Cam Neely greets Fred Cusick's family. (Photo: Babineau)
Boston, MA -- Boston lost a sportscasting legend when Fred Cusick passed away on September 15, 2009 and in tribute to their broadcast pioneer the Bruins honored Cusick at Saturday’s game versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
During the first media timeout of the second period, the club dedicated the Bruins home TV broadcast booth to Cusick by renaming it the “Fred Cusick Broadcast Booth.” Also, a silver microphone encased in a Black & Gold frame, similar to the one that immortalizes the late Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most, will be mounted on the level 9 facade of the TD Garden’s.
Bruins legend and Vice President Cam Neely, as well as Cusick’s wife Barbara and granddaughters Julia, Marie and Katharine, unveiled the plaque at the entrance to the broadcast booth just prior to the game. About 20 members of Cusick’s family came to watch the unveiling and they were overjoyed by the dedication.
Cusick retired in 1997, but for many people throughout the New England, hockey devotees who couldn’t be at the games in the old Boston Garden it was Cusick’s voice that brought the B’s into their homes. A Bruins play-by-play commentator for 45 years, Cusick spent 1952-1970 on the radio and when the sport made the transition to television, he did, too.
“I think he would be incredibly honored. He just loved the game so much. He loved the team,” said Cusick’s granddaughter Marie of the evening. “This was his home, he always said he had the best seat in the house and it’s wonderful that he’s being honored this way. He loved it.”
“It was his life for more than 40 years and he always said he felt like he never went to work. It was just like being part of the game.”
NESN Sportscasters Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards introduced themselves to the family, and Edwards shared his thoughts on Cusick and his job as a sportscaster.
“I have the job of my dreams,” said Edwards. “But it was Fred Cusick who dreamed up this job and he’s bigger than anything could describe him adequately. He’s an icon.
“He gave half his life, and it was a long and full life, but he gave half of his life to his passion for the game and he brought so many of the New Englanders into the tent and gave us the feeling for the enjoyment of hockey. I don’t think we’ll ever see anybody with the likes of him.”
Clearly, Cusick deeply appreciated what it meant to be a part of the Boston sports culture, especially back in the day when hockey and the Stanley Cup champion B’s got top billing. But Cusick himself said that hockey was a staple here long before the great #4 and the Big Bad Bruins.
“If you want to talk about hockey, New England was long established, even before Bobby Orr," told BostonBruins.com in 2006. "I did 4 years of CBS television, game of the week, and we went head to head with NBC’s basketball, and out-rated basketball three to one, regardless of what teams were playing."
Thanks to that long established hockey tradition, a tradition that he helped nurture, Cusick will be remembered with great admiration. And thanks to his “retired microphone” and the broadcasting booth that now bears his name, Fred’s place in the Boston sportscape will be secure with future generations of Black & Gold Fans.