When the Seattle Kraken drop the puck for their first games in the fall of 2021, John Forslund will be calling the action.
Forslund had previously worked as the longtime voice of the Carolina Hurricanes, and he’s also done playoff and national work for NBC. The Kraken had already announced that Everett Fitzhugh will be the team’s radio voice and the first Black play-by-play broadcaster in NHL history.
The team and Forslund himself announced the hire today:
Seattle, you've got an incoming call – and trust us, you'll want to answer this one. ? pic.twitter.com/XRlCkgzDNw
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 26, 2021
This makes the last calendar year quite an eventful one for Forslund, even by 2020 standards. He was forced to quarantine after staying in the same hotel room that had been occupied by Rudy Gobert, and then he left the Hurricanes after decades when his contract was up. And now, he’s headed to an entirely new franchise, for him and for everyone else.
From the team’s announcement:
John Forslund joins the Seattle Kraken after previously serving in broadcast roles for the Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers. He joined the organization in 1991 and began calling games on radio and television in 1995.
He has also served as a national broadcaster for NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL and will call national games in that role outside of his duties with the Kraken.
He will join fellow Team Broadcaster and radio play-by-play voice, Everett Fitzhugh, to create a powerful duo that will be the voice of hockey in the Pacific Northwest.
“It is an honor to join the Seattle Kraken as their inaugural television voice,” said Forslund. “I am looking forward to reuniting with Ron Francis and working alongside Everett Fitzhugh. Throughout my career I have cherished my connection with fans. To get the chance to create that bond and tell the Kraken story from day one is a magnificent opportunity. I would like to thank the Seattle Kraken for this chance.”
“John Forslund is one of the best broadcasters in sport. He always brings fresh perspective and having him as a voice of our franchise is a big win for us and for our fans,” said Leiweke. “He will play a role in introducing hockey to new fans and become a team ambassador for us.”
In addition to Forslund, the Kraken announced a distribution agreement with ROOT Sports:
Under the new agreement, ROOT SPORTS will televise approximately 75 of the Seattle Kraken’s regular season games, both at home at Climate Pledge Arena and on the road. Building on its strong history as the television broadcaster for professional and college teams in the Pacific Northwest, the Network has delivered 72,000 hours of sports programming since 2011 when it rebranded to ROOT SPORTS. In addition to its partnerships with MLB and NBA teams, AT&T Sports Networks is already the local broadcast partner for two NHL teams, the Vegas Golden Knights and the Pittsburgh Penguins, via its regional sports networks branded as AT&T SportsNet.
“Our partnership with ROOT SPORTS gives our fans around the Pacific Northwest a home that is already familiar to them,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken. “Their experience with the Seattle Mariners made them a great choice to build a broadcast that will be unique for our fans. Additionally, their broadcast distribution will help us ensure that Kraken games will be on at every sports bar around the Pacific Northwest.”
ROOT, which has the Mariners as a majority owner, boasts a very strong presence in the region, and this should help ensure that fans hoping to jump on board the expansion team’s train (or, ship, maybe) will be able to do so.