The Death Of A Legend

Posted by Tom Locke on December 19th, 2016 filed in History, Life, Sports ... All Sorts

On Thanksgiving Day this year in the United States, we lost a legend in broadcasting. His name was Bob Chase.  Bob passed away of heart failure at the age of 90.

For me he was and will always be the voice of the Fort Wayne Komets, the minor league hockey team he began announcing for in 1953 and would continue to do so for the next 63 years.

During my teen years growing up in Toronto, I was “introduced” to this announcer by my close friend, Craig, whose house I would go over to in the evenings during the week.  After 8:00 pm, we would magically receive a radio signal across the Great Lakes from station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Bob Chase would open his broadcast with, “Hello everyone, this is Bob Chase live from Radio Rinkside at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum here in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the game between the Fort Wayne Komets and the …”.  Upon saying those words, Chase  transported me to that arena where I listened to games from the rough and ready International Hockey League.

Chase had a number of offers over the years to become an NHL commentator including a Detroit Red Wings offer in 1963 and one with the expansion  St. Louis Blues in 1967.

Some say it was a career mistake that he turned down these lucrative offers but as far as Bob was concerned, “… it all worked out in the end”.

In addition to captivating young listeners like me, Bob Chase made his life count and was considered one of the greatest promoters the city of Fort Wayne ever had.

He received countless awards during his career, highlighted by the Lester Patrick Award from USA Hockey and the National Hockey League in 2012 for service to the sport in the United States. That year he was also given a key to the city by Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and was inducted into the Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame.

I will miss him … but I will never forget him.


Leave a Comment