Hockey Hall of Famer Budd Lynch, the longtime public address announcer of the Detroit Red Wings, has died at the age of 95.
Lynch passed away early Tuesday.
The native of Windsor, Ontario, began his radio career out of high school before heading to Europe as a volunteer in the Canadian Army's Essex Scottish Regiment, an infantry unit. He lost an arm to a rocket not long after the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
Lynch, known for his distinctive voice, began his career as the Wings' play-by-play man in 1949, after he returned home from combat. The team won the Stanley Cup in his first season behind the mike. In all, he was with the organization for eight championships, the last in 2008.
"Budd Lynch was a dear member of the Detroit Red Wings family and legendary icon of our community," Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said. "Hearing Budd's voice on the radio and over the public address at Joe Louis Arena was something that every Red Wings fan looked forward to and loved. His calm, friendly and distinguished voice was symbolic of who Budd was as a person. He always had a smile on his face, an upbeat spark in his voice and a kind and encouraging word for everyone he met.
"The Red Wings, our fans and the entire hockey world will miss Budd's renowned voice, but most of all we will miss a dear friend. Marian and I, and our entire organization, extend our deepest sympathies to Budd's daughters, loved ones and the entire Lynch family."
Lynch tried to retire twice. In 1975 he was brought back by Alex Delvecchio as the team's director of publicity, a job he held for 10 years. A second retirement attempt failed in the 1980s when Marian Ilitch, wife of owner Mike Ilitch, asked him to stay on. He served as the public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena since 1985.
"Budd Lynch had seen so much Red Wings history, had become so much a part of their heritage, that no visit to Joe Louis Arena for a Red Wings home game felt truly 'official' without hearing his voice," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "The National Hockey League mourns the passing of a war hero, a Hall of Famer and an outstanding ambassador for the game. We send heartfelt condolences to his family, the Red Wings and their fans."
Lynch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 as the winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
He chronicled his career and all that he witnessed in his time with the Red Wings by compiling the book “My Life: From Normandy to Hockeytown” in 2008. The Red Wings host a group of 20 military veterans and active members on leave at each home game in the Budd Lynch Veterans Suite, named in his honor in 2009.