web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



For Stan Fischler, ‘The Hockey Maven,’ It’s All About The Game – And Israel, Too

Stan Fischler

Stan Fischler

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – As the Boston Bruins buzzed the Islanders net throughout the opening period of a game at the Nassau Coliseum, Stan Fischler was standing 10 feet behind the Plexiglas to the left of New York goaltender Kevin Poulin.

Fischler, a hockey broadcaster for four decades, could feel the rattling boards of forechecking Bruins.

There’s no place he’d rather be.

Providing New York-area hockey fans with a bird’s-eye view and expert analysis is what Fischler, 81, has done on broadcasts of Islanders, Rangers and Devils games. He’s had a love affair with the sport since he was introduced to it quite by accident as a 7-year-old growing up in Brooklyn.

The hockey community in New York has returned the fondness, notably when the younger of his two sons, then a teenager, was critically ill with a heart malady.

“The Hockey Maven,” as Fischler has long been known, has a love affair, too, with Israel. He and his wife, Shirley, visit there each summer. And their younger son, Simon, now 35, lives on Kibbutz El Rom in the Golan Heights and blogs on diplomacy while also writing for Fischler’s hockey newsletter.

Simon, not surprisingly, taught the sport to his children at the ice rink in nearby Metulla.

He recalls his father asking him when he was 8 to find Israel on an atlas. The boy couldn’t, so dad pointed it out.

“That was one of my earliest memories: This is our land,” said Simon, who lives on the kibbutz with his wife and three children. “I thank him every day for it because I am extremely proud of my Jewish national heritage. It’s why I live in Israel.”

Stan Fischler says his mother, Molly, lost nearly all her relatives in the Holocaust in the former Czechoslovakia and that helps explain why his support of Jewish causes “revolves around the security of Israel.”

It was his mother – “Malka Devorah, I love that name; it’s very lyrical,” he says – who introduced 5-year-old Stan, her only child, to spectator sports, a Brooklyn Dodgers game they attended at Ebbets Field.

But two years later it was his father, Benjamin, who would bring Fischler to his first hockey game. They were intending to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” but emerging from the subway into torrential rain at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue, where Madison Square Garden then stood, the plans changed.

“Forget it,” said Benjamin, a big-time sports fan, in spurning the film, Fischler recalled. “We’ll go to the game.”

The Rangers’ minor league team, the Rovers, was taking on the Washington Eagles, and the bawling boy was hooked. After each Rovers game, Fischler would write a recap in his souvenir program. A hockey writer was born.

Several years later, at 10, Fischler first saw the real Rangers play. A sign in the Garden’s rotunda touting hockey as “The Fastest Game in the World,” along with the magical brew of indoor ice, sticks and skating, “really made an impression on me,” Fischler said.

Fischler would handle public relations for the Rangers, then work 20 years as a newspaper reporter before moving into broadcasting, first for the World Hockey Association’s New England Whalers and then the New York-area teams in the National Hockey League.

The opinionated broadcaster has won multiple Emmy Awards and, in 2007, the NHL’s Lester Patrick Trophy for advancing American hockey.

His love and knowledge of the game are apparent in the pregame and postgame shows he co-hosts for the New York area’s NHL teams on the MSG Network.

His producer, Glenn Petraitis, says Fischler has retained “the passion of a young person.”

“He obviously lives, eats and sleeps hockey,” Petraitis said. “He’s a passionate sports fan.”

Fischler just had his 100th book on the sport published. We Are the Rangers is an oral history of the team that tugged at Fischler’s heart as a boy growing up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Some of the books were co-authored with Shirley, with whom he lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (Their elder son, Ben, lives in Portland, Ore.) His subjects have included Hall of Fame players such as Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Stan Mikita and Rod Gilbert. Other books have been on coaches, teams, great moments and rivalries.

Fischler also has written well-received books on New York’s transit system and the old trolley lines in Brooklyn.

The epilogue of the new book tells of Simon needing a heart transplant in 1993. Fischler movingly writes of the Rangers’ then-coach Mike Keenan and then-goalie Mike Richter visiting his son – a diehard fan of the Islanders, the Rangers’ bitter rivals.

Unwritten was what Rod Gilbert told JTA: He also had come to the hospital, where he and Simon, sitting alone, discussed hockey and prayer.

That evening, an emotional Fischler phoned Gilbert, a friend since the player’s debut in 1960, with the news that a donor heart had become available.

“Call it coincidence, call it energy or whatever you want,” Gilbert said. “I was very grateful that he did successfully get a transplant.”

Told of Gilbert’s comments, Fischler says the visit came when Simon’s condition was dire.

“I did attach something positive to Rod Gilbert’s visit. Rod was basically doing some preaching, some talking about getting through his [own] medical experiences,” Fischler said. “When you’re in a situation like that, you welcome any source of hope.”

Another source was praying at the family synagogue in Manhattan.

The crisis wasn’t discussed on-air.

Viewers tune in to hear Fischler opine and inform on hockey – the sport he adored alone among his childhood pals in Williamsburg.

Fans strolling the Nassau Coliseum concourse during the Islanders-Bruins game stopped by the white picket fence delineating the set where Petraitis, Fischler and the broadcast’s other co-host, Peter Ruttgaizer, ply their trade.

They seek out Fischler to banter, ask questions and pose for photographs.

“You turn on MSG and there’s Stan,” said Kyle Hall, 25, after taking a picture with Fischler. “I only know things are true if Stan says so. He’s knowledgeable.”

Preparing for the pregame show, Fischler says, “It never stops being exciting because you never know what’s going to happen from game to game.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “For Stan Fischler, ‘The Hockey Maven,’ It’s All About The Game – And Israel, Too”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Indepth Stories

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

More Articles from Hillel Kuttler
Stan Fischler

Providing New York-area hockey fans with a bird’s-eye view and expert analysis is what Fischler, 81, has done on broadcasts of Islanders, Rangers and Devils games. He’s had a love affair with the sport since he was introduced to it quite by accident as a 7-year-old growing up in Brooklyn.

Eddie Gottlieb

Gottlieb, who immigrated as a boy from Kiev, Ukraine, was a founder, player and coach of one of the most important teams in basketball history: the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association club known by its acronym, the Sphas.

Dean Meminger sat in owner Irv Bader’s office at Camp Seneca Lake and talked of his girlfriend, her battle with lupus and their plans to marry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/for-stan-fischler-the-hockey-maven-its-all-about-the-game-and-israel-too/2014/04/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: