Howie Rose, the television voice of the Islanders since 1995, has decided to step down, the team confirmed on Wednesday.
Rose has been working for MSG since 1985, beginning as a fill-in Rangers announcer and moving up to the lead spot four years later. His most memorable call came in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, when Rangers winger Stephane Matteau scored in double-overtime to eliminate the New Jersey Devils.
The 62-year-old, who also broadcasts Mets games on the radio, told Newsday’s Neil Best that the decision was made so that he could have more time off.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been more conflicted about a decision I’ve had to make in my life,” he told the paper. “But I’m confident I made really the only one I could make at this point in time in my career and life. Strictly, it’s the idea that I could have an off-season like most people who do what I do for a living ... At the end of the day it’s something that I do with, as I say, the epitome of mixed emotions.”
“The New York Islanders congratulate Howie Rose on a memorable 21-year career as the team’s TV play-by-play announcer on MSG Networks,” the team said in a statement. “His voice has become synonymous with big Islanders moments, which culminated in his final game call of John Tavares’ overtime, series clinching goal at Barclays Center in Game 6 of the team’s first round Stanley Cup series against the Florida Panthers. We wish Howie and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”
Before Rose, Jiggs McDonald held the lead play-by-play role from 1981–95, meaning the new person will be the Islanders’ third lead television play-by-play broadcaster in 35 years.
– Kenny Ducey