Hershey Bears Broadcaster Celebrates Milestone 500th Game
Broadcaster Zack Fisch Calls 500th Game with Hershey Bears
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) and the Hershey Bears - the most storied team in the American Hockey League (AHL) - are proud to recognize and celebrate Zack Fisch, Manager of Media Relations and Broadcasting, on his 500th career broadcast as a member of the Bears organization!
Since October 2016, Zack’s voice has been synonymous with the Hershey Bears, and he has developed a fan base of his own alongside the team. “That’s the biggest thing: the power of our fan base. There is always someone listening, and all the way to the end! I could say something at the very end of a broadcast, well after everyone may have stopped listening, and the next day someone will bring up something small I said at the end - ‘Hey, I liked when you said this or that!’ It’s how your words and how you paint the picture resonates with the fans.”
We were able to steal a few minutes of Zack’s time before he met with the team as they practiced in the “Old Barn,” aka the historic Hersheypark Arena, of which Zack is an enormous fan. “The Hersheypark Arena is one of the best buildings in all of sports. [...] I started the week on a Tuesday, it was my first day. I went to the Arena and just sat in there for about two hours to soak in the history, look around, take it in. It smells like hockey, feels like hockey - it’s like royalty in the hockey world.”
First Game Memories
Zack had a whirlwind start at HE&R, as his first game with the Bears was on the road in Rochester, and experienced an unconventional way of calling the game.
“My first game in Rochester was on a cell phone. I arrive and get everything set up. I’m familiar with gear- I set it up in the morning and everything is ready to go. I went upstairs later and the gear would not connect! It’s 5:30 p.m., and I go on-air at 6 p.m. I had to go down for a picture on the bench and I look completely miserable in the picture.
I want to make a good first impression, but nothing is working. There was a massive internet outage. I called in to the producer and asked if there was a way to get me on via cell phone. I called [the game] on a baby blue iPhone - phone in one hand, updating Twitter with the other. The Bears lost the game 5-4. It was truly a trial by fire. But the show must go on! I got on the air and that’s the most important thing. [Listeners] could hear it, but it was ‘old-timey.’ A very humble beginning.”
The Evolution of Style
From that first cell phone call to acting as Master of Ceremonies for the Bears' celebration of their 12th Calder Cup, Zack's style has changed over the years.
"I’ve grown up [in Hershey]. I came here at 26, which is pretty young to be in the AHL. I’ve matured as a person, employee and as a broadcaster. It’s night and day from then until now. Over the years you find your voice, identity, style and what works for you and your listeners - we are blessed with a passionate fanbase! […]
[When I started] it was cool to be in a place that I could see myself calling home, and 500 games later, here we are. I've had 500 regular season games, but I'm close to 800 total in the industry as a paid professional. The history and tradition of the Hershey Bears organization, to be here in Hershey, that has the caliber of legendary broadcasters that have come before me, is incredible."
The videos below highlight the evolution of Zack’s calls from his first Game at GIANT Center in Fall 2016 to the call as the Bears won Game 5 of the Calder Cup Playoffs in Spring 2023.
Sweet Memories Made in Hershey
Outside the booth, Zack prioritizes spending time with his young family, comprised of his wife Krista, 4-year-old son Jaxson, and 5-month-old daughter Easton. “My free time is with my kids and being a dad. As a family, we love going to baseball games in the summer. We’re big on family and trying to see our extended family as much as we can.” He continues, “Central PA is incredibly special for my wife & I. It has become the home we love and have made friends here. And our hockey family. Easton was in the Calder Cup!"
The Hershey Bears' win of their 12th Calder Cup stands out as a career highlight in Zack's memory. “This past year and winning the [Calder] Cup is a memory of a lifetime. That saying, ‘You walk together forever as champions,' is true. It was a great team on and off the ice, the way that we did it - to overcome so much and go into the final series winning three games at home in front of sold-out crowds.”
Other key memories include working with Troy Mann during Zack's first few years with the Bears, calling the Outdoor Classic game at Hersheypark Stadium in 2018 ("That was a career first!"), and making the most of being in a hockey bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We spent a lot of time together as a staff, and we would have staff skates in the afternoons. Those staff games were some of my best memories of that time; we couldn't see many other people except each other.”
In addition to the Bears, Zack has also called 18 games for the Washington Capitals, saying, “Like the players, the goal for every AHL broadcaster is the National Hockey League (NHL). I've lived my dream as a professional hockey broadcaster. […] I've become a dad out of the booth and found my voice in the booth. I’ve really come into my own and established myself as someone who can go at a moment's notice if the Caps need me. They trust me the same way they trust the players that they call up.”
“I’m appreciative of every opportunity I’ve been given with HE&R - it’s a great place to be in the hockey world and as a professional. It’s a special place, and I'm lucky. I’m looking forward to 500 more [games] and beyond.”
“It’s been a lot of fun, and it's the best market in the AHL. I will always be proud of calling myself a Hershey Bear and being in the lineage forever.”