Jack Edwards has been living out his dream since the 2005–06 NHL season working for NESN as a play-by-play announcer on the network’s Bruins broadcasts, but Saturday night he will help the Bruins pay tribute to the late Fred Cusick, the man who inspired that dream.
Cusick was the voice, first on radio and then on TV, of the Bruins for an astounding 45 years and Saturday, during the first media timeout of the second period, the club will dedicate the Bruins' home TV broadcast booth to Cusick by renaming it the “Fred Cusick Broadcast Booth.”
The club will also install a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the facade beneath the home TV broadcast booth, which will be permanently displayed. It is similar to the microphone that already exists for Celtics legendary broadcaster Johnny Most.
For Edwards, who grew up idolizing Cusick and longtime Bruins radio voice Bob Wilson, the experience will be an honor.
“I’ll be humbled,” Edwards said when asked how he will feel calling the game and being part of the ceremony. “It’s funny, but sometimes in this job I still feel like a kid and I’ll feel like a kid again tonight when that booth is named for Fred. I’ll be asking myself, "What am I doing here?'”
As Edwards pointed out after the Bruins morning skate Saturday, Cusick is the founding father of Bruins TV broadcasts.
“If you think about presidents, and maybe you’re favorite president is Calvin Coolidge or maybe if you’re from New Hampshire it’s Franklin Pierce, but there’s only one George Washington,” he said. “Fred was, if you will, the father of our country. I have the job of my dreams, but he actually dreamed up the job. He literally went around to TV stations in Boston and said, 'Look, you gotta put this on TV!'
"I’m sure that there would be games on TV around New England now, but it wouldn’t be as far along as they are without Fred having built that foundation.”
Through the years, hockey media and broadcasting has evolved tremendously, but it is the pioneers like Cusick that paved the road and allowed for this evolution to occur.
“If you look at media through the years, everybody that follows the original generation gets exponentially smaller in their impact and it doesn’t matter how long anybody does this job, or how well they or others perceive they did it, there will only be one first guy who did it,” Edwards said. “And for Fred to not only have done it for so long and at such a high level, makes him not only a great one, more than a pillar, it makes him an icon of sports broadcasting — and especially in New England.”
Edwards suggested that those looking to aspire in the business — or even just Bruins and hockey fans — try to learn more about this great man who brought Bruins games to life in living rooms across New England.
“People should spend a little time and find out some things about him, maybe pick up his autobiography,” Edwards suggested. “He was an extraordinarily humble man and at the same time loved to play hockey in his younger years, adored the game. That came through every time he was behind that microphone.”