Back in 2015, Joe Buono (@IslesBlog) spoke to Hall of Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald on his fascinating hockey life.
McDonald has been a NHL play-by-play announcer for more than 40 years, having been the original voice of both the Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta Flames before spending 15 seasons with the New York Islanders alongside Eddie Westfall, calling three Stanley Cup Winning teams.
Having announced over 3,000 NHL regular season games, in 1990, McDonald received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Although ‘retired” Jiggs continued to broadcast Islanders in place on Howie Rose.
In Part 1, Jiggs and Joe discuss:
- Jiggs start in radio, from High School radio shows and copy writing to his first live hockey radio broadcast
- His audition for the expansion L.A. Kings with their Canadian born owner Jack Kent Cooke
- The origin of his nickname and his initial thoughts on his new moniker, “Jiggs”
- Moving from LA and Atlanta Flames to the Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders
- His instant chemistry with Eddie Westfall and why it was “love at first sight”
- How the Islanders being on “Sports Channel” one of the first regional networks presented new opportunities.
- Being presented his first Stanley Cup Ring by Bill Torrey and his love for calling the Stanley Cup Playoffs
In Part 2, Jiggs and Joe discuss:
- Jiggs’ lone season of calling Mets games on SportsChannel in 1982
- What strikes him as so unique and special about the Islanders during the Dynasty years
- How Denis Potvin found out Mike Bossy may have had a higher salary during their career
- The most memorable calls and moments from announcing Islanders games for 15 seasons
- The unexpected run to the Conference Finals in 1992-93
- How soon after he “retired” Jiggs felt the pull back to the broadcast booth
- The differences in calling games on part time basis and working with ex-Islander Butch Goring on MSG
- His perspective on the final season at the Nassau Coliseum and move to Brooklyn