ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues are losing a big part of the family. Darren Pang, a longtime color commentator for St. Louis Blues broadcasts on Bally Sports Midwest, will join the Chicago Blackhawks broadcast team next season.
After 14 years in St. Louis, including countless “Holy Jumpin’!” calls and a 2019 Stanley Cup ride, Pang is finalizing a contract to join the rival Blackhawks, the same team that helped him burst onto the NHL scene as a goaltender decades ago.
Pang confirmed his departure Thursday with a heartfelt letter to St. Louis Blues fans and staff. “I’ll forever be indebted for my time with the Blues and Bally Sports Midwest. Thank you for everything,” he says in the letter.
Pang used the letter to reflect on his journey in St. Louis, which started with a phone call in 2009 around an Arizona golf trip. “It didn’t seem seem like a round of golf that would shape my future with another organization, but it did,” said Pang. That’s because Blues VP Mike Caruso joined him on the trip and found a great personality to fit the team’s culture.
Panger notes that Bruce Springsteen’s hit “Leap of Faith” reminds him most of the Blues run, even more than the team’s 2019 Stanley Cup anthem of Laura Branigan’s “Gloria.” He says a rebuilding Blues squad was on the verge of big playoff aspirations when he joined, and the role represented a “leap of faith” for him and the franchise.
In the letter, Pang gives credit to many for his memorable experience in St. Louis, starting with close TV broadcast partner John Kelly. He says radio and TV personalities Chris Kerber, Kelly Chase, Bernie Federko, Pat Parris, Scott Warmann and Alexa Datt all added to the experience. Pang says he also formed a special bond with Laila Anderson, a Blues superfan who battled a rare bone marrow disease. “What an inspiration and a great kid she is,” said Pang.
A few paragraphs later in Pang’s letter summarize his experience about as fondly as any:
“I always dreamt of winning the Stanley Cup as a player. It never happened in my brief playing career, but I have been on the ice as a national broadcaster for many. I’ve interviewed some of the greatest that have ever played the game and watched grown men cry in celebration.
When I arrived in St. Louis, a Stanley Cup seemed so far away. But as the years went on… there were some incredible playoff series. … There was a window, though, that I felt could lead to one or more Cups for the Blues. The culture with the players, the expectations after some great trades and then when Chief took over the reigns, it felt like they would never lose.
And the boys didn’t.”
Pang also spent some time on “NHL on TNT” broadcasts over the last few seasons while serving with Bally Sports Midwest. His contract with Bally Sports Midwest expired at the end of the 2022-23 season.
The Bally Sports Midwest Blues broadcast and analyst crew still includes John Kelly, Jamie Rivers, Bernie Federko, Scott Warmann and Alexa Datt. The Blues not Bally Sports Midwest have not yet disclosed who might fill Pang’s role as the lead color commentator.