Memories of Alan Roach and the Sky Sox
For those who have listened to 850 KOA radio for any amount of time, sports anchor Alan Roach is a familiar name. His booming voice is unmistakable.
But Roach is more than a radio guy. He was the long-time public address announcer of the Colorado Rockies. He is the PA announcer for the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Broncos. In addition, he has served as the PA announcer for eight consecutive Super Bowls and numerous Olympic hockey events.
But did you know that Roach’s first PA announcing job was with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox? Roach was hired in 1990 to fill in for the team’s PA announcer, who was on vacation. At the time, Roach was working as a disc jockey for KKFM. His on-air name while spinning discs was Kelly O’Shea.
Much like the famed Wally Pipp-Lou Gehrig scenario, Roach was so good he was asked to stay on permanently. The “old” PA announcer never got his job back.
“He was head and shoulders above anyone else we ever heard,” said Marty Grantz, the long-time official scorer of the Sky Sox. “He was quick enough and smart enough to get it. Real savvy. He understood the makeup of the event as a whole.”
Roach was an instant hit with Sky Sox fans and players. So much so that it didn’t take long for him to be noticed by those in more influential positions.
“I just remember talking to him through the open scoreboard window between rooms during games,” recalled Dave Hostetler, who worked the scoreboard for the Sky Sox during Roach’s days in Colorado Springs.
Roach was hired as the Rockies’ first PA announcer prior to the start of their inaugural 1993 season when the team played at Mike High. In 14 seasons (through 2006) he missed just one Rockies home game. It occurred Saturday, June 9, 2001, when he announced the Avalanches’ historic Stanley Cup Game 7 win over the New Jersey Devils. Roach announced the post-game ceremony in which Joe Sakic famously handed the Stanley Cup to Ray Bourque.
In 2008, Roach became the Broncos’ PA announcer, replacing Alan Cass, who did the team’s home games for 20 seasons.
Roach was already the voice of NFL events worldwide at that point. He was the PA announcer for eight consecutive Super Bowls starting in 2006. He was bumped from his gig last month when the NFL rules prohibited him from working a game in which his team (the Broncos) was involved. The Broncos could have used his magic against the Seahwaks.
Roach is also the voice of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.
Travelers to Denver International Airport are also familiar with Roach. His voice is currently featured on the underground train system along with Denver television anchor Adele Arakawa.
I don’t know who the Sky Sox’s PA announcer will be this season, but whoever it is the bar has been set pretty high by Roach.
And to think, Roach once walked among us here in the Pikes Peak region. You just never know who will go onto greatness.