Charles "Chuck" Kaiton is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He has been with the team since 1979–80 season, their first in the NHL while they were still the Hartford Whalers.

Career[edit | edit source]

Kaiton began his broadcasting career in 1969 at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, and then, in 1975 moved on to broadcast sports at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1979, he was named Wisconsin's Sportscaster of the Year. That same year, he made the jump to the NHL, joining the Hartford Whalers. He has been with the team ever since, following them to North Carolina in 1997–98. In 1986, he was elected president of the NHL Broadcasters Association, another job he has held ever since.[1]

Unlike most broadcasters, who typically work in tandem with an analyst or color commentator, Kaiton normally calls games alone. However, John Forslund, the Hurricanes television play-by-play broadcaster, will join him when he is not needed for a broadcast. This only typically happens during the postseason.

Kaiton is widely considered one of the best broadcasters in the league. His trademark is the use of large words, such as triskaidekaphobia whenever any number 13 comes up, as well as his exuberant play calling in the most exciting moments of the game. He is quite unbiased in how he does this, often calling opposing teams' goals as loudly as Hurricanes' goals.

However, his most well known trait is the proper pronunciation of player names, as opposed to using the Anglicized version most broadcasters use. He ensures accurate pronunciation of names by talking to the players themselves. For instance, while most broadcasters pronounce Sergei Samsonov's name SAM-so-nov, Kaiton uses the accurate sam-SO-nov. [2]

Kaiton has always wished to help fans better understand the idiosyncrasies of the game. To achieve this end, he has a segment during the second intermission of every broadcast called "Kaiton's Corner", where he answers questions e-mailed by fans. These questions range from rules clarifications to game history to which stadiums are best for broadcasting and anything that anyone can think of. True to his broadcasting style, he always asks that fans give him their preferred pronunciation of their name.

In 2004, Kaiton was awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. This award, considered the equivalent of a Hall-of-Fame induction for broadcasters, is given for outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting.[3]

On June 19, 2006, the Hurricanes won their first Stanley Cup. At the time, Kaiton had called every game of the Whalers/Hurricanes' NHL existence (they had come over from the World Hockey Association in 1979, the same year Kaiton became their announcer). At the end of the seventh game, Kaiton told the story of his career and the entire franchise to that point when he made the call, "9,393 days of frustration, and on the 9,394th day of NHL existence, the Carolina Hurricanes—the Whaler organization 'til '97—have won the Stanley Cup!"

The Hurricanes usually pipe a feed of Kaiton's radio broadcasts through the concourse of the RBC Center so fans won't miss any action while away from their seats.

Personal[edit | edit source]

Kaiton grew up an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan, even though he is from just outside of Detroit. He is an avid fan of cigars, and was quite pleased to be able to have one with the Stanley Cup at the Hurricanes 2006 Championship Parade.

He currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, Mary. The couple have three sons, Nelson, Chuck and Russell.

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