It’s strange to have a 94 year-old man call you “Boss.” Even stranger when that man has worked for a team longer than you or your mother has been alive.
I first met the remarkable Budd Lynch four years ago when I entered the press box of Joe Louis Arena for my first game on September 24, 2008. I had left California, my family and the team that introduced me to hockey behind, to take on a new adventure with one of the most renowned franchises in all of sports.
If you’ve ever been on a tour of Joe Louis Arena, you know that the press box was an afterthought and quarters are close. My spot is directly to the left of the PA Announcer and as I approached it that night I heard for the first time what would become Budd’s regular greeting; “There she is!” I can still hear him say it.
For four years, I was blessed to have Budd Lynch by my side at home Red Wings games. Every night, I prepared the game night PA script, and every night, Budd would arrive with his typed notes. He liked to type them himself, on an actual typewriter, as part of his pre-game preparation. I had the chance to listen to him introduce some of the most gifted athletes in the game and recount tales of his adventures with some of the most storied names of our sport.
Almost everyone I know has a Budd story, and at his visitation this morning there were plenty of them being told. As I can see from your Facebook posts and Tweets, plenty of Red Wings fans have Budd stories as well – and how could you not? He was a man who made an impact; whether it was with his joyous laugh, stinky cigar, one-armed golf game or unmistakable voice. When you were around Budd Lynch, you knew it. He had a way of making you feel welcome, and as if you were in on whatever was causing that bit of mischief to twinkle in his eyes.
The next time I walk into the press box of Joe Louis Arena there will be an empty spot to my right, where a great man used to stand. There will be another voice announcing the starting line up, and asking fans to please rise and remove their hats. There will be no more stories of train rides with Gordie Howe or Ted Lindsay. I’ll never hear, “There she is!” said in that beloved voice, again. Yet, there will be one of the greatest lessons of my life. To live like Budd; as if every moment and person you meet is precious and as if this is the last minute of play in this period.
Budd may not be with us any longer, but thankfully we have our memories, and we have the DRW archives. Forever a Wing, that’s Budd Lynch.
Click here to listen to Budd Lynch.