Rokeach Is New Voice of the Florida Panthers

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GOOD CHOICE!

I'm willing to give the guy a chance, but that job requires a helluva lot more than just "not mispronouncing the names" which will CERTAINLY be a problem when he hits the Eastern European players.

There are timing issues that occur constantly with 120+ advertising reads a night, puck drop timing, time of penalties, goals; hell just keeping track of what goal of the season it is for a player who scored...these are things a spotter helps you with but it's gotta be a team effort or you end up looking like a-holes.

I hope that he does well, but sincerely speaking Bill Murphy should be back in that job. That guy knows what he is doing and if it weren't for M.Y. being his usual difficult self that aspect of the production wouldn't be a concern.

A special wish of good luck to Pete Soto. You honestly have no idea what s*^tstorm you have walked into.

H O L Y C O W ! ! ! Anyone who was at the BAC last night KNOWS that Jay Rokeach was an unmitigated disaster as a hockey announcer. It was the most embarrassing thing I've ever encountered in that rink (and considering some of the ridiculous things Yormark has done in there, that says a lot).

Rokeach took nearly a full minute to announce Nashville goals (mostly because after he dragged out the first one he would say "repeating", and then dragged out the second one), and that is no exaggeration. It was very apparent that he didn't prepare AT ALL. He had months to practice, but it's obvious that he thought being the "voice of the Hurricanes" was going to be enough to allow him to just waltz in here and have everyone ooohing and ahhing. It was sickening.

Michael Yormark is responsible for this..

Bring back Bill. Wow, don't think I ever heard such a disaster.........

I wasn't there, but heard a "sample" of his goal call here http://chirb.it/czyMet, it is horrendous. Forget about Bill Murphy being in-arena host, he needs to be brought back as the "voice" of the Panthers. He may not have the deepest voice in the world, but you know what, it works extremely well for the Panthers, he understands the speed of the game, and understands what needs to be said and to get it done. Bring him back!!!!!

Well in all honesty, I wish that Jay Rokeach would miss all of the 41 of the Panther home games so he could concentrate on the U of M games.
This guy is better then Somenex to put people to sleep.

It's pretty bad when, after the game, people outside the arena were discussing the poor announcing rather than the win. This is not football. It's a fast paced and exciting game and the announcing has to take that into consideration. Like the players watch old game tapes, Rokeach should check out some old game tapes of Bill Murphy, (Murphy had it right), and he needs to practice, practice, practice. Hopefully he gets better.

Jay was Painful to listen to (Repeat) Painful to listen to. Seriously who in there right mind would listen to his performance last night and think hey he will do? YM of course. Good luck Soto, you work for a douche-bag.

Will have to bring a radio to the game to listen to Randy for in game color.

Last night was absolutely dreadful ... again.. last night was absolutely dreadful! In addition to the "again" and "repeating" there is no need to use the word THE before mention of the teams name and also I was quite annoyed by the long drawn out Florida before Panthers.... it should just be "panthers penalty to # etc etc" instead of "The Florida Panthers penalty to" especially if its gonna be repeated "AGAIN".
Goal calls took way to long, by the time they were announced the thrill was gone and the lack of any enthusiasm when he announced it has taken away the excitement of yelling GOAL!! He will ruin this fan interaction by October 20th... Train him or send him back to football!!!

Trust me, Laura. It takes YEARS to get a hockey style down properly. Bill knew his stuff and was one of the best in the biz.

The fans should start a "Bring Back Bill!" movement.

Being "waterboarded" would be better than listening to this guy again.

You may be the nicest person in the world and I wish you the best but you are no Hockey game announcer. Do the right thing before it is too late our season and resign because they won't fire you.

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