When you’re at the game and your team just scored a goal, the adrenaline is pumping and the public address announcer turns on his microphone and announces the goal and maybe you imitate the way a specific name is said because you know it’s awesome to say. I had the opportunity to get to know more about public address announcer for the New York Islanders, Roger Luce, who has been inside the glass at the red line since the 1998-99 season working around 38 home games per season. When you think about a PA announcer’s voice it has to have that specific sound, someone who can help get the crowd energized, and perhaps have a “radio voice” and Luce certainly possesses all these qualities. Some may know Luce from hearing him on The Long Island Rock N’ Roll Morning Show with Roger and JP on WBAB 102.3FM in Long Island and since July of 2015, the Roger and JP show in the Tampa market on WHPT 102.5 The Bone. Let’s go inside the glass with Roger Luce…
Q: Birth Place?
A: Born in Long Island, NY. At age of eight I moved to Massachusetts where I spent 10 years as an Islanders fan in Boston Bruins territory.
Q: Your favorite player to watch growing up?
A: Definitely watching Bobby Orr was number one for me, I also got to see Gordie Howe play in the later part of his career. When it came to the New York Islanders though it was Mike Bossy.
Q: Did you play any sports growing up?
A: I was a pretty good pitcher when I was a kid until I injured my arm and then in high school I played some basketball.
Q: Do you have a current favorite player or have an appreciation for in the current NHL?
A: Getting to see players like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo are players with a tremendous amount of skill when you watch them handle the puck and see them create plays on the ice it is unreal. Seeing the NHL evolve over the years has been great to see players like Orr and Bossy and now seeing the skills that these players in today’s NHL are bringing is just incredible. Even looking at a team such as the Blackhawks as a whole with all the great talent they have.
Q: What are some favorite moments while being a PA announcer?
A: Seeing and announcing the 300-plus penalty minutes between the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011, the playoff series against the Toronto Maples Leafs during the 2001-02 season. Another favorite moment for me was the fight between Eric Cairns and Darcy Tucker during the series. Shawn Bates’ famous penalty shot goal on Curtis Joseph on April 24th, 2002 during the playoffs. One cool thing that happened last year was when a puck hit off the mask of the goaltender and took a chunk out of the puck. In addition, I spent four years as a PA announcer for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium from 1999 to 2002. Getting to see and experience the Subway Series in 2000 against the New York Yankees was something special.
Q: How do you prepare for a game?
A: Two hours before the game there is a National Hockey League pronunciation guide that I look to for the names of the players for that evening. Having the rosters in front of me with multiple score sheets. I am presented with information needed that is to be read during breaks in the game especially during television timeouts following the 14, 10 and 6 minute marks providing fans with general information, advertisements, contest information. It’s really a production that is going on behind the scenes that is helping all these moving parts.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Barclays Center and how fans are feeling about the move and the arena?
A: It’s a really nice arena in Brooklyn, it’s a great atmosphere, and feels close to the action throughout the arena. The die-hard Islanders fans definitely make that hour-plus trip to continue to attend each and every game. The fans that used to attend maybe ten to twenty games per season, may have decreased the amount of games they are going to following the move to Brooklyn but depending on the schedule, with the amount of weekend games throughout a particular season then it could help provide opportunities for those people to attend still. It’s a new home for the Islanders and will take some adjustment for fans but it’s a great arena to see a game.
Q: Let’s have some fun, who was your favorite player(s) to announce?
A: My favorite player to announce was Oleg Kvasha it was just a fun name to say. The other one I enjoy saying is Nikolay Kulemin, with his last name it’s a prolonged “Kooo”-le-min.
Q: Is there anything better?
A: Having the opportunity to do what I love in radio and then to be able to sit down at the red line, look to my left or right and have that perfect sight line to each net, the ability to see plays develop and seeing the actual spin on a puck when it leaves the stick and heads towards the net…I have the greatest jobs.