Jack Edwards has enjoyed an enviable career, but it’s too bad it’s ending this way

NESN’s Jack Edwards was honored by the Bruins before last Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

Jack Edwards has enjoyed the caliber of career one dreams about and yet is so difficult to achieve when setting out into the sports broadcasting business.

Raised in Durham, N.H., he called University of New Hampshire hockey games as a student, when current Bruins broadcast partner Andy Brickley was a record-setting player.

Edwards eventually matriculated from his home state to the Boston market, first at WRKO, then at Chs. 5 and 7 for three years each in the heady ‘80s heyday of local news, before making his way to ESPN and “SportsCenter” and catching that heyday. One of the stories he covered during his Emmy-winning reporting days in Bristol was the death of Celtics star Reggie Lewis in the summer of 1993.

Edwards had already had, by any measure, a successful and fulfilling career when, in September 2005, he landed his dream job as a play-by-play voice for the Bruins, first on road broadcasts, and then for all games in fall 2007.

Nineteen years later, Edwards is so intertwined with the Bruins that it’s easy to overlook his previous sports media life. No matter where you land on his Black-and-Gold-colored approach to calling Bruins games, his talent has long since been proven, and then proven again.

Of course, as he would be the first to tell you, to make it as far as he has also requires luck, and he has had his share. No one — other than the nepotism cases — gets to the top of their profession without it.

But I can’t help but wish, as Edwards’s retirement nears because of a speech problem that remains a mystery to him and his doctors, that he had had just a little more.

Edwards’s passion for the job is as genuine as it is obvious. He has always treated everyone well, with kindness, generosity, and honesty. He will be the last to lament his lousy break, and he’s had an enviable career, but I hope he receives an abundance of empathy and applause in his final shifts as a Bruins broadcaster. (The “Thank You, Jack” sign visible on TD Garden’s electronic billboard is a nice touch.)

When Edwards and NESN announced Tuesday that he will retire at season’s end, out of curiosity I went back and looked at what was written about him when he was hired 19 years ago, and found a particularly fitting quote.

Here’s what Edwards told one of my predecessors as sports media columnist, Bill Griffith, in the Sept. 27, 2005, editions of the Globe, under the headline “Edwards, NESN look like good fit”:

“[This is] my dream job,” said Edwards. “Any time something opened at NESN in the past, I’d be in the middle of an ESPN contract, and you just don’t get out of those. Now I just don’t want to mess up this opportunity. My hope is to still be doing this in 2025.”

Almost got there. Getting to do it through 2024 constitutes a heck of a run. It’s just too bad the last year-plus had to be such a challenge for him.


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