Don LaGreca has worked on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005 and has been the backup play-by-play announcer for the past few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he cannot be on call. Due to Albert’s responsibilities in calling the domestic playoff games on television as part of the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more games from the Rangers lately and has received positive reviews.
Yesterday the The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers gave La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, which some credit him with introducing them to the sport.
“The only thing hockey is is that it’s underexposed,” La Greca said. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how fun this sport was; how great it is to go to a game,” because a lot of us don’t grow up around that.
La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position as the co-host of a sports radio show and NHL play-by-play announcer, which gives him the responsibility to communicate and express his opinion about the game of hockey to its general audience. He considers himself the second person to have such an honor – which the pioneer, while perhaps no longer calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person I can think of who was called the games and was [as] hockey fan like me who had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” La Greca said. “And Howie Rose was absent from the sports radio game for 25 years.”
Rose had been with WFAN since its launch on July 1, 1987 as a weeknight host. What’s more, he played the same role as La Greca, supporting Kenny Albert’s father, Marv, on Rangers radio shows – where, in 1994, he made the illustrious call for Stephane’s winning goal in double overtime. Matteau in Game 7 which sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. A year later, Rose left WFAN to start calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as lead hockey announcer. play-by-play.
Although there are other sports radio hosts in the New York market who show a passion for hockey, such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one actively calling the games – much like Michael Kay is the only active sport in New York. radio host who regularly calls pro baseball.
“You don’t have someone who’s as close to the sport as me to have that kind of forum, so maybe there’s a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a Don fan. I don’t really doesn’t like hockey, but he calls a few games, so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened,” La Greca said. “….I don’t think that it’s something that I do. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it’s humbling and it’s kind of cool to hear and I hope these people stick with the sport.