On the latest Bruins Beat, host Evan Marinofsky spoke with Jack Edwards, the voice of the Bruins on NESN as their play-by-play announcer. In the first part of this two-part series, Edwards shared the story of how he started his job with NESN, a story he says he had been saving to share for his own autobiography.
Growing up in Durham, New Hampshire, and attending UNH for his college years, Edwards grew up a Bruins fan. He also grew up reading both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald every day, and when he moved to Connecticut after leaving Durham, had great issue with the fact that neither newspaper would deliver to his Connecticut town.
“I badgered the Globe for months,” Edwards said. “I called their circulation department and I said will you please deliver the daily Globe to my town. And finally they broke down,” in what was spring of the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
In September of 2005, Edwards picked up the paper at the end of his Connecticut driveway to see NESN’s job listing for a road play-by-play announcer — the current announcer, Dave Shea, was vacating the position.
“What have I got to lose?” Edwards remarked. “It was half the job of my dreams,” he said to Marinofsky, as the other half would be covering the home games with NESN as well.
Edwards called everybody he knew with both the Bruins and NESN, and sent DVDs of his work off to the Bruins and NESN after making all his calls. And the following day, Sidney Crosby was playing his first-ever professional game in a preseason match, against the Bruins, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. So Edwards got in his car.
“First guy I see when I walk into the rink is Sean Coady. Sean was a defenseman for UNH, really good human being, and Sean greets me with a bear hug, puts his arm around me, and says, ‘what the hell are you doing here?’ And I say ‘well, I actually just threw my hat in the ring for the Bruins’ play-by-play job.’” Edwards told Marinofsky.
“And he walks me right through the corridor to that space in the tunnel outside the Bruins’ dressing room, and beckons Mike O’Connell over — he was of course the GM at the time — and he said, ‘this is your guy. Right here.”
Edwards had a short conclusion: “24 hours later I was interviewing for the job at NESN and that night, Ray Guilbault, who is still the CFO at NESN, called me and offered me the job.”
Edwards called the road games for two years, and in 2007 NESN asked him to be the play-by-play announcer for all 82 games, though he says they may have asked Dale Arnold, current in-studio host of Bruins’ broadcasts on NESN, first.
Edwards also shared with Marinofsky that he had tried to get the NESN play-by-play job once before, when it opened up after the departure of Fred Cusick in 1995. At that time, Edwards had been working with ESPN and had just signed another contract with them for four more years. To call for the Bruins was his dream job, though, so he said, “I walked into the vice president being a real jerk at ESPN— which he was very good at—and I said ‘you know, I’m really happy here, but there’s a job that I want more than this one. And I need to know if you will let me out of my contract if the team and NESN offer me this job.’
“And it took him less than two seconds to say no,” Edwards said. “So I thought, ‘well, that’s one on the bucket list that doesn’t get checked,’ because the timing has got to perfect.”