Brian Engblom didn’t know what to say to his longtime friend Dave Strader.
What do you say to someone, knowing it’s almost certainly the last time you will ever see or speak to them again?
Turns out, that last visit to see Strader in Glens Falls, N.Y., was the last time Engblom got the chance to speak to his longtime friend and former broadcast partner. Less than 36 hours after departing, Engblom received a text – Strader had passed away, finally losing his bout with cholangiocarcinoma, a form of cancer to the bile ducts.
”It was hard,’’ Engblom said. “It’s so sad.’’
Thursday was the first game ever played at the new Little Ceasers Arena in Detroit and Strader was originally tabbed to call the game on NBCSN, bringing him back to where his NHL career started in the Motor City. Next month, Strader was to be in Toronto as part of Hall of Fame weekend to accept the Foster Hewitt Award for his outstanding work in hockey broadcasting.
Instead, a memorial was held on Thursday for Strader in his hometown of Glen Falls with the funeral scheduled to take place on Friday to celebrate the life of a one of the most recognizable voices in hockey history, described by Mike “Doc” Emerick during a tribute on Wednesday as a “Hall of Fame Soul.’’.
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