The New York Islanders have named their press level in honor of a media member with a truly remarkable level of output. That would be Stan Fischler. The team announced Wednesday that the press level at UBS Arena at Belmont Park is now officially The Stan Fischler Press Level.
Fischler, 90, has been involved in hockey for more than eight decades, and has authored or co-authored more than 100 books on the game (including the forthcoming Islanders’ 50th anniversary commemorative book, appropriate considering that he covered the team in some fashion for all of those years). Some of his past roles include New York Rangers’ publicist, print reporter in both New York and Toronto, and radio broadcaster for CBC. He also served as a TV broadcaster for the Hartford Whalers, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and the Islanders, and worked for SportsChannel and MSG covering the latter three teams (in different combinations) from 1975 until his 2018 retirement from broadcasting. Here’s more on him and this dedication from an Islanders’ release:
“To have my name on the press box is roughly equivalent to something like having a little banner for me,” Fischler said. “In my personal journalistic life, this is the crown jewel.”
…”It’s very surreal,” Fischler said. “It’s a combination of incredible, very grateful, and there’s a Hebrew expression, Dayenu, which means sufficient. I’m getting this thing, this honor for basically doing what’s been fun for [me] for more than half a century.”
The press box dedication is just the latest decoration for Fischler, who was recently inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. One of Fischler’s heroes, Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Foster Hewitt, has the media gondola named after him in Toronto. Fischler said he felt honored to receive a similar designation.
“To be compared, or put in any kind of level, with Foster,” Fischler said with a pause. “He’s among the Gods and I’m among the worshipers,” Fischler said. “I’m the guy who went over to Foster Hewitt the first time I met him in a in a press room and told him what he meant to me and so I’m overwhelmed.”
It’s neat to see Fischler honored this way. As that release points out, in addition to his own impacts on the game, he’s had an incredible amount of respected hockey voices serve as his interns over the years, including The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, the New York Post’s Mollie Walker, the New York Times’ Allan Kreda and the New York Daily News’ Frank Brown. And when he covered the Islanders’ first game in 1972, there wasn’t even a dedicated press box. Now there’s one, and it’s named after him.