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Audio from Albany: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on hockey

As part of a regular weekly feature on the Politics Now blog, Tom Precious of The News' Albany Bureau posts an audio interview with a newsmaker from the Capitol.


ALBANY -– As politicians in Albany like to say, we are all one state. In that theme, take heart Buffalo Sabres fans, but today we talk to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Not about efforts afoot to raise the state's minimum wage, or go to public financing of campaigns or whether to make available to the public annual teacher evaluations by school districts. Those will all be decided in the next couple months.

Today, we talk hockey with a die-hard hockey fan and, more specifically, a longtime New York Rangers fan. Silver talks of going to the old Madison Square Garden and getting in during his high school games for 50 cents a ticket under a special program the team had to lure young fans — a program he laments is long gone.

The Legislature's most powerful Democrat gives his advice for how the Rangers need to play in tonight's playoff game with the Capitals, and how he stays in touch with former Rangers, including Adam Graves, and the golf outing and chats he had over the years with Wayne Gretzky. He recalls the day former goalie Eddie Giacomin left the Rangers for Detroit, and the impact it had on his son.

Silver, known for his poker-faced ways in Albany, admits he is not the same at hockey games. "Yes, I'm cheering. ... Yes, I wear my Rangers hat, except when I'm in Buffalo at Rangers/Sabres games, obviously," he said.

He gives advice to the Sabres to get to the playoffs next year. And he talks about how the game has changed, rules and whether he wants to be NHL commissioner.

Of hockey, the longtime Albany powerhouse said, "It is my escape, in effect, from the political world."

--Tom Precious

Listen to the full conversation with Silver here:

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