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Photo: MLive.comPhoto: MLive.com

Long-time voice of Griffins to make NHL debut

Bob Kaser, the radio voice of the Grand Rapids Griffins since 2000 and a 38-year veteran of hockey play-by-play, will call the first National Hockey League game of his career tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Vancouver Canucks.

Kaser will be 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. (ET) 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, won the AHL’s James H. Ellery Memorial Award in 2009-10 for his outstanding radio coverage of the league.

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.

“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.”