Throughout the final season at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders have invited back fabled players from the team’s history to be recognized in on-ice ceremonies. On Sunday, the team is inviting back a legendary member of its press box to call the action one final time, 100 feet above the ice.
Barry Landers, the radio voice of the Islanders from 1981-97, will reclaim the play-by-play duties for the second period of the Islanders-Red Wings game.
“The seat hasn’t changed and that view is still the same,” Landers said heading into Sunday’s broadcast. “The Coliseum has one of the best views you’ll find in the NHL. It’s going to be fun, exciting and hopefully I’ll have a good period of hockey to call.”
Landers’ career spanned longer than any other radio broadcaster in the team’s history. Although he was with the team for the Islanders’ dynasty years, one particular broadcast that stands out for Landers is the quadruple overtime “Easter Epic” in 1987. The Islanders – Washington Capitals series was the only one in the postseason’s opening round to require a seventh game. As a result, there were extra national broadcasters from across North America that pushed the visiting radio broadcast away from the center ice and into the corner of the stands at Capital Centre in Landover, MD. The cramped confines made it even more memorable when Pat LaFontaine ended the game at 1:58 a.m. and sent the Islanders to the next round.
“It was jubilation, but we were so drained being on the air for seven hours,” Landers recalled. “[Broadcast partner] Jean Potvin and I just turned to each other and couldn’t believe it had just ended.”
Over the last few years Landers has been involved in mentoring broadcast students at Hofstra University. Hofstra’s students have provided color commentary and reporting in addition to studio engineering for Islanders broadcast since the 2010-11 season.
“I am amazed at how good they are,” Landers said. “The knowledge of the game that they provide, the ability to report from the locker room and the way they work with [play-by-play voice] Chris King has been remarkable.”
For current Islanders play-by-play man Chris King, who has worked on Islanders broadcasts since the late 1990’s, he’s honored to sit in the chair once occupied by Landers.
"He was a real mentor to me and his on-air passion, energy and enthusiasm for Islanders hockey made him a true fan favorite for all of those years,” King said.
For fans who grew up with Landers and for younger fans looking for some throwback flavor, tune in to the Radio Hofstra University Islanders network on 88.7 FM WRHU or 103.9 LI News Radio Sunday at 5 p.m.