Along with a new arena in 2002, the Hershey Bears also welcomed John Walton as their new play-by-play voice. In such a historic franchise, Walton would become a fan friendly broadcaster who made himself well known around Central Pennsylvania. John went on to call three Calder Cup victories for the Bears (2006, 2009, 2010), as well as the 2011 AHL Skills Competition which Giant Center hosted in Hershey.
On August 9, 2011, it was announced that John Walton would replace Steve Kolbe as the Washington Capitals radio play-by-play voice. Thrilled with the news, Walton now heads to Virginia for Capitals training camp where he will work alongside Washington Capitals senior writer, Mike Vogel.
In his nine year span with Hershey, he became the second longest tenured voice of the Hershey Bears surpassing Dave Mishkin who is now the current voice of the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Thursday, January 27, 2011, John called his 1,000 American Hockey League game. When announced publicly at Giant Center during first intermission of John milestone, the home crowd responded with a standing ovation directed towards John. Prior to calling games with the Bears, he also was the first play-by-play voice of the AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks from 1997-2000.
John’s wide smile and exciting goal calls would also lead him to being well known in the Washington D.C region. The beginning of the Capitals-Bears affiliation in 2005 led to the Bears spreading their fan bade to the Capital District.
In 2004, John Walton also won the James H. Ellery Award for his radio work in the AHL. John was recognized throughout all of hockey during the 2010 Calder Cup Finals, when the Hershey Bears defeated the Texas Stars in six games. Games 3-6 of the series was televised live on NHL Network and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.
After every Hershey Bears win, John created a well known catch phrase that would eventually be published on t-shirts sold in Hershey. As soon as the clock would run out with the Bears on top, John with great joy would state the phrase, “Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night”.
When Hershey Bears games would be televised locally, it would often be on WHTM-TV which is Harrisburg’s main news provider.
Beginning in October of 2008, John Walton went on to co-host a radio show known as The Old Barn Hockey Show. The hour-long radio show would mainly cover the Hershey Bears on a weekly basis, as well as overall news around the NHL and AHL. The show would also contain a wide variety of interviews with well known players, coaches, referees, and even writers around hockey. The show was originally on 1460 AM in Central PA. However, due to excellent ratings, the show would expand and be heard on 1470 AM in Allentown, PA. With the help of Gregg Mace, Sports Anchor on WHTM-TV, The Old Barn Hockey Show would go on to also be televised on ABC 27.2. Also known as the station’s weather channel.
John Walton leaves behind many friends and fans in Hershey, but joins an élite group of NHL radio broadcasters.
John can now be heard on the Washington Capitals flagship station, WFED 1500 & 820.