Over the course of their 15-year affiliation with the Detroit Red Wings, the Grand Rapids Griffins have seen four coaches and more than a half-dozen employees make the jump to their parent club, while 69 different players have heeded the Red Wings’ call to display their talents at the NHL level.
Tonight, it’s Bob Kaser’s turn.
The “Voice of the Griffins” since 2000 and a 38-year veteran of hockey play-by-play, Kaser will call the first NHL game of his distinguished career when the Red Wings host the Vancouver Canucks at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10, filling in for Ken Kal, who will miss the game due to illness.
Color commentator Paul Woods will join Kaser for the 7:10 p.m. broadcast on the Red Wings’ radio network, which includes ESPN 96.1 FM in Grand Rapids and WXYT 97.1 FM in Detroit.
Kaser, who serves as the Griffins’ vice president of community relations and broadcasting, is intimately familiar with Detroit’s personnel, having worked with 18 current Red Wings players, head coach Jeff Blashill and much of the team’s coaching staff during their tenures in Grand Rapids.
“It’s an honor beyond words,” said Kaser, a native of Kalamazoo who grew up in Flint. “I think of Bruce Martyn and Ken Kal, two legends of Detroit broadcasting who I’ve listened to over and over again for many years. To suddenly be in the chair of those two guys, it’s incredibly emotional. I can’t put into words what that means to me, a Red Wings fan since I was a little kid. I’m looking forward to tonight, but I hope Ken feels better real soon.”
The recipient of the American Hockey League’s 2009-10 Ellery Award for excellence in radio broadcasting and a two-time International Hockey League Broadcaster of the Year, Kaser leads a Griffins radio team that in 2016 won its seventh broadcast excellence award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, to go with three previous Michigan Associated Press radio awards.