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Kenneth "Ken" Kalczynski or Ken Kal (born September 29, 1957) is an American sports announcer and reporter for WXYT AM 1270 in Detroit, as well as the radio play-by-play commentator for the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL for the past 16 seasons. Kal's first season was with WJR and he now can be heard giving the play-by-play for every Wings game on 97.1 FM "The Ticket" along with Paul Woods.
Realizing the dream
Kalczynski would watch his father get laid-off continuously as a tool and die maker and did not want to follow in those footsteps. At Wayne State University he auditioned for an on-air position with WAYN, the closed-circuit radio station on campus. He struggled early on; however, it sparked his interest in broadcasting and at WAYN he went by "Ken Kal" on the air. He interned at WNIC radio in 1979, then graduated from Wayne State.
He was hired by WAAM radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan to be a board operator for University of Michigan football games. In January 1980, he became a weekend radio personality for the station. In 1984, the radio station acquired he rights to UM Hockey. Kal was hired to be the play-by-play announcer. Kal had a difficult time keeping up with the fast-paced action of the game, but continued to improve.
Kalczynski held that position for the next 11 years on both WAAM and WTKA.
Reaching the NHL
In 1995, Kal switched over to the NHL, replacing the legendary Bruce Martyn, who retired after 31 years as the play-by-play voice for the Detroit Red Wings. In the booth he joined former NHLer Paul Woods, who had previously worked with Martyn. In his second year, he called the Red Wings' first Stanley Cup victory in 42 years. He has called three more Cup wins and the milestone goals of several hall of fame ice hockey players.
In addition to his broadcast duties, Kal represents the Red Wings in the community, often visiting schools or business groups, hosting team events and playing for the Wings charity softball team. Kal is a contributing writer to the team's official magazine, "Inside Hockeytown". Rounding out his administrative duties, Ken also works with the broadcast department to expand the Red Wings radio network and maintain affiliate relations.
In 2013, Kal broadcast a Detroit Tigers baseball game for WXYT, substituting for regular Tigers announcer Dan Dickerson (who was absent to enroll his daughter in college). It was the first baseball game Kal had announced in his career.
Kalczynski is a two-time past president of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association as well as a longtime active member of the DSBA. He received the DSBA’s Ty Tyson Award for broadcast excellence in 2007. Kal is a board member for the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. He was married in 2003 and currently resides in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
- U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- Neal Rubin (2007). "Red Wings broadcaster refuses to let his dream die". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
- Detroit Red Wings (2007). "Paul Woods & Ken Kal WXYT Analyst & WXYT Play-by-Play". DetroitRedWings.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
- Gage, Tom (2013-08-15). "Hockey announcer Ken Kal eager for Tigers play-by-play debut". The Detroit News.
- Detroit Sports Broadcasters (2007). "DSBA Member Roster: Ken Kal". DetroitSportsBroadcasters.com. Retrieved 2007-09-02.