Remembering LA Kings’ announcer David Courtney

David Courtney LA Kings MayorsManorSadly, David Courtney passed away earlier today at the age of 56.

Best known as the Public Address Announcer for the Kings – a post he held for nearly 25 seasons – Courtney’s voice was also heard at just about every sporting event in Los Angeles at one time or another. He had worked for the Rams (NFL), Angels (MLB) and Clippers (NBA), plus covered All-Star Games, the World Series and the Stanley Cup Final.

Per his bio on LAKings.com, Courtney was born in New York City and moved to Los Angeles in 1963. He saw his first Kings game in 1968 on a school field trip and fell in love with the sport. At first, he wanted to be an off-ice official and even wrote to then-NHL President Clarence Campbell to offer his services. In 1971, at age 14, he was given a job as a “go-fer” in the Kings’ Public Relations Department.

Over the next seven years, he assisted in the press box, filled in as a locker room stick boy, ran the scoreboard, wrote press releases and coordinated player appearances. He even learned how to drive the Zamboni!

Then, for a few years, Courtney briefly left the Kings to become PR Director for the Houston Aeros of the WHA. When they folded he eventually did some announcing for the Houston Rockets, USFL Gamblers and shared the job for the Houston Astros. But, the Kings and hockey remained his first love. So, in 1985, he returned to the organization at the urging of friend and mentor, Bob Miller.

In addition to the teams named above, Courtney had also announced at least one or more games for the Lakers, Dodgers, Raiders, USC football, UCLA basketball and the Pac-10 basketball tournament.

Truly, the voice of Los Angeles sports.

He is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney, and thousands of admiring fans.

“David was tremendously passionate about the Kings, our fans and the game of hockey,” said Kings President Luc Robitaille. “His time with the Kings dates back to the mid 1970s both in our PR office as our public relations director and also with work he did in our video department before he took over full-time Public Announcing duties at the Forum and STAPLES Center. In the arena he was an institution – he was the voice of the Kings – and his work added so much to the live, in-game experience for our fans as it did for the Clippers and Angels as well. Next season would have been David’ 35th year with our franchise, and on behalf of the entire Kings organization and AEG we are incredibly saddened by this news and we send our deepest condolences to his wife Janet and the rest of the Courtney family.”

Tribute video produced by KingsVision:

Video of one of the final Kings games he ever announced – Game 3 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final:

His story, told in his own words, from his facebook page:

“The heartwarming — and ongoing — story of a Boy and his Microphone! Veteran P.A. Voice of the Kings (24 years), Angels (19) and Clippers (5). 20-year Total Traffic Networks (formerly Metro Networks) Traffic (790 KABC, AM-830 KLAA & KOLA 99.9) and sports anchor.

I had the great fortune of being raised around the television business. as my father, Alan, was a V.P. of NBC at 30 Rock in the 50’s & 60’s, and President of MGM’s Television Division through the 70’s. Through this I met so many great performers and influences — Steve Allen, Jackie Gleason (called me when I was a sick child… that’ll cure you fast) Gene Rayburn, Gary Owens, Bob Newhart, MTM and so many others.

Then there are the personalities in sports I have worked around and with since I was a teen, starting with Bob Miller and Chick Hearn. Sit next to them in a press box for a few years and see if you don’t learn something. Of course, John Ramsey taught me everything I know about P.A. Announcing and I have been blessed to sit behind four of the microphones he manned for so many years.

Growing up, I wanted to be Johnny Olson and, fortunately, I was given a voice to work with. Still waiting for my game show break but in the meantime, happy that I found my niche announcing for sports teams and events.

Along with my daily work on the radio, I get the occasional movie (Tooth Fairy, Angels in the Outfield, 61* and Home Improvement) and commercial voice over. I could probably do better if I had an agent (hello?) but so far so good.

All ALMOST as great as finding the love of my life — Janet. We were married October 16, 2010, in front of family and friends at Lake Mission Viejo where we live. It was the first (and last) marriage for both of us and definitely worth the wait!”

Finally, here’s what he listed as his favorite quotes:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening and welcome to Staples Center/Angel Stadium…” — Me

“Nothing is impossible… until you try it yourself. Then, have Google handy.” — Me

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” — Patches O’Houlihan

“You shouldn’t hang me on a hook, Johnny. My father hung me on a hook once. Once!” — Danny Vermin

“Well, icing happen when the puck come down, bang, you know, before the other guys, nobody there, you know. My arm go comes out, then the game stop then start up. High-sticking happen when the guy take the stick, you know, and he go like that. You don’t do that. Oh, no. Never, never. Against the rules. You stupid when you do that, some English pig with no brains… All bad. You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes by yourself, and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.” — Denis Lemieux, Charlestown Chiefs Goaltender

UPDATE – we did a special MayorsManor show on Friday, November 30th – a Tribute to David Courtney with Bob Miller (LA Kings) and Dave Joseph (ESPN 710) – be sure to listen to that show here

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Comments

  1. Very saddened to read this. R.I.P. David, you will be missed. I can’t even imagine going to Staples from now on and hearing someone else over the PA. Thoughts go out to your family.

  2. Ross LaDrillo says:

    terribly sad news…I’m glad he was able to see the Kings finally win, but will miss not hearing him announce them as “your Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings”.

  3. John Van Gaston says:

    Do we know how he passed away?

    • John Hoven says:

      Believed to be a pulmonary embolsim. He tweeted last night that he was “in the hospital waiting for an angiogram.”

      • katherine wichmann zacharias says:

        OMG! So sad, he will be missed, I cannot imagine hearing anyone elses voice either

  4. A sad day, indeed. Rest in peace, David. :'(

  5. Alan Abrams says:

    I used to referee hockey games with Dave in the late 80’s/early 90’s. He was a terrific guy and wonderful officiating partner.

    He will certainly be missed by all.

  6. historyguy says:

    So very sad today. The only comfort is that his last Kings call was winning the Cup.

  7. Rudy Zappa Martinez says:

    So very sad. R.I.P. buddy. You left here a champion.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Here’s more from John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor. Condolences to Courtney’s wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney, and his family. […]

  2. […] did a full article on his passing here. Be sure to check out if you haven’t already, as it includes several videos, his favorite […]