(JTA) — As the Boston Bruins buzz the Islanders net throughout the opening period of a game at the Nassau Coliseum, Stan Fischler is standing 10 feet behind the Plexiglas to the left of New York goaltender Kevin Poulin.
Fischler, a hockey broadcaster for four decades, can feel the rattling boards of forechecking Bruins.
There’s no place he’d rather be.
Providing New York-area hockey fans with a bird’s-eye view and expert analysis is what Fischler, 81, has done on broadcasts of Islanders, Rangers and Devils games. He’s had a love affair with the sport since he was introduced to it quite by accident as a 7-year-old growing up in Brooklyn.
The hockey community in New York has returned the fondness, notably when the younger of his two sons, then a teenager, was critically ill with a heart malady.
“The Hockey Maven,” as Fischler has long been known, has a love affair, too, with Israel. He and his wife, Shirley, visit there each summer. And their younger son, Simon, now 35, lives on Kibbutz El Rom in the Golan Heights and blogs on diplomacy while also writing for Fischler’s hockey newsletter.
Simon, not surprisingly, taught the sport to his children at the ice rink in nearby Metulla.
He recalls his father asking him when he was 8 to find Israel on an atlas. The boy couldn’t, so dad pointed it out.
“That was one of my earliest memories: This is our land,” said Simon, who lives on the kibbutz with his wife and three children. “I thank him every day for it because I am extremely proud of my Jewish national heritage. It’s why I live in Israel.”
Fischler says his mother, Molly, losing nearly all her relatives in the Holocaust in the former Czechoslovakia helps explain why his support of Jewish causes “revolves around the security of Israel.”
It was his mother — “Malka Devorah, I love that name; it’s very lyrical,” he says – who introduced 5-year-old Stan, her only child, to spectator sports, a Brooklyn Dodgers game they attended at Ebbets Field.