The New York Islanders’ highest honor for one of its legendary players is displayed on banners that hang in the rafters of UBS Arena. Each of them has a tale to share about a player who made an enduring impression on the team.
How about the storytellers, though? How can a club recognize the media personalities who connect players and fans? The press level at UBS Arena will officially be named after Stan Fischler on Wednesday, which is arguably the highest honor a team can bestow upon a member of the media.
For 50 years, Fischler has been a constant among Islanders fans.
He participated in the Islanders’ inaugural television broadcast in 1974–75 and covered the team as a writer for the first game in the team’s history in 1972. He brought his distinctive interviewing style, hockey knowledge, and love of the Islanders into viewers’ homes for years through SportsChannel and MSG Networks.
Following his retirement from television following the 2017–18 campaign, he continued to write for The Hockey News among other publications, as well as a weekly column called Maven’s Memories on NewYorkIslanders.com. In addition, Fischler is presently working on a book to commemorate the Islanders 50th season.
It was beyond inconceivable to believe that one day a nonexistent area would have his name. Instead of a distinct press box, working media were instead given seats in the bottom row.
Following his recent induction into the US Hockey Hall of Fame, Fischler now has a press box dedicated in his honor. Foster Hewitt, a broadcaster inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, is one of Fischler’s heroes, and Toronto’s media gondola is dedicated in his honor. Fischler expressed his gratitude for receiving a comparable title.
The influence of Fischler on the hockey media community also cannot be emphasized. Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Mollie Walker of the New York Post, Allan Kreda of the New York Times, and Frank Brown of the New York Daily News, who won the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award in 2018, among others, are alumni of Fischler’s internship program.
While Fischler was at the forefront of narrating the Islanders’ narrative for the first 50 years, designating the press box after him ensures that his legacy will continue for the following 50. Fischler’s press box dedication occurs during the Islanders’ 50th anniversary season.