The Seattle Kraken radio broadcast team officially filled their void in the color analyst chair on Monday night, introducing former Seattle Thunderbirds left winger Al Kinisky to the role for all radio broadcasts heard across 93.3 KJR-FM, 950 AM, and the 20-station affiliate Kraken Audio Network.
Kinisky will join play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh and studio host Mike Benton for all pre-season games, regular season games, and playoffs. He replaces Dave Tomlinson, who worked for two seasons in the Kraken radio booth before accepting a television color analyst position starting this season with the Vancouver Canucks.
“I’m happy to have Al join our team and the Kraken Audio Network,” said Fitzhugh in a team statement. “Al is very well connected and respected in the Seattle hockey community, and I look forward to him helping us to grow the game and the love for the Kraken in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and beyond.”
Kinisky, 51, who grew up in Vancouver but has lived in the Seattle area for over three decades, returns to a position where he’s gained extra familiarity. Following his four year playing career at the junior level where he also had a brush in the NHL as a second round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1990, he joined the Everett Silvertips radio booth for a decade where he and Benton even crossed paths, teaming together in the 2015-16 season.
“The short story is I’ve been in Seattle for 34 years by way of the Vancouver area,” Kinisky said on 93.3 KJR-FM, Monday night on the team’s season preview show which aired during a preseason split squad opener at Climate Pledge Arena.
“Originally played with the Seattle Thunderbirds, drafted to the Flyers back in 1990, went to some camps there, played some exhibitions, and unfortunately my career ended with some injuries. I’ve stayed close to the game over that time. I’ve been involved with youth hockey and coaching. I’ve played the game. I’ve stayed close to it as a fan. And I’m excited with what’s going on with this Kraken team in Seattle.”
Kinisky’s time with the Thunderbirds also circles back to the home of the Kraken, where in his WHL playing career, he crossed paths with future NHL’ers such as forwards Petr Nedved, Turner Stevenson, and goaltender Corey Schwab – all a part of battles squeezed in ice surface that shared a home with the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics, in what was known previous as the Seattle Center Coliseum, where the Thunderbirds played before moving to Kent in 2009.
“I’ve had no doubt from the beginning this city could support an NHL team,” said Kinisky. “We used to put 15,000 people in this building before they renovated it for junior hockey. I knew they could fill this building with Seattle Kraken fans.”
Kinisky previously worked locally in Seattle, in the tech industry. He will return to the booth for live preseason play-by-play coverage on Thursday, against the Canucks at 7pm PT (950 AM KJR) at Climate Pledge Arena.
“It’s been incredible to watch the impact that the Kraken has had in just two seasons, and I want to continue to entertain and inform fans across the region,” said Kinisky in a statement. “Hockey games can be a real rollercoaster of emotions and I hope we can bring them inside the booth with us every game.”