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Legendary voice Cusick dies at 90

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  September 15, 2009 03:05 PM

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Fred Cusick, the popular play-by-play voice for the Bruins for more than 40 years, has died, his family confirmed to the Globe this afternoon. He was 90 years old.

Cusick, who is scheduled to be inducted to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame tomorrow night, was a signature voice of the Bruins during their 1970s heyday.

His simple trademark call of "Score!" whenever Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely and countless other Bruins put the puck in the net served as familiar punctuation on their goals.

Jack Edwards, the current television voice of the Bruins on NESN's telecast, remembered Cusick as one of the greats of his profession, in part because of his passion for the sport.

"When you listened to Fred Cusick call a Bruins game, you knew this: he loved hockey with endless enthusiasm, and he was thrilled every night," Edwards said. "By sharing those qualities with those of us in his considerable audience, he pulled us closer to the game we all enjoy so much -- and he added to that enjoyment.

"I’m really sorry that we have lost such a passionate fan of hockey and such a good, humble man.

Upon returning from a tour of duty with the Navy during World War II, Cusick began his career with the Bruins in 1952, handling the play-by-play on their radio broadcasts until 1970.

In 1963, he led the push to get the Bruins on television, editing and voicing over tapes of the Bruins' Saturday night games, which would then air on Sundays. The replays were popular enough that the games aired on 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 said. "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 got to use the phrase a couple hundred times while calling the Bruins' 1970 Stanley Cup championship for WBZ-FM (1030). He then moved to television in '71, taking over play-by-play duties at Channel 38 and holding that position until 1997, when he retired after 45 years calling Bruins games.

He also was the play-by-play voice of the Bruins on NESN from 1984 to '93.

Even in retirement, Cusick stayed busy. He broadcast AHL games for the Lowell Lock Monsters until 2002, when he stepped away from the microphone at age 83.

But his hockey legacy will be lasting in Boston.

"All of us who follow him as Bruins’ announcers will leave smaller footprints than Fred," Edwards said. "He cut the trail."

Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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