The wait for Howie Rose’s replacement is over as the Islanders named Brendan Burke, formerly of the Utica Comets of the AHL, as their new play-by-play announcer.
The 32-year-old immediately name-checked Rose and his predecessor, Jiggs McDonald, in the team’s official release.
“It is an incredible honor to be joining MSG Networks and becoming part of the Islanders family,” said Burke. “It’s very humbling to think I am following in the footsteps of two of the all-time greats in Howie Rose and Jiggs McDonald. It has been a lifelong goal to be an NHL broadcaster and to come home to New York City, and to work for one of the NHL’s iconic franchises, is an absolute dream come true.”
Originally from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Burke’s father Don was a sportswriter for the Star-Ledger, according to Neil Best’s story in Newsday. In an interview with the Comets’ site from 2014, Burke cites longtime (and legendary) Devils play-by-play man Doc Emrick and Rangers radio announcer Kenny Albert as key influences.
Best also cuts right to the chase with the fandom question. At ease, everyone:
While most Islanders fans respected Rose’s work, some questioned whether he ever fully shed his roots as a Rangers fan.
So, what was Burke’s team in his youth? He said that as a sportswriter’s son, he grew up learning to appreciate the games without taking sides.
“I know people are going to say, ‘There’s no way that’s true,’ ” he said, “but that’s how I was brought up.”
A sampling of what you’ll hear this season. Just, uh, change the names.
Despite his age, Burke has worked a ton of games on many sides of the mic. In addition to the Comets, he’s called games on radio for the St. Louis Blues and their AHL affiliate in Peoria, as well as baseball games for two Phillies single A affiliates plus the Lakewood Blue Claws and the awesomely named Batavia Muck Dogs of the NY-Penn League. While with the Comets, he also served as the team’s Director of Communications. He held a similar position with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL for two seasons.
Last season, he was given the James H. Ellery Memorial Award for his outstanding AHL media work.
Burke takes over some big shoes and a tough crowd. Too much praise for the opposition and he’ll be labeled a traitor on opening night and never shake it. Too much praise for the Islanders and he’ll be labeled a shill and never shake it. Heck, sometimes, we’ll just make up our own play-by-play just for fun.
But the hire seems like a quality one judging by the many congratulations from people around the web to his twitter handle @brendanmburke.
Welcome to Burke and best of luck on the new gig. And congratulations to Butch Goring on getting to tell all those old war stories to a new partner.