For a team with such a brief history, the Islanders had some remarkably talented men broadcasting their games. In their first three years Harry Kalas was the man behind the microphone. He left the US Army in 1961, where he'd been a heavy weapons infantryman, and joined the new team. He began a long-standing tradition of game re-creations while the team was on the mainland, reading wire reports of the action off Western Union tickers. This technique was not new; it had been practiced by major league broadcasters until the early 1950's, when baseball at the top began sending its announcers on the road with the teams. In the minor leagues, presumably for financial reasons, it continued into the 1960's. I suspect the Islanders were one of, if not the, last minor league team to re-create away games; the reasons were certainly financial in their case.

Re-creation was basic but not simple; the announcer would read the wire reports of each inning and imagine the play which resulted in that putout or base hit. The routine second-to-first ground ball out might thus become "a hard shot deep in the hole, back on the grass behind the bag, requiring a long throw to first, a long stretch, just in time!" I never heard Kalas do this, although he certainly did. He told a story to the Delaware News Journal on the occasion of his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame which illustrates the leeway the broadcaster had while doing the games this way.

"If I had something to do that night, if I wanted to go to an early exit to the 'Green Turtle' across the street, then those games would be finished in like one hour and fifteen minutes," Kalas said.

"A lot of guys would be swinging at the first pitch."

In 1968 another future Hall of Famer took over the broadcasting chores: Al Michaels. Michaels has since gone on to much fame as the play-by-play man of Monday Night Football, ABC's Baseball Game of the Week, and the Olympic Games, but his early career found him doing Islander games, as well as University of Hawaii football and basketball. I admit it's hard to imagine the well-polished Michaels doing re-creations via teletype/telegraph, but I'm sure he did.

Michaels was followed by Les Keiter in 1971. Keiter had a long and distinguished career even before arriving in Hawai'i, broadcasting heavyweight title fights from Madison Square Garden and doing the NY football Giants and Knicks games from the mid-1950's through 1962. He was an acknowledged master of the art of re-creation; it's hard to imagine, but the sophisticated New York City market even embraced re-creations of the San Francisco Giants games for several years after the team's 1958 departure from the city. He broadcast home games live from 1971-1979, and did re-creations of the away games through 1987.

Alan Elconin succeeded Keiter as the regular play-by-play man in the early 1980s; he later went on to do California Angels games (as Al Conin) through 1992.