“Conservatively speaking, if they’re Rangers fans, I’d say 100 out of 100 times.”
This is broadcasting great Howie Rose‘s daughter, Alyssa, herself an emerging host, discussing fans approaching her and reciting “that call.”
But first, let me rewind and set the table.
This year during the Rangers’ playoff run, I was lucky enough to host events for the team, most of which happened at RangersTown Square – a giant tent outside The Garden filled with activities for fans to enjoy. You could shoot on a virtual Henrik Lundqvist, for example, and take a virtual reality tour of the locker room. Alumni were constantly there, cheerily taking pictures (mostly selfies), signing autographs and answering questions. The most fun part of the job was interviewing them for the crowd in attendance.
On this particular day, the shift involved Stephane Matteau, famous for a certain double-overtime goal on May 27, 1994 that sent the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final. Before the first question, I asked the audience, “does anyone remember a certain play-by-play call associated with…,” and without missing a beat, the fans in unison started to chant “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” The crowd then erupted into applause. But it didn’t end there. Joe Kocur, who was sitting beside Matteau, continued “and the Rangers have one more hill to climb, baby … But it’s Mount Vancouver!”
This iconic call by Rose is one of the most memorable and important moments in New York sports history, which strongly lives on even 23 years later … even through his teammates.
An epic series between the Rangers and Devils comes down to double overtime, and there would be an unlikely hero.
Matteau later told me that this was definitively the top moment of his career and that both he and Rose keep in touch, adding “we text each other every year on May 27. That call was magic. Every time someone recognizes me (in New York), they recite the call. I’m part of history, I’m part of Madison Square, I’m part of the great family of the New York Rangers. I thought I would get tired of it, but I don’t.”
Over time, you would expect that memories fade. But this one, somehow, has stood the test of time. Just ask Howie’s daughter, Alyssa. She was only four years old when Matteau scored that goal. It followed her everywhere during her childhood and if you ask her, she couldn’t have been happier and more proud of her dad.
“I can’t tell you the first time I heard it. I was four years old, so it’s a little too far back for me to remember a specific time and date,” recalls Alyssa.
“What I do remember, though, is the frequency in which I heard it. Especially in the mid-late ’90s (though it hasn’t really dwindled down much). I have vivid memories, walking through the mall with my parents on the weekends and people would just pass by my dad and yell ‘Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!’ As a young kid, I didn’t understand the significance, just that people were yelling at my dad. I would always turn to my mom and say, ‘OK Mommy, does Daddy know this one or is this another stranger?’ The answer was always the same – just a really happy, excited Rangers fan.”
Now 27, she herself is a talented broadcaster ready to break out. After pursuing acting, which landed her as a regular on the ABC soap opera “One Life To Live,” she has hit the ground running in the family trade. Whenever she meets someone new, whether they are in the industry or not, “the call” somehow always comes up.
“Conservatively speaking, if they’re Rangers fans, I’d say 100 out of 100 times,” she says.
“What honestly makes me so proud, though, is how excited they are that they’re meeting Howie Rose’s daughter. It’s a wild thing to me that so many people consider that call to be such a monumental moment in their lives. People talk to me about the exact moment they heard that call the same way my dad can talk to me about the exact moment he heard JFK was killed. Obviously, the two situations couldn’t be any more different, but for a diehard fan, a double-overtime goal in a Game 7, to compete for the greatest trophy in all of sports holds a ton of weight.”
After creating her own blog and merging the intersection of sports and dating, she found herself as a contributor to the popular Barstool Sports, building an impressive following while getting valuable reps behind the microphone. While Alyssa builds her own legacy in her field, she reflects on the legacy of this call for her father.
“My dad is so humble that no matter how much it means to him, he’ll never really talk about it. To him, he was doing his job, calling the game to the best of his ability. He grew up a huge Rangers fan, so I know it’s an amazing feeling for him to have been a part of the game the way that he was,” Alyssa explains.
“But when I ask him about it, all he talks about is the picture he had of my mom, my sister and I in his pocket that he just kept rubbing and kissing for good luck. When he talks about that call with me or just that entire Cup run in general, what he talks about is coming into my room as a four-year-old screaming, ‘We won the cup!’ Or turning around in the car on the way to my computer class (how cool of a four-year-old was I?!?) telling me we won the Cup and me yelling at him to keep his eyes on the road. So in short, does it mean a ton to him? Yes. I’d have to assume it does. But as the best dad in the world, whenever he talks to me about that moment, he only talks about how he was thinking of our family the whole time. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have him as a dad?”
As far as what Alyssa would like to do in her broadcast career, it may not exactly be following dad to the broadcast booth. She has her own dreams to fulfill.
“The short answer is to land an on-camera job and be one-eighth as talented, engaging, and well liked as my dad,” she states.
“The longer answer is that I’d love to do sideline, in the stands work. I’ve also been bitten by the hosting bug since my podcasts, so I’d love to work as a host in some capacity as well. All I know is that unless I’m talking about sports, I’m probably boring myself in conversation!”
Alyssa Rose was the latest guest on #TheApod, where we dive into her time on the soap opera “One Life To Live,” as well navigating through broadcasting!