They had a solid, professional relationship that began as protege and mentor before quickly turning into one of a life-lasting friendship. As the public address announcer for the Los Angeles Kings, Dave Joseph owes his success to his late friend David Courtney in this poignant exclusive.
When he took over as the full-time P.A. announcer in time for the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL campaign, Joseph entered his new role on a bittersweet note. While he was now starting his dream job in a permanent capacity, it was in the wake of David Courtney’s untimely death just months earlier. I recently spoke with Joseph where he agreed that the circumstances of his new role were difficult to say the least.
“It definitely was, and the term that I’ve used all through the process is ‘bittersweet’,” Joseph said. “David was a friend of mine, a good friend of mine. We worked together for many years. We worked together in radio, we worked together at Metro Networks in Los Angeles for many years, which is how I got to know David personally.”
Joseph then discussed how his relationship with Mr. Courtney progressed to the point where the protege was finding his groove thanks to opportunities given by the mentor.
“David taught me so much,” Joseph emphasized. “And it actually started because David was the voice of pretty much everything in Los Angeles and was doing P.A. for the Long Beach Ice Dogs in the IHL at the time — then they went to the WCHL then the ECHL — and David was doing Kings games at the time too and he would have conflicts with the Ice Dogs and Kings. So, a lot of times, David would ask me — and this is how it started — if I would cover public address for the Ice Dogs because he had the Kings games. So, I would do the Long Beach Ice Dogs games’ public address for him because he was at STAPLES Center doing the Kings games in the early 2000’s. So, he kind of took me under his wing from then and showed me, ‘This is how you do things, this is how I do things. You don’t have to do this exactly how I do it but this is how I’ve always done it.’
“Then, there were more opportunities as he was also the P.A. announcer for the Angels, and he would have some conflicts between the Angels and Kings in September and October and so I would fill in if there was an Angels playoff game, I would fill in for him at the Kings and he taught me how to do that, and he would give me all of his notes, go over how he does pronunciations, all the things you do when going into public address.
“So, I learned from David both personally and how to handle yourself, who to speak to, how to speak to people but also how to speak to a crowd, which I had done in the past but really, he brought it up several notches. He taught me how to professional in front of whether it’s 5,000, 10,000 or 18,000 as it is at STAPLES Center. So, I learned a lot from David.”
As Joseph continued, he held back tears but was able to carry on like a pro.
“It was so hard to see him pass. It was one of the tougher times in my life,” an emotional Joseph said. “I learned a lot from him in the radio industry, I learned a lot from him in public address and, among other things, David was a great mentor to me, he was a great friend and certainly not circumstances where you want to take over, especially for someone who passes away and I miss him every day.”
This writer admits that when the 2013 season began, it was an adjustment listening to a voice that wasn’t David Courtney’s announce, for instance, goals scored at STAPLES Center. But, like anything in life, we get used to change and learn to embrace it. Many fans have even admitted to Joseph that his transition into the public address role was not an easy one to accept under the circumstances. Joseph, though, was a consummate professional in his overall reaction to said opinions and even goes as far as taking those missing Mr. Courtney as a compliment.
“People tell me all the time, ‘Hey, you’re in a tough spot taking over for David Courtney but we appreciate what you do. We didn’t like you at first but now you’ve really grown on us,'” Joseph noted. “Or some people say, ‘I wish David Courtney was still here,’ and I don’t take that as an insult because my answer is, ‘I do too.’
“You know, I wish I didn’t– I wish David didn’t have to pass for me to get this job. I wish David was still around. So, you can take that in bad way but I don’t. I take it as a compliment. People loved David Courtney. He was here for such a long time and he did such a great job and I feel the same way. I wish he was still doing the job to be honest with you because he was so great.”
As far as Joseph is concerned, there is no reason not to take those wishing that Mr. Courtney was still here as a compliment. After all, with the impact Mr. Courtney had on the lives of Kings fans, that is especially the case for Dave Joseph who continues to speak reverentially of his friend.
“He really, really taught me a lot and I owe him a lot for that,” Joseph concluded.
The mentorship and, more importantly, the friendship between David Courtney and Dave Joseph is just one of the many stories which contribute to the solid bond that is the Los Angeles Kings family. Similar to that of the fans, Mr. Courtney will forever live on with Dave Joseph, fondly remembering that bond that is so rarely duplicated. So, whenever he announces a Kings goal, a star of the game or even the final minute of a period, be sure to appreciate Mr. Joseph not only for what he does now but the road he took to get here and the special relationships he had along the way. You can be sure that Mr. Joseph appreciates that every day, and will do so for the rest of his life.