Owatonna Rink Announcer’s Voice Goes Silent
Longtime Four Seasons Centre rink announcer Pete Kalan lost his battle with cancer Thursday, February 9. He was 57 years old. His voice will be missed.
Pete was diagnosed with brain cancer more than two years ago and battled it longer than the initial prognosis gave him. He was still able to get to the rink on occasion. It was great that he could see the Steele County Blades team that he helped to bring into existence and the high school team he loved. Pete was part of the original board that ran the junior team through its first few years. He was at the first hockey game of this season at the newly remodeled Four Seasons Centre. It was nice to talk with him that night.
He was always in a good mood. When he proclaimed it was "a good night for hockey," you let your other cares go away for the evening. He announced OHS hockey games for as long as I can remember. He and I held a powwow before most games to get the pronunciations down for the evening and a rundown on special events occurring. Pete also was the announcer for the Owatonna community band during the summer concert series in Central Park.
Pete worked extensively with the Express hockey team during its time in Owatonna and loved the sport and announcing at the games. His sons, Joey and Ryan, played hockey for the Huskies and had the privilege of hearing him announce their names during games. His daughter, Amy, was a frequent guest of his in the announcer's booth. Family was important to Pete. He and his wife, Kelly, took their family on many vacations, hitting nearly all of the states.
He also had a great sense of humor. KRFO color commentator Dave Swenson shared a story during Tuesday's game broadcast. On the night of an Express game, Pete played "Y.M.C.A." on the loudspeaker. Dave told him that he didn't like that song. Pete made a point of playing it thereafter each time he saw Dave in the rink.
The Steele County Blades' annual Stick it to Cancer night carries the PK Strong moniker to recognize Pete. The team's character award is also named in his honor. A banner hangs high on the east wall of the rink, allowing us to look up and think about Pete.
Pete Kalan is pictured below standing between Tony Schwichtenberg, who handles the PA duties during most high school games, and clock operator Duane Miller.