During the offseason, the Hershey Bears had a lot of turnover. Gone are fan-favorites like Andrew Gordon, Steve Pinizzotto, and Andrew Joudrey. Now, Bears fans must say goodbye to long-time radio play-by-play man John Walton.

Early Tuesday, the veteran AHL broadcaster was named the new voice of the Washington Capitals, replacing Steve Kolbe who called his 1,000th career regular season game for the team on November 11, 2010. Walton will be the Caps Director of Broadcasting, with additional responsibilities for the radio network and Caps social media.

Walton has been the voice of the Hershey Bears for the last nine seasons, after he left the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and the Reds. He’s called three Calder Cup titles for the Bears on radio and TV. Our good friends over at ABC27 Harrisburg gave us the uncut interview they had with John Tuesday, which you can see at the top of the page. The full story can be seen on their website.

Walton worked closely with ABC27 doing telecasts of the Calder Cup Finals and participating in the popular “Old Barn Hockey Show.” He also added some great playoff commentary during this past season’s NHL Playoffs, called John Walton’s Hockey Rap.

John has always been very supportive of Sweetest Hockey on Earth, and has personally been a great friend of mine. Congratulations, John. There’s no one more deserving of being called up to the big leagues than you. I wish you nothing but the best.

Additional reporting by Ian Oland.