First Black Hockey Announcer Passes Away
Broadcaster and former Santa Monica College student Mike Lockert, who was the first African-American to do play-by-play
announcing for professional hockey, passed away on February 27 in Indiana. He was 43.
Lockert was born September 25, 1965, in Los Angeles. Aside from playing baseball and hockey a youth, Lockert grew up a rooting
for the Kings and Dodgers, and was a passionate fan of USC football.
In a 2008 article with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's website, Lockert said of his youth: "Following the Los Angeles Kings was fun when I was younger. Not because I understood the game
immediately or even laced up a pair of skates."
He continued: "The reason the game was fun, was because the announcer made every rush up the ice sound exciting. He made every goal sound like a playoff goal and every tight game seemed to be the seventh game of the Stanley Cup.
Despite the poor performance of the Kings, the game was a rush and I was taken in by the words and the pictures. It was around that time in my life I realized that what Kings' announcer Bob Miller was doing
was exactly what I wanted to do."
With his career in focus, Lockert attended John Muir High School and SMC, and received a broadcasting degree f rom Cal i fornia State University, Los Angeles.
During his time at SMC, Lockert was under the tutelage of professor Lou Riggs.
"He was just an outstanding individual," said Riggs. "Anyone who met Mike would have considered him an immediate friend. As the
years went on, I considered him a colleague, not a student. He was the ultimate professional when it came to his work, but his personality made him someone I won't forget," said Riggs.
He also said that Lockert was a part of one his most successful groups of students at SMC. One of those students was Lockert's best friend, Kellie Sala. "Michael did what he loved," said Sala. "He was phenomenal as
a broadcaster and was a wonderfully calming influence," said Sala.
After college, Lockert began his work in radio. According to Tom Hoffarth in an article in the Los Angeles Daily Times, "Lockert subbed as a host and did reports on several sports-talk shows in L.A. some 15 years ago, doing UCLA pre- and post-game shows, as well as Clippers halftime
reports at several L.A. stations." Lockert did radio play-by-play announcing for numerous minor league hockey teams and baseball teams throughout the country,
including the Southern Illinois Miners and the South Bend Silver Hawks.
Lockert made history in 2000 when he became the first African-American to do play-by-play for professional hockey as he announced
for the Huntington Blizzard in West Virginia.
In 2002 Lockert was named the radio play-by-play announcer for the Notre Dame hockey team, where he remained until his death.