BY JEFF FALK and DON SCOTT
The Hershey Bears have plenty of growl. But they have lost their voice.
John Walton, the radio voice of the Bears for the past five years, has accepted a similar position with the Washington Capitals, the NHL parent team of Hershey. Walton often ushered in another Bears’ victory with his signature, ‘Good morning, good afternoon, good night.
Walton, 38, replaced Steve Colbe, the Caps’ radio voice for 12 years. Walton’s new duties wil lalso include – but not limited to – work on the Washington Capitals’ website.
“A lot of what I’ll be doing won’t be the traditional radio thing,” said Walton, “because there will be on-line things in a community that does a lot of on-line social media stuff.”
Broadcasting Bear games is oof the most desirable jobs in all of minor league hockey and Walton is expected to be very hands on in Hershey general manager Doug Yingst’s search for his replacement.
“Being it is Hershey, a lot of people will be contacting Doug Yingst and as time permits I said I’d help as long as I can, even when I’in Washington, if he asks for my input,” said Walton. “There have been a number of people who have approached me and I’ve forwarded that to Doug.”
“It will have to be a quick turn-around but that’s the way it was for me nine years ago,” Walton continued. “That was a whirlwind a couple of weeks, but boy was it worth it. One of the biggest things I’ll miss will be working with everyone in the press box.”
Walton became the fifth radio voice of the Hershey Bears to move up to the NHL, joining Jim Forney, Russ Small, Dan Kamal and Dave Mishkin.
“Getting to the NHL was my goal,” said Walton. “Joining those men puts me in very select company. I did meet Forney recently at a Bears game, never met Small, but of course know Dan and Dave. To carry on the tradition of that group certainly puts me in a spotlight what you represent when you are the Voice of the Bears.
“Mike Emrick told me many times that outside of the NHL there is no better place than Hershey,” Walton continued. “But there are only a few places I would consider going to and Washington was absolutely on that list. Not only is it great to be with the parent club of the Bears but to be with Bruce Boudreau and Bob Wooks, a team with a great roster and fan base and still be just a few hours from Hershey is a dream of a lifetime.
“The first person to call me Tuesday morning last week was Bruce and that was a speciall call that made me feel really good, as did the one from general manager George McPhee to welcome me. The main thing is to win hockey games, but all the people involved in the organization have made me feel great about being a part of it.”