Brian Boucher joining Flyers broadcast team: ‘I love everything about Philadelphia’

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It’s been an offseason of summer reunions for NHL broadcaster and former goalie Brian Boucher.

First, in late August, Boucher shifted to TNT from ESPN, where he spent the previous two seasons as an in-game and studio analyst. Boucher will once again be calling games with play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert and analyst Eddie Olczyk, reuniting the top broadcast team from when NBC owned the league’s rights.

Then, on Monday, NBC Sports Philadelphia announced Boucher as its new primary analyst for Flyers games. Boucher, of course, had a couple of memorable stints with the Flyers as a player, exploding onto the scene as a rookie in 1999-2000 and then returning in 2009-10 as part of the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final. Boucher pumping his stick in celebration of the Flyers’ shootout win over the Rangers on the last day of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs is an image still etched in the minds of Flyers fans.

Boucher began his broadcast career in Philadelphia shortly after retiring in 2013, both in studio for Flyers games and as an analyst for AHL Phantoms games in Lehigh Valley, Pa. After spending the previous two years living in Rhode Island for family reasons, he just moved back to Cherry Hill, N.J., where he’ll prepare for the start of the 2022-23 season.

Former broadcaster Keith Jones’ ascension to the Flyers’ presidency opened up both of Boucher’s new jobs. And, even with his TNT responsibilities, it’s expected that Boucher will call at least 60 Flyers games next season.

Boucher chatted with The Athletic on Monday morning shortly after his return to Philadelphia was made official.

How did this all come about?

When Jonesy got the president’s job, he reached out to me shortly thereafter and said I should probably get my mind thinking in this direction about returning to Philadelphia. And truthfully, my mind went there the minute I heard that he was taking the president’s job. I think for me, it’s a job that I always kind of dreamed about, to be honest. When I played, I always wanted to be a Flyer forever, and hated when I left. Now that I can be back in some capacity, covering the Flyers in this capacity is a dream come true for me.

You got your start in broadcasting in Philadelphia, of course.

(Former Comcast SportsNet executive Brian Monahan) always said to me when you’re done playing, make sure you reach out to me. Sure enough, years later, I did reach out to him and that’s how it started with spot duty here and there. But then I also got the opportunity to do the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the first year doing their in-game color with Service Electric up in Allentown. I got to do studio in Philadelphia and games in the minors, and that’s how it all started. Things kind of steamrolled in the right direction after that, and next thing you know I’m doing NHL Network and NBC Sports national. And, now I get the opportunity to come back.

You’re also moving from ESPN to TNT. How excited are you to reunite with some of your former colleagues there?

I’m thrilled. It’s kind of like you were on a team and you got traded and you miss your old teammates. I think that’s the feeling that I have in rejoining Kenny and Eddie Olczyk. They’re quality people, they’re terrific at what they do, and I thought we had great chemistry. Unfortunately, the NHL rights didn’t stay at NBC, and we had to do what we had to do. But I am beyond thrilled to be back with them. If not for Jonesy getting the president’s job, none of this would have happened. It’s funny how these things work.

What’s your relationship like with Flyers fans?

I love everything about Philadelphia. I love everything about being a Flyer. I think Flyers fans have been treated to some great years, a couple great decades of hockey where they really got excited and rallied around this team. Unfortunately, it’s gotten a little leaner here in the last couple years, but I know deep down inside that the city of Philadelphia loves the Flyers. This team is going to get back to competing for Stanley Cups, and I can’t wait to be broadcasting those games and bringing the excitement to fans on TV.

Obviously, the team is now in a rebuild and it could be a little while before they are contenders again. What do you think of where the organization is now, and where it’s headed?

First and foremost I think the changes that were made in the front office have been real positive. I know Keith Jones and (general manager) Danny Briere personally, and I know the character that these two guys have. I know the passion that they have for the game. I know their intelligence when it comes to the game. I have full confidence that they’re going to get this thing turned around. How quickly that is I think is up for debate, but there’s no question that these guys have studied other teams, they’ve been around hockey a long time, and they know what it takes to build a team that is of championship caliber.

I think they’re a team that’s going to have some bumps in the road, there’s no question about that, at times. But you draft well, you develop well, things can turn around pretty quickly. We’ve seen in some other organizations that the turnaround has been fairly quick. Hopefully, here in Philadelphia, it won’t take too long before we’re playing important games long into the spring.

(Photo of Brian Boucher interviewing Kevin Hayes for NBC Sports Network in 2020: Len Redkoles / NHLI via Getty Images)

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