Former Comets broadcaster Burke calling Yankees games

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Brendan Burke has made the most of his call-up from Utica.

Burke served as the Utica Comets’ award-winning broadcaster and vice president of operations for three American Hockey League seasons from July 2013 to August 2016 when he was promoted MSG’s announcer for New York Islanders games. He’s also recently been one of the broadcasters for the NHL on TNT.

Now, Burke — who turns 38 years old in early July — is making a brief transition to Major League Baseball this summer.

Burke is set to fill in for well-known New York Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling in early July on WFAN radio. Burke is scheduled to call the Yankees series against the Cleveland Guardians beginning Friday, July 1 and again during New York’s two-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates starting July 5.

“You guys need to understand, this is my great white buffalo, if you will,” Burke told WFAN after the announcement Thursday. “This is where I got the spark for being a broadcaster. When I was a kid my dad was the Yankees beat writer and so I used to sit between Sterling and (Michael) Kay in the booth when they were together when I was a nine-year-old.”

“To be able to bring this all the way around full-circle,” Burke said, “is something that’s even more special than just broadcasting the crown jewel of Yankees radio.”

As he mentioned, this isn’t Burke’s first experience with the Yankees. He previously soaked in the team’s culture at an early age because his father, Don, covered the Yankees and the Mets for newspapers in the New York City area.

Burke received the James H. Ellery Memorial Award for the 2014-15 season. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding media coverage of the American Hockey League. He has also been part of the broadcast teams for four AHL All-Star Classics (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019).

He also won a New York Emmy in 2021 for his work as the Islanders’ broadcaster during the 2019-20 season.

Burke, who grew up in New Jersey and is an Ithaca College grad, has previous baseball broadcasting experience. He was the broadcaster for the Batavia Muck Dogs, who were then members of the now-defunct New York-Penn League and the Lakewood BlueClaws of the South Atlantic League.

“It is a dream to call the Yankees (games),” Burke said on WFAN. “I grew up playing hockey and played hockey my whole life. When I started the idea to be a broadcaster it was to become a radio broadcaster. The Yankees would have been the pick of the litter. That’s where it came from. It wasn’t until college when I started doing hockey play-by-play that it morphed into that. ... Baseball has been a passion of mine.”

Before joining Utica, Burke spent two seasons with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers and five with the AHL team in Peoria, Illinois. He was also a fill-in play-by-play guy for the St. Louis Blues. His experience also includes calling college football, college basketball and Premier Lacrosse League contests.

Burke’s wife, Mary, is from Herkimer.

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