A fixture of the New York sports scene is calling it quits. After covering and broadcasting hockey games for more than 60 years, Stan Fischler has decided to step back from the game he loves. NY1's Alyse Barker filed the following report:
For more than six decades, Stan Fischler has been writing about, and broadcasting, hockey games -- a remarkable run, that’s about to end.
Now 86 years old, his last scheduled broadcast is Thursday night, the final Islanders home game of the year.
"I didn't think it would happen,” he says. “I never, never dreamt it."
Fischler’s love affair with hockey began in 1939 when his father took him to a minor league game at the old Madison Square Garden. He was seven years old.
"I said, ‘Oh, this hockey thing ain’t too bad.' We went to another hockey game and I never stopped going."
He began taking notes in the empty white space of game programs, a practice he still does today. At Brooklyn College, he started a Rangers newsletter, allowing him to interview players after games. When he graduated in 1954, the Rangers made an offer he could not refuse.
"He said, ‘How would you like to come and work for the Rangers?’ I said, ‘Of course I would. This was going to Hockey Heaven."
After that first season ended, Fischler was hired by the old Journal-American newspaper. He covered everything from show business, to City Hall, leading him to another love.
"I did transit and that is what led to me doing subway books later on. That is my other passion with hockey - the subways. "
As the NHL expanded, adding franchises on Long Island and in New Jersey, Fischler expanded, too, covering all three metropolitan-area teams and becoming a fixture on the MSG channel.
But he never stopped writing.
Fischler has authored nearly 100 hockey books, many with his late wife, Shirley, earning the nickname, “The (Hockey) Maven.”
"As the years went by and I got older, I took on the aspect of a historian, and you know how you become a historian, you gotta be old!´ he laughs.
And what history he has seen -- living the dream of every New York hockey fan.
“What a kick to be able to cover the Islanders winning four straight almost five (Stanley Cups), and the Rangers and Devils, I covered all three Devils cups. I mean, how can you beat that? And I was still getting in for nothing!
Fischler will now get to spend more time with another love: his five grandchildren.
"There will be hockey but I will also be with family," he says.
He plans to continue writing about hockey, and is not ruling out appearing on television in some capacity.
So while The Maven is retiring… he is not hanging up his skates just yet.