In the shadows of the Belt Parkway and the Rockaways sits the historic Floyd Bennett Field. A remnant of an airplane hangar from years gone by, Floyd Bennett Field now houses the Aviation Sports and Events Center, a family fun spot for children of all ages.
The center includes a regulation size skating rink, and since 2009 has been the home to the single-A professional hockey team–the Brooklyn Aviators. The Aviators play in the Federal Hockey League and are affiliated with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers.
As with any minor league franchise, players are looking to reach the majors, or find need to find their way back to the big time—the NHL.
The former could apply to the team’s public address announcer Patrick Cosgrave.
At 39, Cosgrave is a 15-year radio veteran, and has several years of p.a. work under his belt.
“The salary cap for the entire league for the week is $4,000,” Cosgrave tells FishbowlNY. “This is the lowest level of professional hockey.”
Oh, did we mention, Cosgrave is a New York City police officer, working out of Brooklyn South?
“I’m not on the street, but I’m not in trouble or anything,” Cosgrave says. “I do mostly administrative stuff.”
In July, Cosgrave begins his ninth year as a cop. Earlier in his law enforcement career, Cosgrave was on in the street, ironically, in the district that covers Floyd Bennett Field. After just 14 months, Police Officer Cosgrave left foot patrol when a new opportunity arose in the department.
“I’ve led a pretty charmed career in the police department,” Cosgrave admits.
The Brooklyn native got his start in broadcasting when attending Kingsborough Community College in the early 1990s, he was a regular on the school’s radio station.
Forging his life in radio, Cosgrave was at K Rock/WXRK from 1990 to 1996. Although Cosgrave wasn’t an air personality, he gained experience, and built friendships.
Cosgrave cracked the mic at a couple of Hudson Valley stations, including WRRV in Middletown, New York, where he was the first jock in the country to play Avril Lavigne’s breakout hit It’s Complicated in 2002.
This is not the first time that Cosgrave’s fondness for radio and his allegiance to police work occasionally overlapped.
“I worked for Jack FM (jockless WCBS-FM venture from 2005 to 2007) for awhile,” Cosgrave says. “I was one of the guys. I ran the board for them part time on the weekends.”
Cosgrave, who has no interest in leaving the force, does have an interest in getting more public address work, if not a return to on-air shifts.
“Twice in the last two years, two different program directors at two different stations called me [for weekend shifts],” Cosgrave recalls. “I get the call Thursday afternoon, ‘This local legend got blown out…so they need a job. They’re kind of a name, and you’re kind of not.’”
Cosgrave says clearance is required for any off-duty employment.
“[The Brooklyn Aviators gig] is no problem, because it’s nothing political, it’s nothing controversial. It’s just like a voice-over sort of entity,” Cosgrave says. “If I were to actually do broadcasting, that would have to go through much higher channels than I do for this job.”
So P.O. Cosgrave is accruing a pension by day, and keeping his mic dreams alive by night. He hopes the work on Aviators games can lead to a higher-profile position.
“I think I’m pretty good at it, I’ve been doing it for four seasons,” Cosgrave admits. ”I must be doing something right.
“I’m waiting for the Islanders to have an opening…I wanted to try out for the Nets [P.A.] gig, but I found out about it when it was too late,” Cosgrave says.
But Cosgrave isn’t stopping there. He is trying to take his extra curricular activities to TV–sort of.
“I couple of years ago I almost sold a reality show about this team to a network,” Cosgrave says.
He thinks the show would be a good fit for the NHL Network.
For now, though, Cosgrave, like many of the Aviators players, waits for a chance to get called up the big leagues.
“I would like to do this as a side job to what I’m doing now, because you can’t leave the police department–it’s like the mafia,” Cosgrave laughs.
He says the pension after 20 years makes the NYPD his untouchable employment. But the idea of having a full-time announcing job, once approved, would mean having to reconfigure his police workload.
“In the position I’m in, I only work three days (12-hour shifts), so I can kind of maybe swing it somehow.”
Cosgrave considers the non-police work his “jobby”–a cross between a job and hobby. He says the department likely wouldn’t have an issue being full-time concurrently elsewhere.
“They can’t stop you from making money, right?” Cosgrave says. “As long as it doesn’t affect your duties with the police department, as long as it’s legal, they don’t care what you’re doing.”