When Capitals fans turn on their radios this fall, they’ll hear a new voice – but not an unfamiliar one for many. Hershey play-by-play man John Walton steps into the same role in Washington, replacing Steve Kolbe.
Walton was named director of broadcasting and radio play-by-play announcer on Tuesday. Walton spent nine seasons behind the microphone with the Bears of the AHL and also doubled as the public relations director there.
“It’s a feeling that I’m not sure I can put into words,” Walton told The Washington Times.
After being told by a team spokesman Monday that the club wanted him to come to Washington, the first call Walton received Tuesday morning was from coach Bruce Boudreau. The two have ties going back to Boudreau’s time in Hershey.
“That was about the time that it was getting real and started to sink in,” Walton said.
Kolbe had the job with the Caps for 12 years. He is no longer part of the organization, a team spokesman confirmed. Sky Kerstein of 106.7 the Fan reported, citing sources, that Kolbe hadn’t been informed of the decision when the news came out. A team official told The Times Kolbe was told before the announcement.
For Walton, this feels like a call-up – like many prospects.
“I’ve seen a lot of Hershey bears become Washington Capitals,” Walton said. “To finally have that feeling of what it’s like after 14 years in the AHL is amazing.”