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This week I had the opportunity of talking to the New York Islanders broadcaster, Brendan Burke. He told me interesting things about himself and his work. Also, a couple of fun facts that emerged along the interview. Read for instance about his longshot following graduation that paid off, big time.

 

I’m curious about your childhood. You were born in Milwaukee, WI, but your family moved to New Jersey when you were six. What memories do you have from that period?

I really don’t have a good memory so when it comes to my childhood I really have a tough time remembering much. But when we lived in Wisconsin my dad – a sports writer – was covering the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers and the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. So I do remember tagging along with him at baseball games and hockey games. That was my first real exposure to hockey.

Did you practice any sports yourself as a kid?

In Wisconsin, kids learn to skate and play hockey at a young age. So I started skating at 3 or 4 years old and playing hockey shortly thereafter. So hockey has been a part of my life since I was a very little kid.

When I moved to New Jersey, I continued to play hockey at a pretty competitive level. That took up most of my free time on nights and weekends. I played all four years of high school and played on the club team at Ithaca College. So while I wasn’t playing hockey to help my broadcasting career, I have to imagine that it helped out quite a bit. 

Your father Don has a long record as a sports writer. How do you think that affected you in your career choice?

He has covered many sports and teams for few different newspapers. For a good portion of my childhood he was a beat reporter covering the New York Yankees. So as a kid I was afforded some great opportunities to spend time behind the scenes at Major League Baseball games. The experience that had the greatest impact on me was that I occasionally would be able to sit between the Yankees radio broadcasters while they called a game. It was that experience that sparked my interest – and ultimately love – for broadcasting.

You became the youngest broadcaster in the ECHL in 2006 when you began calling Wheeling Nailers games, only 22 years old. How did you get the job?

I got the job in Wheeling with a little bit of luck. The summer that I graduated from college, I had sent a demo tape and resume to every team in the ECHL and AHL (and a few more as well), regardless of whether or not they had a job opening. I didn’t hear back from very many of them and I was without a job as the season was approaching. Then the broadcaster in Wheeling left in late-September and instead of starting a full-blown search, they were impressed enough by my tape to interview me for the job and ultimately offer it to me.

Was it especially tough to take on a gig like that considering your age?

The job was challenging because I had never done it before but it was the perfect situation for me that I was able to feel my way through it the first year. Broadcasting is something that you get more and more comfortable with the more you do it. On top of that I was also in charge of the media and public relations for the team and I had no experience doing that.

It certainly sounds like quite a challenge. I guess it was a good time for picking up useful advice from colleagues around the league?

I certainly leaned on a lot of other guys in the ECHL that season to show me what to do. I also did some research and paid attention and tried to excel in that role because in the eyes of many, that part of the job is even more important than broadcasting.

What was your immediate reaction when the Islanders asked you to take over from Howie Rose?

My immediate reaction was total shock, even though by that point I was pretty confident that I was going to get the job. It has been a lifelong goal to get an NHL broadcasting job, but to get it in New York City (which is home to me) and to get it on television was a dream come true. I still pinch myself sometimes and it’s been a year.

Did you have to apply for the job or did the organization reach out to you? 

There is no job application but you need to submit your demo tape and make your interest in the job known. Much of that is handled by my agent in the initial stages and then once it progresses past that then I met with MSG for an interview. After that I recorded an audition by calling a game off a television monitor alongside Butch Goring. It was a process that took 2+ months, but obviously well worth it.

What was the reaction of your family to the news?

It was an emotional time for my entire family. Some of my favorite moments were telling people like my wife and my dad that I got the job. They are extremely proud of me and I am extremely grateful for all the help that they have given me along the way. I am well aware that I don’t get to this point by myself and those two have been my biggest supporters.

Could you talk us through a usual game day from your perspective?

Game days are fun and the culmination of a lot of work put in on non-game days. The day usually begins with reading newspaper articles and web sites from the outstanding journalists that cover the NHL. Then it’s on to morning skate where we watch practice and can talk with the players and coaches for both teams. After that it’s back home (or to the hotel) to put the finishing touches on my preparation and grab some lunch. We have a production meeting with the entire crew at 4:30pm (for a 7pm game). We eat dinner after that and have a rehearsal at about 6pm. Then we go on the air at 7 and have some fun.

Is there any post game assignments you need to finish before calling it a day, something that isn’t shown for the TV audience?

After we’re done with the postgame show, I am done. If we are not traveling I try and relax a little bit before diving back into work the next morning. If we are on the move then I will work on my prep for the next game on the plane ride.

Advanced stats have become very popular among fans these days. What are your thoughts about it? Is it something you use at all in your pre game preparations?

I am not against advanced stats but, like any stat, they don’t tell the whole story. So while I will look at them and do my best to understand what they measure I think the use of them in the broadcasting world is a very tricky line to walk. I think our viewers would rather hear the English translation as opposed to the numbers. So while you won’t hear me say that “Team A is has the second-best Corsi in the NHL at 54 percent”, you may hear me say “Team A is one of the best puck-possession teams in the league.”  But it is certainly something that is still evolving.  

About the arena situation, where do you think the Islanders will play their home games in the future?

I am as interested as everyone else to find out what is going to happen. I’m happy to be calling Islanders games no matter where they play.

How is it to work with Butch, Shannon, Rick and Stan? You seem to have a lot of fun together. Do you just meet at work or are you also seeing each other in your spare time sometimes?

We do have a lot of fun together and obviously during the season we spend a lot of time together, not just when we are working. We eat meals together, we sit next to each other on the plane, we watch practices together. We don’t really have much spare time during the season. During the summer is when we pretty much all go our separate ways. We travel and spend time with family so we certainly see each other less frequently. But we will still text from time to time and will grab lunch if the situation arises.

Finally, what do you do in your spare time? Are there any favorite activities on your days off?

My spare time now involves entirely around my kids. I have a 3-year-old daughter, Quinn, and a 5-month-old son, Liam. So I am on full-time dad duty during the summers. We like to travel and explore New York City, but as boring as it sounds that’s pretty much all I do.

BrBu2

BRENDAN BURKE

 

 

FIVE QUICK ONES

  • Football or Baseball? – I love them both – to broadcast and to watch.
  • Brooklyn or Manhattan? – I live in Brooklyn so I have to say Brooklyn, but I love Manhattan and get over there pretty frequently.
  • Blue or Orange? – Most of my wardrobe is blue.
  • Beer or Wine? – I’ve never had either. Shocking, I know.
  • Trade Deadline or Free Agent Frenzy? – Probably free agency because almost everyone is involved.
Annonser

Supporterträff i Göteborg

Postat: 9 augusti, 2017 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

NHL: New York Islanders at New York Rangers

Säsongens enda officiella supporterträff kommer gå av stapeln den 13:e januari 2018 och platsen blir i Göteborg. Hatderbyt mellan Rags och Islanders står på programmet, lite extra krydda till träffen då Götet är lite av ett Rangersfäste. Preliminärt står O’Leary’s på Avenyn som värd även denna gång, även om lokal kan komma att ändras när TV-tablån släpps.

Matchen startar 19:00 och vi kommer i sedvanlig ordning boka bord till 17:30-tiden. Vi skall bland annat hinna med en lurig frågesport signerad Mattias Lunde, samt få i oss en bit mat under kvällens gång.

Med tanke på att detta blir säsongens enda chans att träffas allihopa så hoppas vi såklart på stor uppslutning. Kanske kan vi till och med bräcka deltagarrekordet för supporterträffarna som i dagsläget är 22 personer.

De enklaste sätten att anmäla sig till träffen är antingen på Facebook i vår supportergrupp #nyise, där man letar upp evenemanget och sedan klickar ni i ”kommer”, alternativt att ni meddelar mig på twitter, @swedishislander.

Kommentarer i kommentarsfältet till denna artikel är ett tredje sätt att anmäla sig på. Dock kommer jag endast kolla av detta nån gång i månaden så där kan en bekräftelse dröja.

Väl mött mina vänner!

Ett par spelare har den senaste tiden skrivit på nya kontrakt med Islanders. Dennis Seidenberg, Adam Pelech och Calvin de Haan har signat på backsidan och framåt förlängde Stephen Gionta nyligen med laget.

På coachingsidan har Doug Weight plockat in Luke Richardson, Kelly Buchberger och Scott Gomez som assisterande medan Greg Cronin fått en ny roll som associate coach. Dessutom har Fred Brathwaite ersatt Mike Dunham som målvaktstränare.

Den största förändringen i laget är att Jordan Eberle kommer från Oilers i utbyte mot Ryan Strome som trots höga förväntningar inte riktigt lyckats leva upp till dom. Travis Hamonic lämnar Islanders för vidare spel i Flames. Fina draftval gavs i utbyte, återstår att se hur de utnyttjas.

Ebs

Det stora frågetecknet just nu är om och i så fall när John Tavares kommer förlänga med Islanders. Hans kontrakt går ut efter kommande säsong och innan dess hoppas vi på en signatur från #91. Annars blir det en osunt oviss väntan fram till nästa juli.

Ett annat frågetecken är arenafrågan. Efter två säsonger i Barclays Center är både arenan och Islanders tveksamma till en långvarig fortsättning. Islanders vill istället försöka bygga en ny arena i området kring hästkapplöpningsbanan Belmont Park. Nyligen gavs möjligheten att lägga fram förslag från intressenter om vad de vill göra med marken där. Islanders förväntas vara en av dessa intressenter. Sen är det fortfarande upp till markägarna att välja vad som skall hända med ytan.

This week I had the opportunity to an exclusive interview with Art Staple, NY Islanders beat writer at Newsday, and I asked him a little bit about himself, his work and about the Islanders. Staple is now entering his 7th season covering the Islanders, but they haven’t always been the number one New York hockey team for Art.

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a kid. Where did you grow up? How and when did you get interested in sports?

I grew up in New York City, about 10 blocks from Madison Square Garden. In the 1970s and 1980s New York wasn’t quite the same place for kids it is now, so we didn’t have a lot of outdoor time – my older brother became interested in hockey after we would play in roller skates near my grandmother’s building and he played ice hockey for a bit, but mostly he wanted to go to Rangers games and I tagged along.

Do you have any special memories from your childhood regarding the rivalry between the Rangers and the Islanders?

I knew about the rivalry from the time I started watching. One of my first Rangers-Islanders memories was staying up late to watch Game 5 of the 1984 first round, when Don Maloney batted in the tying goal with a high stick and Ken Morrow won it for the Isles in OT to send them on to try for the 5th Cup. I was a Ranger fan then for sure so it was a lot of frustration at not being able to knock off the champs.

Did you practice any sports yourself as a kid?

I played baseball growing up and into high school, but I wasn’t much of a skater so hockey was out.

You went to Boston University 1989-93 to study journalism. How was BU?

BU was fun. My brother was a senior when I started as a freshman so I already knew a bit about the school; another friend of ours from home, Sean Grande, was there as well and he’s now the radio announcer for the Boston Celtics, so I connected with the BU radio station through him. We did some hockey games together, but I was not an avid follower of the hockey program.

Do you have any special memories or anecdotes from your time in school you’d like to share?

When I was a senior in high school I started an internship with the legendary Stan Fischler. He ran a huge operation out of his uptown New York apartment and I was in heaven – I got to help research and write chapters of his books, I was his Rangers correspondent my senior year of high school so I would attend most of the home games and collect interviews for him and when I got to Boston I went to Bruins games as well. It really helped me understand the way reporters do the job, something you don’t always get in school.

I also worked at the Boston Herald in college, taking high school scores over the phone. My first paying gig! I preferred the spending money and mingling with the professional writers to the college paper.

I got a chance to work with the tv broadcast crews on Bruins playoff games during my time up there thanks to Stan, so that was a chance to sit next to some of the greats like Mike Emrick, Bob Cole and Dick Irvin and pass statistics and other info along. My first night on the job in the 1990 playoffs I had to walk down to the old Boston Garden “basket” – the row of broadcast seats at the bottom of the upper deck, a steep walk down, and then to climb over a railing.

I tried to do it as carefully as I could but when I swung my leg over to step down, Mike Emrick was just standing up to introduce himself to me. I kicked him so hard I thought I broke his arm. So there I am, an 18-year-old aspiring sports journalist, on the verge of tears because the best broadcaster in the world is doubled over in pain half an hour before the game was to start.

Luckily he was fine, but I’ll never forget it. He may not either.

Fantastic story! After that, what did you do right after graduation?

I graduated from BU in 1993, worked at the New York Daily News for a year as an intern and then bounced around the New York area for a bit before I landed at Newsday full time in 1997.

What was your first job assignments at the paper?

I started covering high school and college sports, which was great fun – I had a lot of experience covering the pros before that, but local sports, even in New York, connect you to people in a way the pros do not. Parents and coaches and kids are so excited for the coverage that you get a real sense of appreciation and it makes you learn to take great care in putting a story together and wanting it to be perfect, since you may not write about that young person again.

I moved from there to covering the Rangers for three seasons, from 2001-2004. Those were the end of the lean years for that team, but in the pre-Twitter era, it was harder to get too involved in the rivalry. I do recall the Chicken Dance game at the Coliseum, of course, and covering some real characters with those Rangers teams, but every season ended with me switching over to do Islanders playoffs, including the insane Leafs series in 2002. I was in the Toronto room for that one and that was madness – they all had the flu at one point during the series and I caught it just before flying up for Game 7. Not the most fun way to cover such a big game!

When and why did you start to cover the Isles?

I moved over to covering the Giants (football) after the 2004-05 lockout, then covered a bit of everything from 2008-2011 until my good friend Katie Strang left the paper and I was assigned to the Islanders. This will be my seventh season coming up.

How does a usual home game day in Art Staple’s life look like?

Game days have become a bit different now with the team having morning skates on Long Island and games in Brooklyn. I’ll usually drive down to the practice facility for their 10:30 AM skate – that means I leave my house around 9 or so – catch up with a few players, listen to the coach, then I’ll head out to Brooklyn to beat the traffic.

I tend to get to Brooklyn around noon or 1 pm, park my car and then I’ll either settle into the empty building to do some work or meet up with friends for lunch. This job has a lot of ebbs and flows – bursts of work followed by hours of nothing. Netflix is my friend many days!

Other media folks tend to filter in around 5, so I’ll chat with them, perhaps listen to the visiting coach speak and then watch warmups and get busier on Twitter with the night’s lineup. During the game I’m tweeting quite a bit – it actually helps with my notes after the game to remember the big moments – and by the end of the first period I’ll have my notebook filed to the office so they can edit it and post it.

The minute the game ends I file a short (4 or 5 paragraph) summary of the game to be quickly posted on the web, then I usually have until 10:20 or so to file my full story. If the game ends at 9:45 or so, that doesn’t leave much time, but the postgame interviews go quickly and I’ve learned to write fast.

So I’m done and packed up by, say, 10:45 or 11, off to my car for the hour drive home. A long day, but it has its own rhythm that I’ve gotten used to.

Wow, really long days! I think a lot of people like to know how the team informs you, especially about trades and other major events and news. It feels like you often breaks big news about the team.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but their media relations staff is fantastic and we do our best to get along despite sometimes being at odds with information I want and information they want to release. Being around the team as the sole traveling beat writer can be good as far as developing relationships with people in the organization, but it can also be a bit much for everyone to see the same face every day and there are disputes.

Basically, my goal is to report the news as fast and clearly as I can. Sometimes the Islanders help with that, sometimes they don’t and that’s the way it works. You can’t rely on one source of information, so I try to talk to as many people in the hockey world as I can.

What approach do the Islanders have towards advanced stats? Do they co-operate with any analytic-firms?

I think they’re like a lot of NHL teams who have internal analytics that they use rather than the things that are available to the rest of us online. They do have a Russian company that provides player tracking technology and also use some other internal stats.

What is your own opinion about advanced stats?

I think they’re great. Anything to provide a deeper insight into the game or why teams do what they do. It can be frustrating when some stats writers trade in absolutes, just as it is when legacy media reporters do the same. We’re all outsiders trying to glean information from the people in the game and it does none of us any good to dismiss people we write about as dumb or ignorant. We’re the conduit to the fans – some of them love advanced stats, some love narratives, some love opinion. Better to provide the information and keep the “player x sucks” viewpoint out of it.

What is your honest opinion about the arena situation? What is realistic to believe will happen?

I’ve felt from the time the new owners took over that Belmont Park made the most sense as a site for a new arena, so I’ll stick with that. Logic doesn’t always enter the equation, however, and given all the stops and starts (mostly stops) of the last 20 years, who can honestly say they know for sure where the team will play? They’re in Barclays for now and, it seems, for a few years at least. The Coliseum seems unworkable and they’re not moving away from the area. So we’ll see how it continues to progress.

Is the Islanders organization aware of us supporters from across the Atlantic Ocean? Have they noticed our strong commitment and our annual gatherings more than in a few retweets?

I believe they are. The team’s social media coordinator keeps up with the fans quite well and your group in particular is very visible online… Anything that requires coordination between the marketing/digital side, which is run by Barclays, and the team side can be little dicey, given the not-so-great relationship between the two entities. But they know you’re out there! It would great if the league started the European games back up again and included the Islanders. I bet they would understand how passionate you all are.

How about your personal life today. What do you do in your spare time? Is there any time for hobbies?

With two kids at home and not so much time around them during the season, I try to do as little as possible during the offseason and on my days off to be available to the family. My son is 12 and plays baseball and basketball, so I get to as many of his games as I can. For myself, I try to read non-sports books and I play terrible golf when I get the chance.

About your future. Where do you see yourself in let’s say 10 years? Any thoughts of a TV-career perhaps or are you Newsday bound for life?

That is a difficult question! It’s no secret that my industry has seen better days, so I honestly don’t think about switching gears much these days. I love my job, I’ve loved it for a long time despite all the complaining I do, and with every round of layoffs elsewhere I appreciate it more and more. TV is fun to do but I doubt I’m cut out for it full time.

I’ve always dreamed of writing a tv series or a screenplay, so perhaps I will finally get my act together and work on it during the long road trips this season!

Finally I have to ask you about your trip to Stockholm the other year. How did you experience the trip?

It was amazing, simply amazing. My wife and I try to travel out of the States every year and Sweden was high on our list for a long time. To be able to take my son along and have my wife’s parents as well was a real treat. We only stayed a few days and only in the city, so we all say how much we want to go back and explore more.

One of our favorite afternoons was a journey to a restaurant called ”Meatballs For The People”, a place we looked up online and decided to take everyone to. The food was fantastic and my wife desperately wants a sweatshirt that they sell, but they don’t send them overseas! She follows their Instagram account and we both think about the time we can go back and spend a longer stretch in your country.

Arthur Staple

FIVE QUICK ONES

  • Football or Baseball? – Football, definitely. I played baseball, but football is more fun to Watch.
  • Brooklyn or Manhattan? – Manhattan! Born and raised, I can’t turn against them!
  • Blue or Orange? – Blue.
  • Beer or Wine? – Wine.
  • Trade Deadline or Free Agent Frenzy? – I prefer the trade deadline because it comes and goes quickly, usually when I’m on the road. Free agency keeps me tied to my couch for too long.

4th Annual #NYISE Awards 2016-17

Postat: 30 april, 2017 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

En ynka poäng blev vårt fall denna säsongen och visst känns det som ett par steg bakåt i utvecklingen. Jag minns hur jag förklarade bort vår sent tappade poäng mot Chicago med att det ändå inte var en poäng vi på förhand hade förväntat oss samt att det inte skulle hänga på denna poängen i slutändan ifall vi tog oss till slutspel eller ej. Antiklimax!

Men nu har vi lagt denna säsong bakom oss och en 39 personer stark jury har i år röstat fram årets #NYISE Awards. Vi fick se en ny stjärna födas och ett löfte ta ytterligare ett steg vilket förärade honom med Bryan Trottier Award som årets MVP. Tack till alla som röstat. Väl mött i oktober om inte tidigare.

BRYAN TROTTIER AWARD – MVP

Vinnare: Anders Lee
2016: John Tavares
2015: John Tavares
2014: John Tavares

MIKE BOSSY TROPHY – Flest gjorda mål

Vinnare: Anders Lee
2016: John Tavares
2015: John Tavares
2014: Kyle Okposo

DENIS POTVIN TROPHY – Bästa back

Vinnare: Nick Leddy
2016: Nick Leddy
2015: Nick Leddy
2014: Travis Hamonic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BILLY SMITH TROPHY – Flest vinster

Vinnare: Thomas Greiss
2016: Thomas Greiss
2015: Jaroslav Halak
2014: Evgeni Nabokov

MIKE PECA TROPHY – Bästa defensiva forward

Vinnare: Casey Cizikas
2016: Frans Nielsen
2015: Cizikas/Kulemin
2014: Frans Nielsen

PIERRE TURGEON AWARD – Gentleman

Vinnare: Josh Bailey
2016: Frans Nielsen
2015: Frans Nielsen
2014: Frans Nielsen

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Vinnare: Josh Ho-Sang
2016: Ryan Pulock
2015: Anders Lee
2014: Brock Nelson

3rd Annual #NYISE Awards 2015/16

Postat: 13 juni, 2016 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

 

Islanders mest framgångsrika säsong sedan 1993 ligger bakom oss och dess svenska supporters har återigen röstat fram säsongens bästa spelare.

Nedan följer resultatet som den 46 personer starka juryn röstat fram och dessutom en bonus i filmformat.

BRYAN TROTTIER AWARD – MVP

Runner up: Thomas Greiss Vinnare 2014: John Tavares Vinnare 2015: John Tavares

Runner up: Thomas Greiss
Vinnare 2015: John Tavares
Vinnare 2014: John Tavares

MIKE BOSSY TROPHY – MOST GOALS SCORED

Runner up: Brock Nelson Vinnare 2015: John Tavares Vinnare 2014: Kyle Okposo

Runner up: Brock Nelson
Vinnare 2015: John Tavares
Vinnare 2014: Kyle Okposo

DENIS POTVIN AWARD – BEST DEFENDER

Runner up: Travis Hamonic Vinnare 2015: Nick Leddy Vinnare 2014: Travis Hamonic

Runner up: Travis Hamonic
Vinnare 2015: Nick Leddy
Vinnare 2014: Travis Hamonic

BILLY SMITH TROPHY – MOST WINS

Runner up: Jaroslav Halak Vinnare 2015: Jaroslav Halak Vinnare 2014: Evgeni Nabokov

Runner up: Jaroslav Halak
Vinnare 2015: Jaroslav Halak
Vinnare 2014: Evgeni Nabokov

MIKE PECA TROPHY – BEST DEFENSIVE FORWARD

Runner up: Casey Cizikas Vinnare 2015: Cizikas/Kulemin Vinnare 2014: Frans Nielsen

Runner up: Casey Cizikas
Vinnare 2015: Cizikas/Kulemin
Vinnare 2014: Frans Nielsen

PIERRE TURGEON AWARD – GENTLEMAN

Runner up: John Tavares Vinnare 2015: Frans Nielsen Vinnare 2014: Frans Nielsen

Runner up: John Tavares
Vinnare 2015: Frans Nielsen
Vinnare 2014: Frans Nielsen

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Runner up: Alan Quine Vinnare 2015: Anders Lee Vinnare 2014: Brock Nelson

Runner up: Alan Quine
Vinnare 2015: Anders Lee
Vinnare 2014: Brock Nelson

BUTCH GORING AWARD – MVP PLAYOFFS

Runner up: Thomas Greiss Vinnare 2015: Jaroslav Halak Vinnare 2014: ingen vinnare

Runner up: Thomas Greiss
Vinnare 2015: Jaroslav Halak
Vinnare 2014: ingen vinnare

 

 

 

Tre nätter i New York

Postat: 27 mars, 2016 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

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”If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. Efter att man passerat genom Queens Midtown Tunnel och genom tullarna är det inte svårt att börja nynna på denna klassiska fras från 1977, skriven av Fred Ebb och framförd av Liza Minnelli i Martin Scorseses film New York, New York. Första synen när man kommer upp ur tunneln är Manhattans jätteskrapor som tonar upp sig likt gigantiska svampar i marken. Allting är stort här är första tanken. Andra tanken, allting är gigantiskt här!

Så länge jag kan minnas har New York varit ett attraktivt resmål för mig. Inte minst på grund av min dedikation till Long Islands stolthet, New York Islanders. Men även allt annat runt omkring har lockat. Empire State Building, Frihetsgudinnan, Broadway, you name it. Allt finns samlat på ett par ynka kvadratkilometer. Ett par gånger har resan varit lite närmare än bara i tanken men av olika anledningar har den ändå alltid runnit ut i sanden.

Förra året gick jag åter och funderade på det. Men nu står man här på hemmaplan med två barn i förskoleålder och då känns en sådan resa väldigt avlägsen. Jag tänkte att om tio år, när jag fyller 50. Då är barnen tillräckligt stora för att våga ta med sig till denna tempofyllda stad. Min fru tänkte lite mer utanför boxen, något som jag kommer vara henne evigt tacksam för.

Oktober, en månad alla NHL-älskare går och väntar på hela sommaren. För mig personligen betyder det även att ännu ett jordsnurr blivit komplett. Fyra små tassande fötter innan jobbklockans alarm gått igång. Tisslande och tasslande. Jag förstår såklart vad som är på gång men lyckas förhoppningsvis koppla på mitt mest förvånande ansiktsuttryck när barnen och frugan tänder lampan sjungandes ”Ja må han leva”. Efter kramar och barnens presenter i form av svårtydda teckningar fanns det ett relativt platt paket kvar att öppna. Jag hade ingen aning. Nada. Zip.

Aldrig har någon människa svävat på så lätta fjät som jag gjorde på onsdagen vecka 41 2015. För att korrigera Neil Armstrongs kända citat, ”It’s a small gift for mankind but it’s a huge blessing for me!” New York! Tacksamheten till alla som skramlat till denna resa är större än det går att uttrycka i skrift.

Lördag 19 mars 2016. Resan börjar med uppstigning i ottan då planet till New York med mellanlandning på Heathrow lyfter redan klockan 8 från Landvetter. Allting flyter på som det skall. Men så mitt bland små gångar i transithallen på Heathrow uppenbarar sig ett rum dit alla som skall flyga vidare till USA måste passera igenom. Man är inte ensam om att flyga över pölen denna dag om man säger så. Helt plötsligt kändes de där tre timmarna man hade mellan planen som riktigt nödvändiga. Folk köade och svettades under en orimligt lång tid innan man till slut fick gå fram till en disk. Bakom disken en kvinna som tittade lite stängt på oss. Nu börjar förhöret. Vad jobbar du med? Vad skall du göra i New York? Ishockey? Jaha, vilka är det som spelar? Jag känner att här är det inte läge att börja staka sig, då kommer det väl personal med gummihandskar.

Väl på American Airlines plan till JFK. Vilken lyx för någon som alltid bara flugit charter förut. Egen skärm i sätet framför. 100-tals filmer att välja mellan. Inbyggt TV-spel. Resan på åtta timmar som på förhand kändes dryg blev plötsligt betydligt behagligare. Fri ölservering dessutom och man ville nästan ta ett varv till runt klotet innan landning.

JFK. Väskorna kom till slut ner på bandet även om man hann bli en smula nervös att något skulle kunna ha gått snett i London. Äntligen lite frisk luft då vi lämnade terminalen bakom oss. Dagen började övergå till kväll. Smidigaste sättet att ta sig till Manhattan? Yellow Cab! Efter den tidigare beskrivna ankomsten till Manhattan och i takt med att de uppspärrade ögonen började vänja sig närmade vi oss hotellet. Hotel Metro.

Från början hade min snälla fru bokat in oss på Marriott nära Barclays Center i Brooklyn. Jag tyckte först att det lät bra då det låg nära arenan men efter en snabb googling via Street View undrade jag om vi kanske skulle byta till ett hotell på Manhattan. De flesta sevärdheterna ligger ju ändå där. Sagt och gjort. Vi fick ett kanonhotell mitt i Midtown med Empire State Building alldeles utanför fönstret. Tyvärr upptäckte jag till mitt förtret att min mobilladdare givetvis pajat under resans gång. Ut i lördagskvällen styrdes kosan mot myllrande Times Square. Efter att ha zick-zackat mellan Batman, Musse Pigg och diverse Minioner hittade jag till slut en souvenirbutik som skyltade med kameror. Här måste de väl ändå ha en laddare. Jovisst, efter ett par misslyckade försök att få butiksföreståndaren att förstå att det faktiskt finns folk som fortfarande har en telefon som är äldre än två år hittade vi till slut en laddare som passade min S4. Jag frågade uppriktigt hur mycket den kostade och han svarade skämtsamt ”a million dollars”. Tyvärr låg sanningen inte alldeles för långt ifrån hans försök till humor.

Vyn från vårt hotellfönster. Empire State Building

Vyn från vårt hotellfönster. Empire State Building

Söndagen bjöd på kallt väder men snöovädret som vissa prognoser förutspått lös tacksamt med sin frånvaro. Vi satte kurs mot Central Park via 5th Avenue. Där var man i full gång med att förbereda inför New York Half Marathon som skulle gå av stapeln senare under dagen. Vi strosade runt lite i de sydligaste delarna och kikade bland annat på Strawberry Fields där John Lennon varje dag hedras med blommor.

Strawberry Fields, Central Park

Strawberry Fields, Central Park

Wollman Rink, Central Park

Wollman Rink, Central Park

På vägen tillbaka till skyskraporna passerade vi bland annat Wollman Rink, parkens skridskobana som gjorde resans höjdpunkt påmind. På väg in mot centrum igen och jag fick syn på en personlig favorit. Jimmy Fallon! Ja, inte gåendes på gatan alltså utan på bild i NBC’s egna souvenirbutik. Här måste vi kolla lite tyckte jag då jag verkligen gillar programledaren för ”The Tonight Show”. Då vi kommit in i byggnaden slog det oss att vi ju måste befinna oss i Rockefeller Center. Mycket riktigt och då man ändå är där kan man ju lika gärna passa på att testa ”Top Of The Rock”. Hiss upp till 69:e våningen. Vilken utsikt! Helt magisk.

Top Of The Rock

Top Of The Rock

Ett stopp i NHL Store kom som ett brev på posten för att göra dagen om än möjligt ännu mer fulländad. Jättepostern på John Tavares inne på butikens vägg gjorde ju inte besöket sämre. I skyltfönstret fanns även möjlighet till en form av bordshockey mellan Islanders och Bruins. Tyvärr glömde jag bort att ta en bild på detta triviala spel.

I skyltfönstret på NHL Store

I skyltfönstret på NHL Store

Måndag. Game day! Vi hade en tanke om att gå från Manhattan, över Brooklyn Bridge och till arenan på kvällen. Vi trodde att de där futtiga centimetrarna på kartan inte skulle vara några bekymmer. Som tur var fick vi för oss att testa sträckan under dagtid för att verkligen bekräfta våra teorier. Oh boy, vilken tur. Vi tog Broadway söderut. Vi passerade Flatiron Building, Union Square, Little Italy och Chinatown. Vägen till Brooklyn Bridge hade tagit en dryg timme. Vi gick vidare mot Ground Zero och fortsatte sedan hem till hotellet igen. Vi hade varit ute i ett par timmar då vi gjorde en hel del stopp längs vägen. Tidsmässigt var det väl okej, men benen och fötterna ömmade något fruktansvärt. På hotellrummet beslutade vi därför att det fick bli tunnelbana till Brooklyn.

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Ground Zero

Ground Zero

Då jag ville hinna gå en del i Teamshoppen innan match var vi ute i god tid. Vi hamnade mitt i rusningstrafik och inklämda som sardiner på burk åkte vi de fyra stationerna längs linje B innan vi var framme vid Atlantic Avenue. Upp ur underjorden, runt ett gathörn och där, där står den. Barclays Center!

Thomas, Cathy, jag och min fru

Thomas, Cathy, jag och min fru

Då jag visste att Thomas och Cathy i #nyise skulle gå på samma match försökte jag stämma av med deras reserutt. Deras resa tog något längre än de trott men till slut kunde vi sammanstråla och det var riktigt kul att träffa några man kände. Efter en titt i shoppen gick vi mot vår sektion och vi hade fått riktigt bra platser. Ner till plexit så långt det gick för att ta lite uppvärmningsbilder och sedan bara invänta nedsläpp. Efter ett tungt intro med Imagine Dragons ”Warriors” kom så lagen in och matchen kunde starta.

Efter en mållös men inte chansfattig förstaperiod gjorde gästerna första målet tidigt i den andra. En dryg minut senare lyckades dock Kyle Okposo tråckla in kvitteringen och jubel fyllde arenan följt av Yes! Yes! Yes! Det kändes som att även om vi skulle torska så fick jag i alla fall chansen att jubla i arenan, en bonus i sig. Tyvärr blev det inte mer än ett jubel då vi var alldeles för svaga denna kvällen. Flyers tillresta booster club som fyllde en hel sektion var desto mer högljudda. Sortin ut ur arenan blev därför ganska hastig så fort slutsignalen ljudit. På tunnelbanan hem igen tackade jag högre makter för att vi skippat idén om promenad då det både blivit becksvart och kallt i det stora äpplet.

Vår utsikt i arenan

Vår utsikt i arenan

En kompis från Göteborg hade tydligen sett mig bli taggad av min fru under matchen på Facebook och han skickade helt plötsligt, ”kom till Hooters”. Jag kollade upp var stället låg och det var bara ett hundratal meter från vårt hotell. Dessutom var det vägg i vägg med MSG där Rags tidigare under kvällen besegrat Florida men jag tyckte vi var för nära kompisen för att inte gå dit. När vakten i dörren såg min Islandersoutfit började han fråga efter legitimation. Även min fru fick visa leg och vi undrade båda två varför. Men så fort vi kom längre in i haket så insåg vi att detta nog var ett stamställe för Ragsfans. Snabbt gjorde vi oss väg mot baren på andra våningen där kompisen satt. Ett par minuter senare kändes det lagom att gå igen då vi inte ville riskera något strul.

Tisdagen betydde hemresa men då vi nåddes av nyheten från Bryssels flygplats blev man ju lite smånervös. Vi hann hursomhelst med en trevlig rundtur runt Manhattan med båt innan det var dags att bege sig tillbaka till JFK. Flygresan hem gick smärtfritt och nu sitter man här med en massa intryck som man för mindre än ett halvår sedan inte trodde man skulle ha förrän eventuellt tidigast om tio år.

Om ni som ännu inte gjort resan över till New York någonsin tvekar så är mitt råd lika enkelt som självklart. ÅK!

Manhattan skyline

Manhattan skyline

Statue Of Liberty

Statue Of Liberty

Brooklyn Bridge (igen)

Brooklyn Bridge (igen)

United Nations Headquarters

Chrysler Building & United Nations Headquarters