Legendary Detroit Red Wings public announcer Budd Lynch died on October 9th at the age of 95.
Lynch was no less than an institution within the Red Wings organization, having held the position of public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena from 1985 to 2012. He began his career in 1949 as the team’s play-by-play announcer. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 as a media honoree and winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
Budd Lynch announced some exciting games.
He was on te microphone when Gordie Howe returned to the Olympia stadium with the Hartford Whalers and also when Marcel Dionne returned with the LA Kings.
Bud got a chance to watch Rocket Richard and Guy Lafleur, Red Kelly, Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey.
He was lucky enough to watch Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel and Alex Delvecchio too.
He even got a chance to watch Steve Yzerman.
The best part of watching all those Hall of Famers was he was able to make you feel like you were there with him and that’s what made him special to Redwing fans.
He made listening to the game on the radio or watching it on television exciting.
It seemed like he was talking to you personally.
Born Aug. 7, 1917, as Frank Joseph James Lynch in Windsor, he grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, but has made Wyandotte, Michigan his home for as long as most people can remember.
I met Budd Lynch when I was 14 years old and played hockey for a Bantam youth team called the Northwestern Panthers.
Many of the kids on my side of town in Northwest Detroit played ice hockey at St. Hedwig near Michigan Avenue in the Polish section of Detroit.
I remember my friends ringing my doorbell around 6:00 am in the winter so we could walk to St. Hedwig in time for an 8:00 am game.
I recall my friends Ricky Gist, Larry Morrow, Mike Beavers, and Anthony Davis all walking with me for miles in the dark to the rink with ice and snow at our feet and carrying our ice skates across our shoulders.
My house was the last on the way past Kronk Center (yes the one where Tommy Hearns boxed) heading across Michigan Avenue.
We left home dressed in our hockey equipment under a overcoat with hats and gloves to fight the cold. We could see our breath in front of us because it was so frigid, but we didn’t care in the least. We laughed and joked and made fun of each other all the way to the old outdoor rink now demolished.
Times are so different now and it would be impossible to make such a walk safely like we did back then.
One of the hockey mainstays around St. Hedwig was Ziggy Gonzales. He was a teacher at Detroit Northern High School where a few of our hockey buddies went to school.
Like a lot of us Mr. Gonzales liked Bryan ‘Bugsy Watson’ who was a defenseman with the Detroit Redwings.
We liked Bugsy because he was tough and would fight to protect taller teammates at the drop of a hat.
Budd seemed to like Watson just as much as we did.
To our surprise Mr. Gonzales arranged for Bugsy to come to our hockey banquet and he brought Budd Lynch along which was an added treat.
Both men made us feel really special.
Budd was familiar with the old outdoor rink and both professionals talked hockey with us and told us great stories about our heroes and legends of the game.
It was one of the best nights we ever had and our hero Bugsy Watson and Bud Lynch took the time to come to our side of town to give us a dose of their love and experiences with the game of hockey.
Although St, Hedwig outdoor rink is closed as if it was never there at all, the memories of playing there and the excitement of skating under the lights early in the morning are still fresh in my mind almost as if it were yesterday.
Rest in Peace Budd. You were a special guy to thousands of fans and provided some 14 year old kids some long lasting memories.