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March 24, 2023

Steve Coates, energetic Flyers broadcaster, to retire after 43 years with team

The radio and TV announcer, better known as Coatesy, had a career filled with funny moments tangential to hockey

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Steve Coates Retirement Flyers Source/Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers broadcaster Steve Coates, 77, will retire after 43 years calling games on TV and radio.

The breakneck pace of Flyers broadcasts has been guided for more than four decades by the voice of Steve Coates, whose boundless enthusiasm is matched only by his flare for off-script, unpredictable moments.

Coatesy, as he came to be nicknamed, announced Friday that he's retiring from broadcasting. He plans to remain active with the Flyers through team events and the alumni network after the 2022-23 season.

"Serving as the voice of the team for all my years, the one thing that is undeniable is that the Flyers logo means something special to all of us," Coates said. "For me, it represents a community whose passion for their team is unequalled year after year. You are the heartbeat of this team and I thank you for welcoming me into your lives."

Coates, 77, joined the Flyers broadcasting team in 1980 after hanging up his skates, having briefly played in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings and later in the AHL and IHL. He called Flyers games on both TV and radio networks, including a 16-year stint on telecasts for the former Comcast SportsNet. Coates has been the team's radio color analyst on 97.5 The Fanatic and 93.3 WMMR for the last nine years.

The team plans to honor Coates with a pre-game ceremony on April 1 before the Flyers face the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center.

As a broadcaster, Coates has always played things fast and loose. He could alternate from sharp hockey insights and rants about questionable calls to quirky, off-topic musings during slower games, or when the Flyers were getting massacred. Flyers beat writers and fans always noticed. 

Coates' personality stands out in some ways because he conveys a mix of old-school, broadcasting formality and zany energy that's unique to the high-octane culture of hockey.

There are a number of great moments that illustrate this throughout Coatesy's career.

During one of his "Coatesy's Corner" interviews, Coates dressed up as Santa Claus and had a silly interaction with then-Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. It unfolds with the same goofy, Canadian spirit found in interviews done by Nardwuar, the over-the-top music maven who chats with famous rappers and rock bands.

More recently, on another "Coatesy's Corner" in 2020, former NHL player Rob Ray repeatedly slammed Coates into the glass during a Flyers Alumni Virtual Wine Night.

And one of Coatesy's all-time best reactions came during a post-game interview with a fan who dropped the F-bomb during a TV broadcast.

Coates' retirement comes during a period of transition for the wayward Flyers, who just fired general manager Chuck Fletcher amid mounting frustration from the fanbase. Even Coates, a longtime face of the organization, struggled to deal with the turmoil and mood around the team as the wheels came loose over the last month. Before Fletcher was ousted, Coates attempted to quell the anger of season ticket holders during a team event.

Comcast Spectacor Chairman and Flyers Governor Dave Scott praised Coates in a team statement on Friday, thanking him for his years of service to the organization.

"There's no doubt that Coatesy is one of the sharpest analysts in hockey, whether its breaking down a game, a player, or situation, but his impact on the Flyers has been much greater than that," Scott said. "What makes Coatesy truly unique is his ability to connect with everyone he meets through his infectious and welcoming personality - that's why he will always be beloved by our players, coaches, and fans. I am lucky to call Coatesy a friend, and he will always be part of the Flyers family."

The Flyers will begin their search for a new color analyst this summer, the team said.