"He shoots, he scores!"
Dan D'Uva said those words 268 times over the last six months as part of the Vegas Golden Knights' unexpectedly successful regular season.
D'Uva is the radio announcer for the Golden Knights.
A 32-year-old East Coast native, he's been a sports play-by-play announcer for years.
It's been a long journey getting there.
Even before high school, he would make practice tapes, watching and calling baseballs games in the basement of his parents New Jersey home.
"I always talked a lot, and you realize at some point your playing skills are not going to get you much beyond high school," D'Uva said. "And talking about sports, perhaps, would be a good path."
Gymnastics, wrestling football, baseball, hockey -- D'Uva says over his relatively new career, he's done play-by-play for them all. He got a break a few years ago calling for the NHL's minor-league team, the Trenton Devils.
He was one of what was reported as a few hundred radio announcers applicants for the Golden Knights' job.
His announcing style is not like some others'. He doesn't groan over a bad call and doesn't bad mouth players from the other team. He says he tells it like it is, trying to create pictures for the listener so they can see what he sees.
"It's objectivity, fairness and accuracy," D'Uva says of his style. "Will I get a bit more excited when it's the Golden Knights over the other team? Yeah, maybe. But to me, it is about reporting. I'm a journalist. I just happen to be broadcasting sports. But I don't think it serves the listener well to describe something other than the most accurate, objective and fair way that I can."
But Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert. It's had minor-league hockey, but never a big-league team. So with the Golden Knights' success, people who have never thought about hockey are tuning in. Does he try to explain relatively obscure penalties like icing and offsides to those newbies?
"I didn't want to talk down to anyone, or talk over anyone," he says. "And I think it's context clues. I think you can provide that understanding of the rule […] without seeming like it's in a classroom.
"By describing it -- theater of the mind -- someone can picture it. 'Oh, the puck went here so that means this.' And in the course of play, by simply describing accurately what's going on, context clues […] would allow the listener to understand it more."
D'Uva sees his role as a storyteller. And during this first NHL season for the Vegas Golden Knights, he's telling one of the most compelling stories in sports.
"This is the first year and they could go on for 50, 100 years and they could go on to win 100 Stanley Cups," he says. "But there will be nothing to compare to year one. And to have the responsibility to tell that story on the radio is truly an honor."
D'Uva won't end the interview without crediting other team staff "who have conspired to create a truly incredible -- and I don't use that word lightly – and unbelievable season of hockey.
"And we're not quite over yet."
(Editor's note: This story originally aired May 2018)
Dan D'Uva, radio announcer, Vegas Golden Knights
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.