Doug McLeod, the colorful broadcaster best known for calling Minnesota hockey games, has died at age 70. The news was confirmed Saturday by friends who heard from his family in Scottsdale, Ariz., that he had died after struggling with heart issues.
McLeod was the TV voice for the North Stars for six seasons, including the 1990-91 team that lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. He also announced for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes and ventured outside of hockey, lending his booming voice to everything from St. Paul Saints baseball to Lynx basketball to Verne Gagne bouts.
But he's best remembered by local fans for his long-time association with the Gophers men's hockey team, serving as play-by-play announcer for 16 consecutive seasons, starting in 1978. He returned to the role at Fox Sports North from 2012 to 2019.
"I would call him flamboyant," said Frank Mazzocco, who currently calls hockey for the Gophers Radio Network. "He would keep his audience laughing, When someone did something good on the ice, he'd say, 'Buy that man a five-dollar cigar.' "
McLeod's free-wheeling style could get him in trouble. He was pulled from the air in 2019 after referring to "lynching ropes" during the high school boys hockey championships. He later apologized.
"If you know me and my work, you know that I may be capable of bad humor but never bad intent," he wrote after the incident.
McLeod was replaced by FSN later that year.
Dave Wright praised his longtime friend for his approach to the game — and to life.
"He may not be the guy who could explain the intricacies of a power play, but he could give you a great description of one," said Wright, the former sports information director at Hamline University. "He was a character in a business without a lot of characters."
Details of services are pending.