By Taylor Viles – 1851 staff
Jack Edwards grew up in New Hampshire watching the Bruins on his TV. He heard the announcers through the screen, but never thought he’d be calling the game himself.
Born in Illinois in 1957, Edwards’ first memory of sports goes back to when he was four years old and his father carried him into the Northwestern football stadium. “I think I’m one of those people for whom competition is really special,” said Edwards. “Competitiveness has always been part of my soul and it easily manifests itself in sports…”
Edwards secured a spot on the University of New Hampshire’s soccer team, but his hopes of continuing to play Division I were crushed after he sustained a gruesome leg injury playing soccer in Vail, Colorado the summer between his sophomore and junior years of college.
After Edwards realized collegiate soccer was no longer an option for him, he looked for other opportunities and enrolled in a broadcasting class. Four out of the 13 students he took the class with went on to have over 40 year careers in the industry. Edwards collected his first paycheck on his 22nd birthday and since then has enjoyed many years of broadcasting sports.
As a child, Edwards was an avid fan of the Boston Bruins and idolized defenseman Bobby Orr who, according to Edwards is, “the greatest hockey player to lace up the skates.” In 2005, Edwards achieved his lifelong dream of being a part of the team. In the midst of working on exhausting contract negotiations with ESPN, he came home to a copy of the Boston Globe on his front step. After flipping to the sports section, he saw the Bruins away play-by-play announcer was leaving his position. This sparked a light bulb. He spent the next few days pursuing the job to which he was hired shortly after. Two years later, he worked his way up to the full-time announcer that fans hear today.
Money can be a motivator for some people, but it doesn’t matter to Edwards. During his first job, his salary was lacking to the point that, “I once had to put back a carton of ice cream for a loaf of bread…I couldn’t wait to wake up every morning to go to work.” Edwards said. “You’ll be amazed at how little money you can make and still feel fulfilled and happy. You’ll also be amazed at how little the money is comfort to you if you do not feel fulfilled.”
Edwards stresses the importance of sleep for himself and others in the industry. He said broadcasters who make mistakes on air tend to do so because of a lack of sleep. Even broadcasters who do get a full eight hours a night, he says mistakes can happen frequently. “If you don’t have a seminal moment with a player, something that gives you a mental hook with which you can put a connection between the name and that body on the ice …you can sometimes make those kinds of errors,” said Edwards regarding an announcer that mistaked a players name several times through a game.
His advice to aspiring broadcasters and sports reporters is to practice as much as you can. Edwards said, “Networks don’t care about the name of the school [you went to] or your grades, they care about if you will be good at the job.” Make reels of your work so networks have examples to look at. “If someone gives you advice about how to broadcast better, take their advice and thank them for it,” he said.
When preparing for a game, he gathers statistics and notes on every player listed to play for that game. The notes could seem obscure, but he has them just in case he has an opportunity to improve a call. For example, he had a note for a recent game reading, “Brandon Carlo hasn’t scored in 44 games.” That game, the Bruins defenseman scored, and Edwards was able to incorporate that note into his goal call.
His schedule is grueling but Edwards is a family man. He mentioned splitting the Bruins schedule with his family time is hard and frustrating. “My kids have said to me during the hockey season, ‘even when you’re home, you’re not really home,’” said Edwards. “There’s a requirement of acceptance and tolerance of an obsessive and disruptive work schedule… When I’m on the road, I work even more than I do when I’m home and I’m largely unavailable to my family and that requires a level of understanding that children have to get used to.”
Edwards enjoys being the Bruins play-by-play announcer and doesn’t plan to retire any time soon. He knows that the team’s 100th anniversary is coming up in the 2024-2025 season and acknowledges by that time he will be 68-years-old. “After [that season] I’ll play it year by year,” he said.