Dan Hannigan, the play-by-play radio voice of University of Maine hockey for the past 23 years, is stepping down to pursue other interests.
Hannigan, 52, has decided to accept a job working at a French language immersion school run by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Willy and Elizabeth LeBihan, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Hannigan will handle marketing, promotion and have an administrative role at the school, which is modeled after the couple’s South Freeport school, L’ecole Francais Du Maine.
Hannigan got his break during the summer before the 1995-96 season, when WZON was looking for a new radio voice for UMaine hockey. He had never broadcast a hockey game before, but cobbled together an audition tape by sitting in front of a TV screen and creating a call while watching a UMaine playoff game from the previous year.
He got the gig.
Among those who preceded Hannigan as play-by-play voices for UMaine hockey: longtime broadcaster Joe Carr and Gary Thorne, who now does play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles.
“They were big shoes to fill, and I know that in everybody’s mind I wasn’t filling them for quite a while. I kind of wore [fans] down, I think,” Hannigan said with a laugh. “Everybody just finally said, ‘He’s here to stay, I guess.’”
Hannigan will continue to live at his home in Kittery, but will split time between southern Maine and Florida while working at the school, which will open in September.
Since 2014 Hannigan has also handled TV play-by-play duties on UMaine hockey and football broadcasts on WVII-TV in Bangor. He will also give up the TV football gig.
Hannigan said that he covered plenty of memorable games, but he will most miss the places he got to visit and the people he was fortunate enough to meet.
“It’s always a great rush to be able to do the game, the excitement of the event,” he said. “But the part I will miss will be seeing [broadcast partner] Larry [Mahoney] every weekend, and seeing Red [Gendron], or whoever was coaching Maine at the time … and all the people in and around the program you get to meet and know over such a long period of time.”
Hannigan was broadcasting during a golden era of the sport at UMaine, as the Black Bears won one of their two national titles, and appeared in another five Frozen Fours.
“Just the opportunity to do all those playoff games over the years, big games in different arenas, [was great]. I’ve seen an awful lot of hockey games as a result,” Hannigan said.
Justin Barnes, the general manager of Black Bear Sports Properties, which owns the rights to UMaine sports broadcasts, had nothing but praise for the longtime broadcaster.
“I really can’t say enough about Dan’s skill as a broadcaster and quality as a human being,” Barnes said. “He just was the best. We will miss him.”
Barnes said there’s a number of broadcasters in Maine who might make a good fit to fill Hannigan’s slot. He expects to have a new hockey voice on board by mid-August.
“We’re working with the school to see what our path will be. I think we’ve got some talent in the stable that we could call up,” Barnes said. “So I don’t think we’ll be doing a national search at this point.”
For the past 15 seasons Hannigan has teamed up with BDN sportswriter Mahoney on Black Bear broadcasts. He also owns Cod Rock Media Productions with Eric Frede. Frede and Hannigan are both former sports anchors at Bangor’s WVII-TV.
Hannigan is a native of Scarsdale, New York, and played two years of football at Dartmouth College.
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