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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mike Fornes Interview: Introduction

Mike Fornes was the first Caps TV announcer I ever heard and I always thought of him as a good announcer.   Further, I consider him to be an important part of Caps history as he called games during the "glory years" of the mid-to-late 1980's.

Then the team "let him go" in 1990 and there hasn't been much communication between him and the organization since. Further, it is the Caps' former radio play-by-play man, Ron Weber, who has seemingly assumed the role of announcer who Caps fans fondly remember.

And that's fine.  Because Ron Weber rules.  He's awesome.  And he should still be announcing.  Weber was just inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 and won the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.  Deservedly so.

But I've always felt that Mike Fornes never got his due.  He was pretty damn good too!  Even today when the Caps score I can hear his famous call in the back of my head,

"A shot!  And a goal!"

If Ron Weber was the guy who tucked us children into bed at night during the 3rd period, then Mike Fornes was the guy who told the bedtime story on WDCA Channel 20 or HTS during the first two periods.

(In my case, I don't think my family got HTS until after Mike Fornes left DC, so he'll always be on WDCA 20 in my mind).

So, I figured, "Why not?"  Let me see if I can get some phone time with Mike Fornes.  Let me see if he will talk and what he has to say.

I did get a hold of him and thankfully he was willing to talk.

I share a few of my thoughts on the interview below and the interview itself is on subsequent posts.  Hope you enjoy what Mike Fornes has to say!

On Friday morning (March 25th, 2011) at around 11:20 a.m. I spent a good 50 minutes on the phone with former Caps TV Announcer Mike Fornes.

First of all, given that my blog is new and not well-known I think it was especially gracious of Mike Fornes to do this interview.  You can also add that not only is my blog new, but there were no interviews that preceded his.

So, he had no way to evaluate my work yet still spoke with me.  It was an extremely pleasant conversation and he shared an abundance of insights with me (hockey and broadcasting related).

My challenge is to do the conversation I had with him justice and get it properly into blog-form.  It seems like for every answer he gave there could have been an infinite discussion or countless follow-up questions.

I did my best to cover a broad variety of topics and get as much detail as possible. I split the interview into two parts:  1) his overall broadcasting career and 2) his time with the Capitals.

Hopefully this interview gives you more insight into Mike Fornes' career and brings back positive memories of the mid-to-late 80's Capitals.

Again, I get it, the Caps still haven't won the Stanley Cup.  But my conversation with Mike Fornes helped me remember that the Caps teams back then were still pretty special.

Langway, Hunter, Stevens, Hatcher, Murphy (hey, he assisted Hunter!), Ciccarelli, Gartner, Gustafsson, Christian, Ridley, Courtnall, Druce, Franceschetti, Gould, Miller, on and on and on and on........

Good Lord!  How the hell did the Caps NOT win the Stanley Cup??????

It is easy to forget the time that preceded our playoff rivalry with the Penguins.  The Caps have faced the Penguins 8 times in the playoffs.

But the Caps' first-ever playoff series with Pittsburgh was following the 90/91 regular season.  Mike Fornes' last season with the Caps was the 89/90 season.

In his era, it was other Patrick Division teams like the Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, and Devils that battled with Washington in the playoffs.

Mike Fornes is now "retired and living in Northern Michigan".  For me, though, he will always be the guy who called Caps games on TV when I grew up and started getting into the team.

(As an aside, I will say that the current Mike Fornes was unfamiliar with our Mike Fornes' appearance in the new NHL Playoffs commercial, "Amends", and thought that the ad was cool.)

What's cool is:


Mike Fornes also says that while he has fond memories of working with Al Koken and Ron Weber, he is not actively in touch with either of them (just statement of fact, I'm not trying to imply anything went down).

Anyway, enough background.  You came here to read what Mike Fornes has to say. Please enjoy the interview and feel free to let me know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. I just across your blog today while I was searching for Mike Fornes' call of Dale Hunter's OT goal against the Flyers (I was reminded of it when Dale was hired as the Caps' HC today). That's cool that Mike was willing to talk to you for almost an hour. Seems like a great guy.