Jiggs McDonald

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Jiggs McDonald
John Kenneth McDonald

(1938-11-28) November 28, 1938 (age 80)
Years active1967–present
AwardsFoster Hewitt Memorial Award (1990)

John Kenneth "Jiggs" McDonald (born November 28, 1938) is a sportscaster who has done play-by-play announcing for NHL games for more than 50 years.[1] In 1990, McDonald received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame.[2]


National Hockey League broadcasting career[edit]

McDonald began his NHL broadcasting career in 1967, as the original voice of the expansion Los Angeles Kings.[3] Initially, the Kings considered pairing him with a then-unknown Al Michaels.[4] Although "Jiggs" (from the Bringing Up Father cartoon strip) had been McDonald's childhood nickname, he had never used it professionally, nor at all among those he'd come to know after becoming an adult, instead going by "Ken", a shortening of his middle name. However, when he was hired by the Kings, the team's then-owner Jack Kent Cooke demanded that McDonald identify himself to listeners with a nickname that would be more memorable than simply "Ken McDonald". McDonald objected to the use of the nickname, but Cooke was insistent.[5]

After five seasons with the Kings, McDonald joined the Atlanta Flames, also as that team's original announcer, with Bernie Geoffrion serving as his broadcasting partner.[1] The Flames' ownership offered to allow him to drop the "Jiggs" nickname, but he opted to keep it since it was by then well-established as the name by which he was known professionally.[5]

When the Flames moved to Calgary in 1980, McDonald joined the New York Islanders broadcast team as play-by-play announcer, taking over for Tim Ryan; former Islanders captain Ed Westfall was the color commentator. McDonald spent 15 seasons as the Islanders' play-by-play man, and the team won three Stanley Cups during the period, and advanced to another Final.[1] Including national work, as well as work for other teams, McDonald called the play-by-play of over 200 NHL playoff games.

Although he was not the announcer for the first (1980) Stanley Cup championship team, McDonald hosted the New York Islanders' 25th anniversary celebration in 1996.

In future years, McDonald did play-by-play on Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts and Florida Panthers radio broadcasts. In November 2003, he announced his 3,000th regular season game; his number of games called is thought to be the highest by an NHL announcer.[1] Following the 2003–04 season he retired,[1] but he substituted for Dave Strader when the latter was on NHL on NBC assignments on Panther telecasts during the 2005–06 season.[6] Since the 2006–07 season to present, he has returned to call Islanders games on MSG Network, filling in for Howie Rose (when Rose is on vacation or doing New York Mets games on WOR). With his Islanders work in 2010, he has called hockey games across six decades. With Rose broadcasting the Mets playoffs in 2015, McDonald filled in for the first 3 games of the 2015-2016 season.[7]

McDonald also did broadcasts on nationally televised NHL games for numerous networks. Notably, he called games for SportsChannel America for five years, during which the channel was the rights-holder for national NHL telecasts. In addition, he broadcast the Winter Olympics for ABC and TNT, announcing at three Games.[1]

In addition, he filled in for Florida Panthers radio play-by-play man Randy Moller for three games when Moller became ill in January 2010.[8]

McDonald would return in 2017 and call the Islanders' and Kings' games against the Panthers on January 11, and February 9, respectively.[9][10]

Non-hockey related broadcasting[edit]

Outside of ice hockey, McDonald served as an announcer for the New York Mets Major League Baseball team in 1982 [is there a citation for this?]. In 1992, he did play-by-play on CTV for Olympic basketball games.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In late October 2008, McDonald and his wife were vacationing in Asia, only to be stranded in Bangkok, Thailand in late November and early December for a week in the wake of the 2008 Thai political crisis that resulted in the takeover of two commercial airports in Bangkok by pro-democracy activists.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Jiggs McDonald: Kings Television/Radio Play-By-Play Announcer 1967–72". Los Angeles Kings. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  2. ^ "The Legends – Media Honourees: Foster Hewitt Memorial Award Winners". Hockey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  3. ^ Gustkey, Earl (1997-04-10). "Jiggs Was a Name Fit for a Kings' Broadcaster". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  4. ^ Malamud, Allan (1993-06-05). "Stanley Cup Finals: Notes on a Scorecard". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  5. ^ a b "Hockey Central @ Noon". www.sportsnet.ca (Podcast). February 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Panthers hand reeling Blues fourth straight loss". ESPN. Associated Press. 2006-01-12. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  7. ^ http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/jiggs-mcdonald-to-replace-howie-rose-for-first-three-islanders-tv-broadcasts-1.10932446
  8. ^ Gorten, Steve (2010-01-19). "Florida Panthers stay with hot hand in goal". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  9. ^ Wright, Corry (January 11, 2017). "Jiggs McDonald Hits 50 Years of NHL Play-By-Play". NHL.com. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Jiggs McDonald to call first Kings game in 45 years". NHL.com. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Elliott, Helene (2008-12-02). "Jiggs McDonald saga near a happy ending". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-15.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mike Emrick
Stanley Cup Finals American network television play-by-play announcer
Succeeded by
Gary Thorne