Chuck Kaiton, longtime voice of Whalers/Hurricanes, out after 39 years

Hurricanes
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Tom Dundon’s changes within the Carolina Hurricanes organization will apparently include the team’s longtime radio voice.

Chuck Kaiton, who started with the franchise back in 1979-80 — you know, when they were the Hartford Whalers — is out as the radio play-by-play man after rejecting a new contract that came with a significant pay cut.

From Luke DeCock of the News and Observer:

Kaiton’s agent submitted a counterproposal to the Hurricanes after Kaiton’s contract expired on June 30, but the team stood firm on its final offer to the broadcaster, which included a dramatic pay cut as the Hurricanes and new owner Tom Dundon attempt to reckon with their money-losing radio broadcast while giving Kaiton the opportunity to recoup some of the losses by selling sponsorships, which is the kind of arrangement more typical on the minor-league level.

Here’s a statement from Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell on the decision:

“After a series of discussions with Chuck and his representation throughout the summer, Chuck informed us today that he will not be returning as our radio broadcaster. We thank Chuck for his service over 38 seasons and appreciate everything he has done to represent this franchise for such a long time.

“As for the future of our radio broadcasts, we are exploring our options, especially the possibility of airing the audio from our FOX Sports Carolinas television broadcast. John Forslund is one of the top play-by-play men in our sport and we are confident his call will sound terrific on the radio as well.”

According to DeCock, the radio station carrying games was paid by the team, but barely garnered 2,000 listeners for each game. It wasn’t a money-making situation for the Hurricanes.

Having been a part of the organization for so long, Kaiton was able to call some of the biggest moments in Whalers/Hurricanes history, like in 1997 when Kevin Dineen scored the final goal in Whalers history:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6avFBJWwFY%5D

Of course, there was the night the Hurricanes beat the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 to win the 2006 Stanley Cup (don’t mind the quality):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVyi9aJXaVI%5D

The franchise icon was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 when Kaiton was named the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, which is given to “members of the radio and television industry who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of ice hockey during their broadcasting career.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.