Bob Irving retiring after almost 50 years as voice of Winnipeg Blue Bombers

An iconic Winnipeg sportscaster will soon hang up his mic. After almost five decades as the voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 680 CJOB’s Bob Irving is retiring. Abigail Turner reports.

An iconic Winnipeg sportscaster will soon hang up his mic.

After almost five decades as the voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 680 CJOB’s Bob Irving is retiring. His last game will be the team’s final home game of the season — their appearance in the CFL’s West Final on Dec. 5.

In honour of Irving’s legendary career as the Bombers’ play-by-play announcer, the team is dedicating the game to him, and will host a pre-game ceremony to recognize his contributions.

Irving — nicknamed “Knuckles” — arrived at 680 CJOB  in 1973 and began his remarkable run as the voice of the Bombers the following year, racking up more than 800 games over his career. He’s been inducted into the Blue Bomber and Canadian Football Halls of Fame, had the team’s media centre named after him, and was appointed to the Order of Manitoba.

“Bob Irving has been synonymous with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for parts of six decades,” said Winnipeg Football Club President and CEO Wade Miller.

“Bob has made a lasting mark with his contribution to the organization. He has been a tireless supporter of the Blue Bombers and a passionate advocate for Manitoba and the Canadian Football League.

“We’re fortunate to have been able to listen to Bob for as long as we have and wish him the best in an incredibly well-deserved retirement.”

Miller encouraged Bombers fans to get out to the Dec. 5 game early so they can check out the team’s tribute to their long-time broadcaster.

“We look forward to doing something special for him before the West Final in the last game he’ll call at IG Field,” said Miller.

“We’re going to honour Bob Irving like he should be — I’m not sure there’s anything we actually can do that would honour somebody who’s been around the team for 50 years — that’s pretty amazing, and I don’t think you’ll ever see that again.”

Former Bomber great Milt Stegall said Irving was respected by everyone around the team and the sport.

“There’s so many great things I respect and love about Bob…. I’ll call him Mr. Irving, because that’s how much respect I have,” said Stegall, a hall of fame receiver who is now a broadcaster in his own right.

“He’s that guy who can ask that tough question and make you not feel bad. Bob would come in and say, ‘hopefully you don’t mind me asking this question — it’s a tough one but it needs to be asked.’

“He always had a smile on his face, no matter what was going on — and you knew with Bob he was somebody who was respected and who was always respecting you.”

Read more:
Bob Irving hosts the annual Winnipeg Blue Bomber Winter Special on CJOB

Bob Irving in the broadcast booth at IG Field

Bob Irving in the broadcast booth at IG Field

Global News File

Irving said his career as a broadcaster was an example of “living the dream.” Despite his other work talking sports on-air, his gig as the voice of the Bombers was the high point.

“I’ve been lucky to live my dream of being a sports broadcaster at one of the best radio stations in Canada,” he said.

“In nearly five decades at CJOB, I’ve covered a range of sports, anchoring morning sports for nearly 50 years, but the icing on the cake has been the chance to be the voice of the Bombers.

“I’m grateful for the tremendous support of my wife Daye, who has had my back every step of the way, and my kids, Kyle, Reid and Ashleigh, who provided similar support. It’s now time to hang up the mic and join Daye in exploring what the rest of our years have in store.”

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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