Chuck Kaiton with his wife Mary during the Hurricanes Stanley Cup victory parade in 2006
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Occupation||Former Radio broadcaster for the Carolina Hurricanes|
Charles "Chuck" Kaiton is the former radio play-by-play announcer for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He was with the team since the 1979–80 season, their first in the NHL while they were still the Hartford Whalers. He never missed a game in the team's NHL history; the franchise came over from the World Hockey Association in the same year Kaiton became their announcer.
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.
Unlike most broadcasters, who typically work in tandem with an analyst or color commentator, Kaiton normally called games alone. However, John Forslund, the Hurricanes television play-by-play broadcaster, joined him when he was not needed for a broadcast. This only typically happened during the postseason.
Kaiton is widely considered one of the best broadcasters in the league. Much of his acclaim comes from having been heard across much of the eastern half of North America on Hartford's WTIC for most of the team's run in New England. 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 pronounced Frantisek Kaberle's name Ka-ber-LEE, Kaiton used the correct Czech pronunciation Ka-ber-LUH.
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 arenas 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.
The Hurricanes usually pipe a feed of Kaiton's radio broadcasts through the concourse of PNC Arena so fans won't miss any action while away from their seats.
In July 2018, the Hurricanes tendered Kaiton a new contract offer that would have required him to take an 80 percent pay cut. Kaiton turned it down, ending his 39-year tenure with the Whalers/Hurricanes organization. The Hurricanes opted to simulcast the Fox Sports Carolinas television broadcast on the radio rather than hire a replacement for Kaiton.
|“||Puck bunted down--Hurricanes steal! Staal gets it up the middle to Williams. He's walking in on an empty net, AND HE WON THE STANLEY CUP! Justin Williams has won the Stanley Cup for the Carolina Hurricanes, in all likelihood with an empty-netter at 18:59 on a clearing pass out of the zone! You won't have to see the clocks go to 0:00 now!||”|
At the end of that game, Kaiton told the story of his career and the entire franchise to that point when he bellowed:
|“||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!||”|
Kaiton grew up an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan, even though he is from 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.