With the Predators leading the Penguins 3-1 Monday night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the public address announcer in Nashville informed the crowd with his deep and distinguished voice that there was one minute left in the second period. And the sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena responded, “thanks Paul.”
In third period, the hometown PA announcer informed the fans, who were even louder as their beloved Preds were about to even the series at 2-2, that there was one minute left in the game and the sold-out crowd responded again, “thanks Paul” – just like they do in every period of every game.
Paul is Paul McCann of Pennsauken. He is the Nashville Predators arena announcer.
“Yeah it's a rush when 17,000 people say thank you to you, it's wild,” said McCann, who has been living near Nashville for almost 30 years now.
After an empty netter gave the Predators a 4-1 win over the Penguins Monday, McCann enjoyed serenading the ecstatic fans and sending them home with his customary end of game blessing, "Good Night, Good Hockey."
“I grew up listening to Gene Hart and Don Earle,” McCann said about the famed Flyers television commentators during the 1970’s. “And Gene Hart ended every game that way.
“I really learned the game from listening to Gene Hart.”
McCann, 56, played hooky from school to go to the Flyer’s Stanley Cup parade in 1975. He is obviously hoping for a parade in Music City.
This series returns to Pittsburgh on Thursday and then McCann will be back behind the microphone in Nashville for Game Six on Sunday. A possible Game 7 is back in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
McCann, who grew up on 46th St. in Pennsauken, took voice lessons while going to elementary school at St. Cecilia’s. He wanted to be a singer and an actor.
When suggested he could sing between periods in Nashville, McCann laughed and said, “We have plenty of country stars.”
At Camden Catholic High School, he was an annual star in the various plays.
“I used to call games at Camden Catholic,” recalled McCann, also announces the starting lineups and goal scorers during Predators games. “I did the PA for the basketball games.
“I remember having a record player under the stands and playing music in between periods.”
While in high school, McCann started working as a disc jockey at South Jersey nightclubs and also landed some radio voice jobs.
He moved to Nashville with his wife, Denise, in 1988 for a nightclub gig.
“I was in the club life for quite a few years,” McCann said. “I did that in high school.
In 1998, he started attending Predators games as a fan.
“We've been season ticket holder's since the first year,” McCann said.
He auditioned for the public announcing job in the summer of 2006. He made his debut in September for a preseason game and has been a crowd favorite since.
“This is Southeastern Conference football territory,” McCann said. “Growing up, there really wasn't college football, so moving down here, I had never seen SEC stuff, so it was nuts.
“That same thing we kind of brought in with the Predators. These guys are just noisy as hell all the time.”
McCann, who works full-time for Artemetrx Speciality Drug Solutions, also hosts the SlapShot Radio Show with Predators broadcaster Pete Weber. The podcasts can be heard on SoundCloud
“My wife and I own the radio show SlapShot,” said McCann, who also does voice work for TV and radio commercials as well as videos and books.
McCann and his wife, who have three adult children, also organize an annual trip for fans.
“We went on a road trip last year, we took about 40 people to see the Predators play the Coyotes,” said McCann, who is planning a trip to Las Vegas this season. “We just go out and enjoy ourselves.”
The fans just don’t thank him for the fun trip, but they also thank Paul three times each home game.
“We joke about this being my retirement gig,” McCann said.