This morning, the Kraken announced the hiring of John Forslund to be the team’s first TV play-by-play announcer. Forslund spent the last 25 years in the Carolina Hurricanes TV booth before the team declined to renew his expiring contract last summer. Many Hurricanes fans were upset at the team’s decision to let go of a broadcasting legend. Forslund’s broadcasting excellence created a special connection with the Carolina fanbase that can be seen in their response to his departure.
In this case, Carolina’s loss is Seattle’s gain. Kraken fans should be thrilled to have Forslund on board.
How good of a hire did the Kraken just make? The Hurricanes broadcast led by Forslund finished 1st place in The Athletic’s 2020 NHL broadcast rankings. Awfulannouncing.com ranked the Canes broadcast 6th in the league. Forslund was named 2020 North Carolina Sportscaster Of The Year, his second consecutive year being given the honor. That’s right, the Kraken just landed arguably the best play-by-play man in the entire NHL.
Forslund is widely respected around the NHL for his professionalism, impartiality, and level of excitement his calls bring to a broadcast. While every NHL broadcaster has their detractors, Forslund comes about as close to universal praise from every market as one can get.
The Hockey Writers’ Michael Straw describes the energy Forslund brings well: “John Forslund has a goal call that rivals anyone on this list. The inflection of his voice as the puck crosses the line is something that isn’t taught, it just comes naturally. He also knows when to let the moment speak for itself. There’s a reason why he gets so many opportunities to call national games, it’s because he’s that damn good.”
Here’s a sample of what Kraken fans can look forward to:
Unfortunately, today’s announcement wasn’t all good news. The Kraken also revealed that they will be partnering with ROOT Sports for their local TV broadcasts. This decision has been criticized by many fans who were disappointed by the lack of streaming options for games. It appears that cord cutters will struggle to find a way to watch the Kraken.
Hopefully the Kraken and ROOT Sports can negotiate some kind of streaming option. Making games as accessible as possible will be imperative to growing a fan base and building lasting success in the Seattle market.