"Those fortunate enough to inherit the position Fred Cusick created are merely playing on the land he cleared. None of us ever will have the impact he had in generating the fan base for this team. Fred was passionate and willing to share how much the game thrilled him every night, and he drew us in with those qualities. We have lost a great pioneer."
-- Bruins announcer Jack Edwards
Cusick's son, Ted, said his father died at his Barnstable, Mass., home after suffering from cancer. He was scheduled to be inducted to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame on Wednesday night.
Jack Edwards, the current television voice of the Bruins on NESN's, remembered Cusick as one of the giants of his profession, in part because of his passion for hockey.
"Those fortunate enough to inherit the position Fred Cusick created are merely playing on the land he cleared," Edwards told BostonBruins,com. "None of us ever will have the impact he had in generating the fan base for this team. Fred was passionate and willing to share how much the game thrilled him every night, and he drew us in with those qualities. We have lost a great pioneer."
Cusick served in the Navy during World War II before beginning his career with the Bruins in 1952. He handled the play-by-play on their radio broadcasts until 1970, when the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1939.
In 1963, he led the push to get the Bruins on television, editing and voicing over tapes of Saturday night games, which would then air on Sundays. Those replays were popular enough that the games made it onto live TV within a couple of years.
"He actually started broadcasting Bruins games when radio stations would only carry the second and third periods," Edwards told the Boston Globe. "When the game went on TV, he not only set a standard but also created the template. His outstanding vocal range was one of his best qualities -- I think he did some singing in choirs as a kid, and he matured into an excellent tenor. His spiking "Scooores!" calls are a part of broadcasting lore."
Cusick moved to TV in 1971 and called Bruins' games until 1997, when he stepped down after 45 years behind the microphone.
"What he was, was a Bruin," longtime Bruins coach and executive Harry Sinden told the team's Web site, "He was absolutely an admired, respected and beloved member of the Bruins family for many years. He is a huge, huge part of Bruins history. There’s no doubt of the impact he had on the broadcasting of hockey. He was a pioneer and the way hockey games are broadcast really originated with Fred. A lot of the camera work that they use was at his suggestion. He had a number of ideas that he brought in and they still use."
Cusick was a recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, given by the NHL to persons who make major contributions to the game in the United States. He also was the first American broadcaster to be inducted into the media wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Cusick is survived by his wife, Barbara, his son Ted, and three daughters.