Press Release Contributed by Ian Henry of the Seattle Thunderbirds
Bruce McDonald was part of radio broadcast team for last 14 years, organization for 30 years
Kent, June 6, 2012 – The Seattle Thunderbirds organization is in mourning with the passing of radio color commentator and play-by-play voice Bruce McDonald early Wednesday morning.
Bruce was diagnosed with leukemia in April. He had been courageously fighting cancer through several rounds of chemotherapy.
Bruce, born January 8, 1971, has been a member of the T-Birds family since he was 12-years-old. Even though he suffered from cerebral palsy, Bruce regularly attended Seattle Breakers games in a wheelchair with his mother Char. It was at one these games in 1983 that Bruce was called into the locker room by then Seattle Breakers head coach Marc Boileau. Boileau gave Bruce a clipboard and asked him to help the team track and keep statistics. He was a member of the team from that point forward.
Bruce joined play-by-play voice Chris Collins as part of the Thunderbirds radio broadcast team for the 1998-99 season. When Collins moved on two years later Bruce joined Joe Dominey in the broadcast booth. When Dominey moved on a year later Bruce joined Thom Beuning in the broadcast booth. Bruce and Thom have called the action on T-Birds broadcasts for the last 11 seasons.
Bruce is survived by his mother Char, sister Nolette Everett, half-brother Stevie McDonald, half-sister Stacy Talley and Grandmother Bertha.
Memorial services will be announced once they are finalized.
“This is a sad day for the Thunderbirds family and our fans. Bruce loved the T-Birds and his dedication to the team rubbed off on every person Bruce came in contact with. We will miss Bruce dearly and offer our sincerest condolences to his family.” – Russ Farwell, T-Birds President/General Manager.
”I only knew Bruce for 12 years, but his passing Wednesday has made this one of the most difficult days of my nearly 50 years of existence. Only the passing of my dad nearly three years ago could rival the sorrow I feel today knowing my good friend is gone. But I can’t feel sad and sorrowful for too long because Bruce would not accept that. If there is a book of adages out there, you will find Bruce’s picture on the page beside that old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”’ – Thom Beuning, Seattle Thunderbirds play-by-play voice. Read Thom’s In The Corners Blog Post on the passing of his friend.
“Bruce McDonald was a tremendous broadcaster and colleague but an even better person and friend. While the teams we represented were bitter rivals on the ice, none of that extended to the press box and I always looked forward to spending time with Bruce prior to the games talking about our teams, hockey and life in general. His dedication to the Seattle Thunderbirds and the WHL was undeniable and he was an inspiration and someone that always had a smile and positive outlook, regardless of the situation. It is going to be very strange to not see Bruce on my many visits to the ShoWare Center or when the ‘Birds visit Portland. I know that his spirit will live on and he will now be providing color commentary from on high moving forward. My condolences to all of Bruce’s family, Thom Beuning and the Seattle Thunderbird family for their loss.” – Andy Kemper, Portland Winterhawks Broadcast Team.
“Bruce was a ray and hope and a true shining light for me and all of us to keep positive and deal with whatever life hands our way. Trips to Kent will never be the same without Bruce. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Char and the entire Thunderbird family of staff and fans.” – Craig West, Tri-City Americans play-by-play voice.
“Bruce was always the epitome of dedication in our profession. Hardworking, kind, intelligent, and overcoming anything put in his path. A great broadcaster and colleague, I’m proud to have known him.” – Todd Vrooman, Portland Winterhawks Broadcast Communications Manager.
”I first met Bruce when calling my first T-Birds game in Seattle. I was immediately impressed. His physical limitations were never once considered and or complained about ever. My partner actually climbed and willed his way into press boxes and provided NHL level analysis on a regular basis. 14 seasons later I’m amazed at the work, effort and desire to be the best colour analyst in the WHL that Bruce put in. While his loss is devastating to me personally, his life example, loyalty and friendship will never be forgotten.” – Chris Collins, former play-by-play voice for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
“When I got the job with the Thunderbirds, I had no experience calling hockey. My early attempts were a struggle to say the least, but Bruce would constantly encourage me and emphasize the positives despite those early pitfalls. Every game was exciting to Bruce. Thunderbirds hockey was an event that he was thrilled to be part of. His mom Char was always there with him and she was absolutely devoted to her son. She raised a terrific one. If everyone would have the same positive attitude that Bruce did, the world would be a much better place. He was a terrific human being who cared about people, was very forgiving and saw the good in everyone. He made things around him better just by his presence. He is now getting his well deserved chance to play hockey in heaven.” – Joe Dominey, former play-by-play voice for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Written memories and condolences from WHL teams, players, personnel and media can be sent to Ian Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org . They will be posted to this page as they are received.
Ian Henry, Director, Public & Media Relations