Fred Cusick 1918-2009


Fred Cusick

The voice that brought hockey to life for me in my youth has fallen silent.

Fred Cusick, aged 90, passed away yesterday on Cape Cod. Though it had been years since he had retired from the broadcasting job he held for 45 years with the Boston Bruins, there is not the slightest doubt that the news evoked pangs of deep, sincere sadness within the hearts of the team and it’s longtime fans, most of whom consider Fred the most admired, beloved announcer in the organization’s history.

No one that I have ever heard, including modern masters of the art of hockey play-by-play, could ever equal his enthusiasm, his pacing of the call, his ability to highlight dramatic moments and illustrate the action with such perfect timing and innate knowledge of the game. He was, quite simply, the best I’ve ever heard, period.

He started calling games in 1952 and throughout his career was an innovator in the way games were broadcast on television, suggesting camera angles, helping tailor the coverage to what would best suit the fan watching at home. He was there through the Bobby Orr era and the days of the Big Bad Bruins, one member of which, Derek Sanderson, would become his color man in the eighties, forming my own personal favorite team of broadcasters in any sport that I have ever watched. They brought the game to life in a way that was so infectious, so entertaining, so well done that it enhanced my love for the team and the game exponentially.

Those are the days that I remember so fondly even now, for so many reasons. Ray Bourque, an obvious Cusick favorite, starring on defense, Cam Neely scoring goals and scrapping. Terry O’Reilly as a player and coach. The Cup runs of ’88 and ’90.

The Last Hurrah for the Boston Garden.

“I’ve seen Shore and Orr and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

So many fond memories and, in my mind, I hear the voice of Fred Cusick as an accompaniment to them all. He is embedded in my psyche as an essential part of the nostalgia I feel for those bygone eras, as he should be.

He was a Bruin, through and through.

He will be missed.


Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: