Monday, March 30, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Mike Lange, Pittsburgh Penguins

Our next blog profile will spotlight the longtime voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and one of the most colorful broadcasters to ever call the game of hockey, Mike Lange.

Mike Lange has been the voice of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey since his arrival to the Steel City in 1974. The Sacramento native arrived in Pittsburgh after spending time in the Western Hockey League with the San Diego Gulls and the Phoenix Roadrunners. After his first season in Pittsburgh, he left to call Washington Diplomats soccer for one season and then returned to Pittsburgh the next season and has been with the team ever since. Mike was the lead voice on Penguins radio and television broadcasts from 1975 to 2006. He was briefly replaced by Paul Steigerwald after his contract was not renewed, but returned in 2006 to once again call the Penguins on the radio, pairing with former Penguin Phil Bourque on the broadcasts.

Mike has also called NHL games for the ESPN network while also calling Pittsburgh Pirates baseball on cable television. He also appeared in the Jean Claude Van Damme action movie Sudden Death alongside Paul Steigerwald, appearing as himself in 1995. He won the Foster Hewitt Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting in 2001.

Mike is one of the most unique personalities to ever call a sporting event because of his use of colorful expressions to describe what he sees on the ice. This approach is wildly popular with Pittsburgh hockey fans in particular and hockey  fans in general. Some of these colorful phrases include " Scratch my back with a hacksaw, " "Get in the fast lane, Grandma, this bingo game's ready to roll", " He beat him like a rented mule", " Michael, Michael, motorcycle", and "Eddie Spaghetti" to name just a few.

Here are some of these vintage calls of Mike in action:

And a clip of Mike calling Pittsburgh's Game 7 win at Detroit to clinch the Stanley Cup:

To tune in to Mike on the call of Penguins games, their flagship station is 105.9 FM in Pittsburgh  (WXDX). The stations on the Penguins radio network can be found here:

You can also search for and tune in to these stations on the TuneIn Radio app for your mobile devices.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Nick Nickson, Los Angeles Kings

My next feature on the Hockey On the Radio Blog will feature the voice of the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, Nick Nickson.

Nick Nickson is in his 35th season as the play by play voice of the Los Angeles Kings, joining the team in 1981. He began his broadcasting career at Ithaca College where he worked as the sports director and did play by play for the school radio station, WICB. Nick got his start behind a hockey microphone in 1975, doing play by play for the AHL's Rochester Americans. He then served as the voice of the New Haven Nighthawks from 1977-1981.

He got his big break into the NHL in 1981. Nick joined the Kings and was paired with longtime TV voice Bob Miller at that time. The Kings decided to separate their broadcasts in 1990, and at that time
he became the radio voice of the team. He was the first radio voice of Kings hockey and has been performing in that role ever since. The Rochester, NY native has been behind the mike for two Stanley Cup Championships.

Nick was awarded the greatest tribute that an NHL broadcaster could achieve when he was selected to receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in June of 2015.  This award is given annually to a broadcaster who has demonstrated excellence at broadcasting the game of hockey over an extended period of time, and who also has contributed outstanding service to the game as well.

As a further tribute to Nick's outstanding achievements he was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in January of 2009 while then being inducted into the Frontier Field Hall of Fame in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. in 2011.

Nick has also called games for the NHL Radio Network. He has been instrumental and developing and overseeing the Kings Radio Network, and he is a part of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters and NHL Broadcasters Association. He was honored with " Nick Nickson Day" at Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2006 as a tribute to his 25 years of service with the Kings and NHL broadcasting. The broadcast booth at Staples Center is named in his honor, and was dedicated to him during that tribute evening.

Nick has also done public address work for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1983-1989) and he called the National League Championship and World Series for the Dodgers in 1988.

The amazing thing about listening to Nick, as I have done for years, is the smoothness of his delivery. His crisp clear delivery really makes the game enjoyable to listen to. Here is Nick's call of the Stanley Cup clinching goal by Alec Martinez in the 2014 finals against the New York Rangers:

And his call of Alec Martinez's Game 7 OT winner to defeat Chicago in the Western Conference finals in 2014:

And a flashback to Nick's career dating back to his DJ days in his hometown of Rochester, here is the theme song to Nick's radio show from WBBF radio in the days before his radio hockey tenure:

To tune in to the Kings radio broadcasts with Nick and color commentator Daryl Evans, the broadcasts are heard on flagship station KABC (790 AM) on the dial. All games are streamed live at  Additionally, you can tune in via TuneIn radio and do a search for KABC.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Broadcaster Profile- Chuck Kaiton, Carolina Hurricanes

I hope you've enjoyed my look at the radio voices of Hockey East. Please be sure and check back as I will be updating these posts and profiles as time goes on. As you also may recall I have thrown in some NHL voices past and present as well as an AHL voice. I'd like to keep the momentum going and move on to another voice still going strong in the NHL and a man that I grew up listening to here in New England, the current radio voice of the Carolina Hurricanes and former voice of the Hartford Whalers, Chuck Kaiton.

Chuck Kaiton is a true iron man in hockey radio broadcasting. He began his tenure with the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 and has never missed a game in the entire history of the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise. Chuck began his broadcasting career in 1969 at the University of Michigan and then did radio work in sports at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1975, and was then named Wisconsin's Sportscaster of the Year in 1979. He made his way to Hartford in that same year and has been with the franchise ever since. His tenure included a relocation to Raleigh, N.C. when the franchise became the Carolina Hurricanes. He is also president of the NHL Radio Broadcasters Association.

Chuck is unique in that he normally broadcasts games alone, a rarity in this day and age.

His work here in New England occurred on WTIC in Hartford (1080 AM on the dial), and many listeners on the Eastern seaboard were able to pick up his calls. He is a true professional and a stickler for detail- as he achieves perfection with player pronunciations by directly talking to players regarding the correct way to say the name- a skill that every broadcaster needs to master.

He is very interactive with fans and has a great understanding of the history of the game. Chuck devotes a segment of his broadcasts to answering E-mailed questions from fans in a segment called " Kaiton's Corner." He was honored with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2004, the highest award that can be bestowed on an NHL broadcaster.

Certainly one of the highlights of Chuck's career was winning a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. Here is a clip of Chuck calling the dramatic moments of that clinching Game 7 win, on the 9394th day of the history of the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise:

And here is a wonderful clip of Chuck's version of the epic and famous poem, " Twas the Night Before Christmas."

And finally, here are some vintage clips of Chuck's calls from his time in Hartford:

If you have never heard Chuck call a game, you really are missing out on something special. I listened to him for years when he worked up here and I love his voice and his passion. With the advent of the Internet it's easier than ever to tune in to his broadcasts now. Hurricanes games are broadcast live at 99.9 FM on the dial (WRAL) and the link to their station is at  You can also pick up Chuck's broadcasts anywhere in the world on the TuneIn radio app for your mobile devices.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Broadcaster Profiles- Dan Parkhurst and Pete Webster, UNH Wildcats

My next broadcaster profile will spotlight two great and knowledgeable hockey personalities- and the final team in regards to Hockey East radio- the radio broadcast team at the University of New Hampshire, Dan Parkhurst and Pete Webster.

I'll begin this post by featuring Dan Parkhurst (left), the play by play voice of UNH hockey and arguably one of the most committed and hardest working people in the college hockey game today. Dan's work not only can be seen and heard on a local basis and within Hockey East, but also on a national level as he can frequently be seen calling games on the NBC Sports Network and has been paired with former Boston Bruin and BC radio analyst Ken Hodge, Jr.

Dan's broadcasting career has spanned over two decades. An attendee and 1993 graduate of UNH, he began by calling UNH games on student radio. In the 1997-98 season he called the Hockey East Online Game of the Week, which to this day was one of the first online broadcasts of college hockey on the Internet.

He then made a stop in North Andover and had a three year run at Merrimack College from 1998-2001 and additionally called selected UNH hockey games for New Hampshire Public Television. It was during these times that Dan was paired with Mike Machnik, the current color commentator for Merrimack hockey (see Mike's entry here). Dan then became the full time voice on NHPTV, and remained in that role until 2008 when the station dropped its coverage of UNH hockey.

Dan was named the voice of UNH hockey in 2007 and has also combined his radio work with doing UNH games on television broadcasts which are produced by UNH athletics. These broadcasts are shown both locally on WBIN television as well as nationally on various outlets, most notably on FOX College Sports. Dan also has called tournament games for ESPNU and NESN over his illustrious career.

Dan also has been the website designer and coordinator of the Hockey East website for the past 18 years and has been instrumental in promoting the league through merchandising sales of college hockey gear. And he was named the 22nd annual winner of the distinguished Joe Concannon Media Award in 2013 for outstanding service to college hockey through media work.

Additionally, Dan and I share a common bond- playing music. He is very active as a musician and is quite good at it.  His daughter Riley is an accomplished musician as well and she plays out frequently at various locations. Here is a clip of the two of them performing live:

Dan retired from UNH hockey at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, calling his final game with Pete Webster on the campus of Merrimack College, as the Wildcats were eliminated by the Warriors in three games in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs.

Dan's partner on the call of UNH hockey is a man who has been a huge part of UNH hockey for the past three decades, Pete Webster. Pete's roots in the game go back to his days as an intern at the ECAC. He has been behind the mike for 22 years. Pete began his career on the air with UNH during the 1992-93 season and was named full time analyst in January of 1994.

Pete has been on the radio for two national championship games at UNH. He has called two Frozen Fours, in Anaheim, CA, and Buffalo, NY. Some other highlights of Pete's career included being at the mike for UNH's 2009 NCAA regional come from behind win over North Dakota and the 1998 Regional Final win over BU that vaulted the Wildcats into their first Frozen Four since 1979. He also has been a huge asset assisting the UNH athetic department with media relations work.

Pete is a middle school instructor at York Middle School in Maine and is active in the coaching of youth and public school sports, and is the varsity tennis coach at York High School, a position he has held for over 20 years.

Pete was honored with the reception of the Concannon Media Award in 2014, the year after Dan's acceptance of the award, making it two consecutive years for a UNH recipient and becoming the third person associated with UNH to receive the award. Pete became the 23rd person overall to accept the award since it's inaugural winner in 1992 (Maine's Larry Mahoney).

I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Dan and Pete's work and have followed them for as long as I've been in the league.  Here is a clip of their work from a recent 3-0 win over Merrimack at the Whittemore Center:

And a second clip from the same weekend against Merrimack:

And finally here is a clip of Dan calling a goal in the NCAA Regionals in March 2015 in a game between BU and Minnesota Duluth:


To tune in to Dan and Pete on the call of UNH hockey, their voices can be heard on the Wildcat Sports Network, which is comprised of three stations on the dial: WPKX (AM 930) in the Dover-Portsmouth-Rochester area, WQSO-FM 93.7 in the same region, and WGIR-AM (610) in Manchester. Check for those stations also on the TuneIn radio app for your phones and tablets.