Boston Bruins play-by-play announcer and UNH alumnus Jack Edwards delivered an insightful lecture that provided a look into his career Wednesday night in the Strafford Room. The lecture, titled, “From Typewriters to Twitter, UNH to NHL: Surfing a Liquid Landscape,” detailed the hardships and commitments that are required to find success in the sports media world, an industry that has significantly changed in recent years due to the rise of technology.
Edwards captured the room with his witty and descriptive stories about his journey, which included numerous jobs much less glamorous than ESPN and NESN. Following the lecture, he said he was pleased with the level of engagement that the crowd showed.
“I was really encouraged at how people were tuned in for an hour,” he said. “I had a lot to say, and some of it was kind of dense…but people were tuned in, and it was really energizing for me.”
He recounted being fired from a small-town newspaper for questioning one of his boss’s decisions, and was told that it was likely the end of his career, something that he was not going to allow. Rather than giving up, Edwards persevered and stayed in the business. Eventually, he landed jobs covering skiing for ABC at the 1988 Olympics Games and broadcasting and reporting for ESPN, including doing play-by-play at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, before finally joining NESN in 2005.
Edwards, who is known for his wacky, yet passionate style of announcing, let his personality shine while discussing his hockey broadcasting career, saying, “If I’m watching a hockey game, I want to end up dancing on the coffee table by the end of the night.”
The crowd reacted very positively to the lecture, which was the first he has ever done, and Edwards expressed his feelings on how much the support means to him.
“It is such a joy to understand that people watch, and more importantly, listen,” he said. “We connect, and that, to me, is what it’s about. It’s really, really rewarding to feel that from people. I’m really humbled by it.”
The class of 1979 graduate praised the education he received at UNH, saying, “The journalistic skills I learned on this campus come into play every day” in his career. He called the university “impressive,” and said he is pleased with what it has become since his days on campus.
“I am really proud of this state university,” he said. “What has gone on in the last 10 to 12 years here is really good to see. It’s an attractive place, and…I think this is a place where people are going to visit as high school juniors and say, ‘That’s it. That’s the place I want to go.’”
Edwards concluded his lecture with a question-and-answer session regarding his experiences as a broadcaster and the sports media field as a whole, before taking photos and chatting with excited fans, wrapping up a successful night.
“It was really fun,” Edwards said. “It was really an enjoyable experience, and I would love to do it more.”