Joel Perlmutter, the long-time public address announcer at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, died Saturday in Boston following a brief illness. He was 46.
Perlmutter was, perhaps, best known to Boston-area hockey fans as the PA voice for many years at Boston Garden for Bruins games and other events. It was his voice that trailed off as the power went out in the Boston Garden during the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals. “Edmonton goal by …,” he said, as the lights went out in one of the more infamous non-games in Stanley Cup history.
Perlmutter graduated from Northeastern with a degree in journalism, before moving on to work for the Associated Press. In the late ’70s, he got a job in the sales office of the Boston Garden, and eventually became the PA announcer for the Bruins and other Garden events, most notably, the annual Beanpot Tournament.
During the 1978 Beanpot, Perlmutter was working at the Garden as the famous blizzard swept through the East.
“I was running the press box,” Perlmutter said to the Boston Globe in a 1995 interview. “There was no way of getting home. I just helped coordinate with some of the security people at the Garden. … It was warm, probably the best place in the city to be. … I’d say there were several hundred who never got out.”
Perlmutter was also the first operator of the Garden’s message board, a job he held for 15 years. He held various jobs in the Boston sports scene over the year. From 1988-99, Perlmutter was the program director at radio station WBNW in Boston, and was also a PA voice at various other area events, including Northeastern basketball and Boston College football.