NY Islanders: 3 fun facts about legendary announcer Jiggs McDonald

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Jiggs McDonald was an NHL play-by-play announcer for more than 40 years, having been the original voice of both the Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta Flames before spending 15 seasons with the New York Islanders alongside Eddie Westfall, calling three Stanley Cup Winning teams.

Having announced over 3,000 NHL regular season games, McDonald received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. He continued to make appearances on Islanders broadcasts filling in for Howie Rose when there were scheduling conflicts and recently was the emcee, wearing a blue vest with an orange bow tie when the Islanders opened up UBS Arena.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

For a generation of fans, his voice is the soundtrack of the Islanders dynasty; for many others, he helped introduce them to the game of hockey. If you are in your late 30's or older, you may feel you know the play-by-play man on a personal level because of how often he was inside your living room, but here are 3 fun facts about his career you may not yet know.

He was 1 of 118 applicants for expansion LA Kings TV job

Jiggs sent a tape to the Los Angeles Kings shortly after he learned the expansion franchise had an opening. Some time went by without hearing anything, but McDonald was sent notice that the team's owner Jack Kent Cooke would be in Toronto and wanted to meet with him.

Cook was there not only to meet Jiggs but to critique him, as he pushed McDonald to incorporate more details when painting the word picture on the ice. Jiggs made another tape at the next opportunity and shipped it to Cooke. A few weeks later, on March 15th, he received a call from Los Angeles, and the job was his.

The origin of the nickname Jiggs

He was John Kenneth McDonald when he was hired, but Cooke wanted that to change. The owner told the young announcer that "John Kenneth McDonald" was as fine a name as he had ever heard, but it had no recall value. At training camp with a broadcast coming up, Cooke asked McDonald what his nickname was growing up. He replied quietly, "Jiggs," and the owner thought it was marvelous.

McDonald's father had a resemblance to one of the protagonists in the comic strip "Bringing up Father," which featured the characters Jiggs and Maggie. As such, an eight-year-old Ken started being called Jiggs around his hometown. He had never used it on the air, but the team sent out a memo saying that Jiggs McDonald would be behind the mic.

As Jiggs tells it, from that day on, whenever someone called his house looking for Ken, he knew it was either a relative or a bill collector.

He called Mets games during the 1982 season

While in Los Angeles, Jiggs listened to the sweet sounds of Vin Scully calling Dodgers games throughout the summer, and that came in handy when SportsChannel asked him to broadcast roughly 60 Mets games during the 1982 season.

New York Mets
New York Mets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

McDonald soaked in the knowledge of HOF Ralph Kiner during that season and also struck up a relationship with radio announcer Bob Murphy. There were noticeable differences between life in MLB compared to NHL, and for Jiggs, one of the things that stood out most was how teams traveled.

MLB teams traveled in a manner not customary in the NHL, with small things like parking, hotel rooms, and luggage all being taken care of for baseball players and announcers while hockey players were responsible for everything and carried their own bags as they traveled from one city to the next.

It was for only one season, but a time McDonald enjoyed and treasured before the start of the 1982-83 season as the Islanders chased a fourth consecutive Stanley Cup.