DETROIT – Budd Lynch, a veteran radio broadcaster who spent more than 60 years working for the Detroit Red Wings and became the team’s public voice, died Tuesday. He was 95.
Lynch, the hockey club’s public address announcer, died following a brief illness at a Detroit-area rehabilitation centre, the team said in a release. At 63 years, Lynch was the longest-tenured employee in team history.
“Budd Lynch was a dear member of the Detroit Red Wings family and legendary icon of our community,” Red Wings’ owner Mike Ilitch said. “Hearing Budd’s voice on the radio and over the public address at Joe Louis Arena was something that every Red Wings fan looked forward to and loved. His calm, friendly and distinguished voice was symbolic of who Budd was as a person.”
Lynch began his broadcasting career in 1936 at a Hamilton, Ontario, radio station shortly after graduating from high school. He switched stations the following year and volunteered in 1939 in the Canadian Army. Lynch served as a major in the Essex Scottish Regiment during World War II, losing his right arm and shoulder in a rocket attack following the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
He worked with the British Broadcasting Co. through the end of the war and later was hired by CKLW in Windsor where he was sports director and did play-by-play of Windsor Spitfires games.
Beginning in the 1949-50 National Hockey League season, Lynch began calling televised Red Wings games for WWJ in Detroit. He did play-by-play during four Stanley Cup championship campaigns that decade. Lynch became the play-by-play announcer for the Red Wings on the radio starting in 1960 and held the job for the next 15 years.
He later served as the team’s director of publicity and the public address announcer at “the Joe.”
“Budd Lynch will forever be synonymous with the Detroit Red Wings,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He experienced it all in his 63 years with the organization. He had a vast knowledge of the game and the stories he could tell would have anyone who loves the sport mesmerized for hours.”
Lynch was honoured in 1985 by the NHL Broadcasters Association with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award at the Hockey Hall of Fame and was enshrined nine years later in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
He was given the Ty Tyson Award for excellence in broadcasting in 2005 by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
Lynch is survived by his daughters, Janis, Valerie, Mary, Francey, Patricia and Lori.