Monday, October 31, 2011
Written by Dave Sottile
Scott Stuccio’s career path isn’t typical of most American Hockey League play-by-play broadcasters.
“I’ve made some interesting changes along the way,” said Stuccio, who succeeded John Walton as voice of the Hershey Bears this season.
The Wilkes-Barre native graduated from Penn State University with a degree in meteorology. He spent 12-plus years working as an on-camera meteorologist at WYOU-TV in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market before joining the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as a broadcaster and media relations director.
The 38-year-old Stuccio played hockey growing up, and found himself watching Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers games on television.
Pizza and pucks
Weather was his first calling, but pizza wound up getting him into the hockey world.
“While I was working at the station I was an off-ice official for Penguins games, and I really got to know everybody,” Stuccio said. “I also played goalie in pick-up games on Thursday nights in between newscasts, so I was coming to the arena more often.
“Some of my relatives have a pizza shop, and I’d bring pizza to the arena, see people from the team and jokingly say, ‘So, when are you gonna hire me?’ And one day it turned into a job.”
Stuccio, the station’s chief meteorologist, left WYOU-TV in the fall of 2007 to call Baby Penguins games. That’s when original Wilkes-Barre/Scranton voice Tom Grace departed for other business opportunities.
Replacing Walton in Hershey
Grace returned to the team prior to 2010-11 season, and Stuccio moved over to handle color commentary on Baby Pens’ broadcasts. He jumped at the chance to fill Hershey’s vacancy when Walton – his close friend – was hired by the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals late this summer.
“Nobody broke into the AHL like I did,” Stuccio said. “And as it worked out, I wound up being the public face of the Penguins going to schools and talking to other groups. It sort of took off from there.”
Calling the game action always came easily, he said.
“I’ve always felt comfortable, because weather is the only ad-libbed part of a newscast, and I had been doing that for many years,” Stuccio said. “Hockey play-by-play is all ad-libbed.”
The career move turned out to be a good one for Stuccio, as fewer than two years later, WYOU-TV dropped its local newscast.
“Did I see that coming? No way,” Stuccio said. “I was just trying to open as many side doors for myself as I could. I was teaching at Penn State Wilkes-Barre and thought about teaching high school.
“But hockey is where I want to be, and I’m very excited about the opportunity I have in Hershey.”