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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NHL on ESPN
NHL on ESPN logo 2021.svg
Also known asESPN Hockey Night
ESPN+ Hockey Night
ESPN National Hockey Night (1992–2004)
GenreNHL hockey telecasts
StarringSean McDonough
Ray Ferraro
Emily Kaplan
Bob Wischusen
Brian Boucher
A. J. Mleczko
Steve Levy
John Buccigross
Barry Melrose
Mark Messier
Chris Chelios
Ryan Callahan
Kevin Weekes
Rick DiPietro
Dominic Moore
Hilary Knight
Linda Cohn
Arda Ocal
Jeremy Schaap
Laura Rutledge
Blake Bolden
Mike Monaco
Greg Wyshynski
Roxy Bernstein
Caley Chelios
Gord Miller
P. K. Subban
Theme music composerBob Christianson[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons18
Production
Production locationsVarious NHL arenas (game telecasts and some pregame, intermission segments, and occasional postgame)
ESPN's Bristol, CT studios (pregame, intermission segments, and occasional postgame)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time180 minutes or until end of game
Production companyESPN
DistributorThe Walt Disney Company
Release
Original networkESPN (1979–1982, 1985–1988, 1992–2004, 2021–present)
ABC (1993–1994, 2000–2004, 2021–present)
ESPN2 (1993–2004, 2022–present)
ESPN+ (2018–present)
Hulu (2021–present)[a]
ESPNU (2022–present (Playoffs overflow only))
ESPNEWS (2022–present (Playoffs overflow only))
Original release
  • First run:
    December 19, 1979 (1979-12-19) – April 11, 1982 (1982-04-11)
  • Second run:
    October 10, 1985 (1985-10-10) – May 26, 1988 (1988-05-26)
  • Third run:
    October 6, 1992 (1992-10-06) – May 27, 2004 (2004-05-27)
  • Fourth run:
    October 12, 2021 (2021-10-12) – present (present)
Chronology
Preceded byNHL on SportsChannel America
NHL on Versus/NBCSN (2006–2021)
Related showsNHL on ABC
The Point
In the Crease
NHL on TNT (concurrent American rights holders from 2021 to 2028)
TSN Hockey (in Canada, partly owned)
NHL on Sportsnet/Hockey Night in Canada (concurrent Canadian rights holders from 2021 to 2024)

The NHL on ESPN is an American presentation of National Hockey League (NHL) games televised on ESPN properties, including ABC, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and Hulu in the United States.

ESPN first televised NHL games in the 1979–80 season, initially by sub-contracting rights from individual franchises. After the NHL shifted to only having one exclusive rightsholder, ESPN acquired the NHL's national television rights in 1985 to replace USA Network (which had previously aired NHL games in parallel with ESPN). ESPN lost the rights to SportsChannel America in 1988.

ESPN regained the NHL's U.S. television rights from 1992 through the 1999–2000 season, with the coverage branded under the blanket title ESPN National Hockey Night. ESPN also sub-licensed a package of network television broadcasts to ABC (sister via ESPN parent The Walt Disney Company) under the NHL on ABC branding until 1994, when the NHL sold a broadcast television package to Fox Sports. In 1999, ESPN renewed its contract through the 2004–05 NHL season, with ABC returning as broadcast television rightsholder to replace Fox.

The 2004–05 season was cancelled due to a lockout of the NHL Players Association. ESPN had reached a two-year agreement to serve as cable rightsholder in a reduced capacity beginning in the 2005–06 season (with a smaller package of regular season games and playoff coverage primarily on ESPN2, and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals), alongside new broadcast rightsholder NBC. After the lockout, ESPN opted out of the contract. They were instead acquired by Comcast, with telecasts moving to Versus (later renamed NBCSN); it held the cable rights (which were later unified with NBC's broadcast television rights after Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal) through the 2020–21 season.[2]

On March 10, 2021, the NHL announced that it would return to ESPN networks under a seven-year contract beginning in the 2021–22 season. ESPN's subscription streaming service ESPN+ provides the majority of the network's regular season NHL coverage, carrying a package of exclusive national games under the ESPN+ Hockey Night branding, and holding streaming rights to all out-of-market games (replacing the NHL.tv service). ESPN broadcast a package of games under the ESPN Hockey Night title respectively. ESPN and ESPN2 share coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs with TNT and TBS—which also include exclusive rights to the Stanley Cup Finals for ABC in even-numbered years.

History

Early years: 1979–1982 and 1985–1988

ESPN initially covered the NHL during the 1979–80, 1980–81[3] and 1981–82[4] seasons by making deals with individual teams.[5][6] This included eleven Hartford Whalers home broadcasts in 1980–81 and 25 the following year.[7] Branded as ESPN Hockey, Sam Rosen,[8] Barry Landers and Joe Boyle were employed as play-by-play announcers.[9][10] Pete Stemkowski[11] was the lead color commentator. ESPN meanwhile, used "Hot Lunch Jam" by Irene Cara for its theme music. During the opening round of the 1982 playoffs, ESPN broadcast Game 4 of the series between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins and Game 2 of the series between Minnesota North Stars-Chicago Black Hawks,[12] with Sam Rosen and Pete Stemkowski on the call. The season prior, Rosen and Stemkowski called Games 3 and 4 of the playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins.

During this time, USA also broadcast National Hockey League games. In order to prevent overexposure, the NHL decided to grant only one network exclusive rights. In April 1982, USA outbid ESPN for the NHL's American national television cable package ($8 million for two years).[13][14] In 1984, the NHL asked ESPN for a bid, but then gave USA the right to match it, which it did.[5]

After the 1984–85 season, the NHL Board of Governors chose to have USA Network and ESPN submit sealed bids. ESPN won by bidding nearly $25 million for three years, about twice as much as USA had been paying. The contract called for ESPN to air up to 33 regular season games each season as well as the NHL All-Star Game and the Stanley Cup playoffs.[5][15] The network chose Dan Kelly and Sam Rosen to be the network's first play-by-play announcers, Mickey Redmond and Brad Park were selected to be the analysts, and Tom Mees and Jim Kelly were chosen to serve as studio hosts. ESPN designated Sundays as ESPN Hockey Night in America, but also aired select midweek telecasts. ESPN aired its first game, an opening-night matchup between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, on October 10, 1985.[16]

At the end of the 1987–88 season, ESPN lost the NHL television rights to SportsChannel America, who paid $51 million ($17 million per year) over three years, more than double what ESPN had paid ($24 million) for the previous three years.[17][18][19][20] SportsChannel America managed to get a fourth NHL season[21] for just $5 million.[22][23][24][25][26][21]

SportsChannel America was only available in a few major markets (notably absent though were Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis[27])[28][29][30] and reached only a 1/3 of the households that ESPN did at the time.[31][32][33] In the first year of the deal (1988–89), SportsChannel America was available in only 7 million homes, compared to ESPN's reach of 50 million.[34] By the 1991–92 season, ESPN was available in 60.5 million homes, whereas SportsChannel America was available in only 25 million.[35][36][37]

Second return to ESPN and ABC’s involvement: 1992–1999

When the SportsChannel deal ended in 1992, the league returned to ESPN for another contract that would pay US$80 million over five years.[4][38][39]

Until the 2001–02 NHL season, weekly regular season games were broadcast on Sundays (between NFL and baseball seasons), Wednesdays,[40] and Fridays,[21] and were titled Sunday/Wednesday/Friday Night Hockey. Prior to 1999, these telecasts were non-exclusive, meaning they were blacked out in the regions of the competing teams, and an alternate game was shown in these affected areas. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 provided almost nightly coverage, often carrying games on both channels concurrently.[41] Games in the first two rounds were non-exclusive, while telecasts in the Conference Finals and Finals[42][43][44] were exclusive (except in 1993[45] and 1994). Beginning in the 1993–94 season, up to five games per week were also shown on ESPN2, branded as ESPN2 NHL Fire on Ice.[46]

Sister broadcast network ABC also aired NHL games during the first two seasons of the contract, in the league's first network television broadcasts since NBC's previous contract in the 1970's.[47] In the first season, this included selected playoff games,[48][49] and later expanded to include a package of regular season games in the second season.[50] These telecasts were produced by ESPN, and were officially considered to be time-buys on ABC by ESPN Inc.[47] This arrangement ended in the 1994–95 season, when the NHL began a new contract with Fox as its broadcast television partner.[51]

Final years, and including ABC full-time: 1999–2004

In 1998, ESPN renewed its contract through 2004 for $600 million, beginning in the 1999–2000 season. Under the new contract, ESPN was permitted two exclusive telecasts per team per season, while ABC would also return as broadcast television rightsholder to replace Fox.[52][53][54][55]

ESPN’s terms of the deal included: up to 200 games a year split between ESPN and ESPN2, the All-Star Skills Challenge, majority of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, while ABC's terms included: rights to the NHL All-Star Game, 4 to 5 weeks of regular season action, with three games a week, 6 weekends of Stanley Cup Playoff action, and the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Move to NBC and OLN: 2005–2021

Before the 2004–05 lockout, the NHL had reached two separate deals with NBC (who would replace ABC as the NHL's American national broadcast television partner) and ESPN.[56][57][58] ESPN offered the NHL $60 million for about 40 games (only fifteen of which would be during the regular season), all on ESPN2, with presumably, only some midweek playoff games, the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals and the All-Star Game airing on ESPN.[59][60][61][62]

NBC's deal involved a revenue sharing agreement with the NHL as opposed to a traditional rights fee, and included rights to six regular season windows, seven postseason broadcasts and games 3–7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. ESPN had a two-year deal that they opted out of after the lockout, leaving the NHL without a cable partner. In August 2005, Comcast[63] (who owns the Philadelphia Flyers) paid $70 million a year for three years to put games (54 or more games each season under the agreement, generally on Monday[64] and Tuesday nights) on OLN, later known as Versus. Due to the abbreviated off-season, the 2005–06 schedule did not offer OLN exclusivity, which they received in 2006–07. Versus would also cover the playoffs and exclusively air Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

NBC continued to serve as the NHL's long-term U.S. broadcast partner until the 2020–21 season; broadcast and cable rights were unified in the 2011-12 season following the purchase of NBC by Comcast and the merger of Versus into NBC Sports as NBC Sports Network.

World Cup of Hockey: 2016

Long after losing their broadcasting rights to the NHL, ESPN served as the U.S. broadcaster of the NHL-backed 2016 World Cup of Hockey, as NBC declined due to programming conflicts.[65][66]

For the tournament, ESPN named Steve Levy and Barry Melrose as the lead broadcast team, while adding Kevin Weekes from NHL Network, Leah Hextall from Sportsnet, NHL Hall of Famers Chris Chelios and Brett Hull to their roster.[67] ESPN also named NHL Hall of Famers Chris Chelios and Brett Hull as their studio analyst.[67] Additionally, ESPN brought back current St. Louis Blues color commentator Darren Pang, who was the network’s secondary color commentator from 1999–2004, for their coverage, as an “Inside the Glass” reporter for select games.[68] John Saunders, who had hosted ESPN and ABC’s NHL coverage from 1987–88 and again from 1992–2004, was tapped to lead the studio coverage,[67] however, due to his unexpected death a month after ESPN announced their complete roster,[69] Cohn, who was originally going to do features for ESPN, was tapped to replace Saunders.[70]

ESPN+ involvement: 2018–present

After its 2018 launch, ESPN's subscription streaming service ESPN+ added an NHL studio program, a free daily regular season game courtesy of NHL.tv (which is operated by Disney subsidiary BAMTech), and a Stanley Cup Playoffs documentary series (replacing one produced as part of Showtime's All Access franchise).[71] As part of the NHL.tv deal, ESPN+ started a nightly hockey show, In the Crease, hosted by Linda Cohn and Barry Melrose.[72]

Third return to ESPN and ABC: 2021–present

In the years before the end of NBC's latest contract with the NHL, the league explored options for splitting its national broadcast rights, similar to the television deals of the NFL, NBA and MLB. This included selling packages to streaming services, aiming to maximize the value of its broadcast rights.[73] On March 10, 2021, Disney, ESPN, and the NHL announced that a seven-year agreement was reached for ESPN to hold the first half of its new media rights beginning in the 2021–22 season;[74][75][76][77]

  • ESPN will hold rights to 25 exclusive national games per season, which can air on either ESPN or ABC, and will include exclusive rights to opening night games. Games on ABC stream on ESPN+.[78] Throughout the 2021–22 season, ESPN aired 18 games (billed as ESPN Hockey Night),[79] while ABC aired 10 games — consisting of the Thanksgiving Showdown and an ABC Hockey Saturday package beginning in late-February.[78][79]
  • 75 exclusive national games per season will be streamed exclusively on ESPN+, and will not be carried on linear television.[80] For the 2021–22 season, most of these games (billed as ESPN+ Hockey Night)[79] aired on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with selected games on Friday nights.[78] These games will also be available to Hulu subscribers.[78]
  • ESPN+ will stream all out-of-market games.
  • ESPN will hold rights to All-Star Weekend, with the Skills Competition airing on ESPN, and the All-Star Game airing on ABC.
  • ESPN and ESPN2 would hold rights to the NHL Entry Draft.
  • ESPN and ESPN2 will share in coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs, holding rights to "half" of the games in the first two rounds, and one conference final per-season. ESPN/ABC will have the first choice of which conference final series to air. The remaining half will air on TNT and TBS.[81][82]
  • Exclusive rights to the Stanley Cup Finals will alternate between ABC and TNT;[81][82] ESPN will have the ability to air simulcast coverage with alternate feeds on its other channels and platforms.
  • ESPN2 airs a weekly studio program dedicated to the NHL, The Point (which is hosted by John Buccigross),[83] and ESPN will hold various highlights and international rights.

On May 10, 2021, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that TSN’s Ray Ferraro (who previously worked for ESPN from 2002-2004), and NBC’s Brian Boucher had signed with ESPN to become their top hockey analysts.[84][85] On May 17, ESPN hired former Calgary Flames studio host Leah Hextall to be a regular play-by-play announcer on NHL broadcasts. She is the first woman in league history to hold that role. Hextall previously worked the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and has worked the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament for ESPN.[86]

On June 9, 2021, ESPN announced that current New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban would be a studio analyst for the remainder of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, making his debut on SportsCenter that day.[87] The same day, Craig Morgan, Arizona-based reporter on the Arizona Coyotes and NHL Network correspondent, reported that ESPN had added NBC’s Ryan Callahan and A. J. Mleczko to their analyst roster, and that NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes, who also worked for ESPN during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, was in talks to return to ESPN in a analyst/reporter role.[88] Marchand later reported that Weekes had signed with ESPN, and that Bob Wischusen, who currently calls play-by-play for ESPN's college football and basketball broadcasts, will also work NHL broadcasts.[89] On June 24, ESPN officially announced that six-time Stanley Cup Champion Mark Messier had signed a multi-year deal to join ESPN in a studio analyst role.[90][91][92] Messier’s signing was the first announced signing made by ESPN, and potentially was made as a counter to TNT signing Messier’s former teammate Wayne Gretzky, who was also recruited by ESPN. On June 28, Marchand reported that three time Stanley Cup Champion Chris Chelios would also join ESPN as a studio analyst.[93][94] The same day, The Athletic reported that current Hockey Night in Canada color commentator/reporter Cassie Campbell-Pascall would also join ESPN.[95]

ESPN formally confirmed its commentator teams on June 29, 2021. ESPN’s college football #2 play-by-play man Sean McDonough would be the network’s lead play-by-play announcer; Monday Night Football’s Steve Levy would lead studio coverage and contribute to occasional play-by-play commentary. Hextall and Wischusen were officially named as play-by-play commentators, as well as SportsCenter’s John Buccigross, who will also contribute as an alternate studio host, and serve as the host for The Point. ESPN legend Barry Melrose, Messier, and Chelios were named strictly as studio analysts while Ferraro, Boucher,[94] Weekes, Campbell-Pascall, Callahan, Mleczko, ESPN New York’s Rick DiPietro, and 2018 gold medalist Hilary Knight would contribute as booth, Inside the Glass, and studio analysts. 2016 Isobel Cup champion Blake Bolden was added to join insiders Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski as insiders and rinkside reporters.[96] Linda Cohn continued her duties hosting In the Crease, while also gaining roles as an “Inside the Glass” reporter and backup studio and game break host. On August 4, 2021, ESPN announced that they added most recent Blue Jackets coach and Stanley Cup winning coach John Tortorella as an extra studio analyst.[97][98]

On September 16, after ESPN released their slate of games for the 2021-22 season, SportsCenter anchor and ESPN Social host Arda Ocal would announce himself that he too would host select game broadcasts.[99] On October 2, former referee Dave Jackson joined the network as a rules analyst, an NHL first.[100] Early into the 2021-22 season, ESPN added former NBC analyst Dominic Moore, who had hosted the Expansion Draft with Weekes and ESPN College Football personality Chris Fowler. Laura Rutledge, host of NFL Live and SEC Nation, joined the NHL on ESPN team for their coverage of the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, in a celebrity interviewer role. After preparing for and playing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Knight made her ESPN debut on the March 10, 2022 episode of “The Point”, coincidentally on the one-year anniversary of ESPN regaining the rights to broadcast the NHL. Bolden, who has been working as a pro scout for the Los Angeles Kings since 2020, made her official ESPN on-air debut a week later. After the regular season kicked into high gear, Knight and Bolden were the only two who still had to make their on-air debuts with ESPN. Occasionally, other well known ESPN personalities like Jeremy Schaap, Kevin Connors, Michael Eaves, and Max McGee will be added in fill-in roles on The Point and In the Crease. Mike Monaco, Roxy Bernstein, and Caley Chelios, daughter of Chris, have also filled in on game coverage. TSN’s Gord Miller, Ferraro’s broadcast partner for Maple Leafs games on TSN, joined ESPN for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Subban returned to ESPN for the Playoffs in an expanded role, which includes being a game analyst for select games.

ESPN also confirmed that Spanish language coverage of the NHL would air on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Latin America. Kenneth Garay and Eitán Benezra would be the main play-by-play commentators, while Carlos Rossell and Antonio Valle contribute analysis and color commentary.[96] Rigoberto Plascencia was later added as another play-by-play announcer.

For the 2021–22 season, ESPN aired 18 games (billed as ESPN Hockey Night),[79] [78][79]while 75 exclusive national games per season would be streamed exclusively on ESPN+.[101] For the 2021–22 season, most of these games (billed as ESPN+ Hockey Night)[79] aired on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with selected games on Friday nights.[78] These games will also be available to Hulu subscribers. ESPN's first broadcasts were an opening night doubleheader, with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Seattle Kraken at the Vegas Golden Knights in the Kraken's first regular-season game in franchise history.[102][78]

Typically, games aired on ESPN, excluding ESPN+ games, are simulcast in Canada on the Sportsnet channels, using the ESPN feed. However, on January 17th, 2022, TSN, which is partly owned by ESPN, simulcast the ESPN+ feed of the Arizona Coyotes-Montreal Canadiens game because of a huge snowstorm in Canada, which prevented the Canadiens’ broadcast team from traveling south to Glendale to broadcast the game.

For the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 would cover most of the Stanley Cup playoffs, holding rights to "half" of the games in the first two rounds, and one conference final per-season, simulcasted on ESPN/ABC and ESPN+, who will have the first choice of which conference final series to air.

Coverage

ESPN's logo for their regular season broadcasts.
ESPN's logo for their regular season broadcasts.

ESPN regular season coverage

ESPN carries up to 15 exclusive regular season games beginning with the NHL Opening Night games. For the 2021-22 season, ESPN carried 18 exclusive regular season games. ESPN will also air the NHL All-Star Skills Competition for the next seven years.

ESPN+ regular season coverage

ESPN+ carries 75 exclusive regular season games, with each game simulcast on Hulu. ESPN+ will also simulcast select ESPN games, including the NHL Opening Night games.

Stanley Cup playoff coverage

Starting with the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 will cover most of the Stanley Cup playoffs, holding rights to "half" of the games in the first two rounds, and one conference final per-season, simulcast on ESPN/ABC and ESPN+, who will have the first choice of which conference final series to air.

Stanley Cup Finals coverage

As part of the deal made on March 10, 2021, ABC will exclusively broadcast four Stanley Cup Finals over the life of the contract, with the option to simulcast each game on ESPN+, as well as produce alternate broadcasts to air on other ESPN platforms. The 2022 Stanley Cup Finals marked the first time in Stanley Cup Finals history that the entire series would air on broadcast television in the United States. Prior to 2022, the entire Stanley Cup Finals would be split between a broadcast network and a cable network, with the cable network getting two games.

Production

ESPN unveiled a series of initiatives to which would bolster its NHL coverage, which will include;

  • Operators will be allowed onto the ice for shootouts, coming out of the breaks and more.
  • Players will be mic’d up for their warmups.
  • Access to locker rooms to capture pre-game speeches from coaches.
  • Player pointing will be used live throughout games to highlight the movement of players and the puck while adding a visual element to analysis.

For its game coverage, ESPN will have;

  • A cable-suspended aerial camera system that provides smooth, sweeping overhead shots.
  • Multiple innovative mic placements to capture in-person sound from players and coaches, including player and goal mics throughout games.
  • Productions will utilize multiple super-slow-motion options to break down goals, offensive and defense strategies, and more.
  • Select games will be operated REMCO (remote controlled) with the operator and producer at their home.

And for it studio coverage, ESPN will have;

  • It will originate from Studio F in Bristol, Conn., which has distinct design elements with unique flexibility including: Two fully robotic cameras in addition to manually operated cameras and a virtual capable MoSys eCrane. The MoSys eCrane is a robust crane camera that allows for content utilizing augmented reality (virtual objects are placed within the real world on camera).
  • A flexible color palette using light tones, brushed aluminum, white marble and light wood laminates will take on different appearances by adjusting lighting cues.
  • Tracking Plexiglas panels provide the ability for a broad array of graphical looks that can change easily throughout the programming.
  • Swappable scenic that would take the interview area from a desk to casual seating to demo area to virtual or augmented reality backdrop with ease.
  • The main desk would accommodate up to five hosts and analysts and contains removable wings with LED displays, which would allow for the size to be adjusted on the fly and based on the needs of the show or segment.

On-air staff

Current personalities

Studio hosts

  1. Steve Levy: studio host (1993–2004), lead studio host and “The Point” Playoffs host (2021–present), play-by-play (1993–2004, 2021–present)[103][104][105][106]
  2. John Buccigross: alternate “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host (1998–2004, 2021–present), “The Point” host and play-by-play (2021–present)
  3. Arda Ocal: alternate studio, “The Point”, and “In the Crease” host (2021–present)
  4. Linda Cohn: “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host and game break host, Inside the Glass reporter, and contributor (2021–present; reporter for select games)

The Point hosts

  1. John Buccigross: alternate “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host (1998–2004, 2021–present), “The Point” host and play-by-play (2021–present)
  2. Arda Ocal: alternate studio, “The Point”, and “In the Crease” host (2021–present)
  3. Jeremy Schaap: contributor and fill-in “The Point” host (2021–present; also on OTL and E:60)
  4. Steve Levy: studio host (1993–2004), lead studio host and “The Point” Playoffs host (2021–present), play-by-play (1993–2004, 2021–present)[103][104][105][106]

In The Crease hosts

  1. Linda Cohn: “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host and game break host, Inside the Glass reporter, and contributor (2021–present; reporter for select games)
  2. John Buccigross: alternate “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host (1998–2004, 2021–present), “The Point” host and play-by-play (2021–present)
  3. Arda Ocal: alternate studio, “The Point”, and “In the Crease” host (2021–present)
  4. Michael Eaves: fill-in “In the Crease” host (2022–present)
  5. Kevin Connors: fill-in “In the Crease” host (2022–present)
  6. Max McGee: fill-in “In the Crease” host (2022–present)

Studio analysts

  1. Barry Melrose: lead studio analyst (1996–2004, 2021–present):[106] color commentator (2022–present)
  2. Mark Messier: lead studio analyst/color commentator (2021–present)[90][107][108]
  3. Chris Chelios: lead studio analyst/color commentator (2021–present)[106][93][109][110]
  4. Rick DiPietro: studio analyst (2021–present)
  5. Ryan Callahan: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  6. Kevin Weekes: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  7. Dominic Moore: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  8. Hilary Knight: studio analyst/color commentator (2022–present)
  9. P. K. Subban: Playoffs studio analyst/color commentator (2022–present)

Play-by-play

  1. Sean McDonough: play-by-play (1993–1994, 1999–2000, 2002–2004), lead play-by-play (2021–present)[104][105][106][111][112]
  2. Bob Wischusen: play-by-play (2021–present)
  3. John Buccigross: alternate studio host (1998–2004, 2021–present), “The Point” host and play-by-play (2021–present)
  4. Steve Levy: studio host (1993–2004), lead studio host and “The Point” Playoffs host (2021–present), play-by-play (1993–2004, 2021–present)[103][104][105][106]
  5. Leah Hextall: play-by-play, Inside the Glass, and ice-level reporter (2021–present)
  6. Mike Monaco: play-by-play (2022–present)
  7. Roxy Bernstein: play-by-play (2022–present)
  8. Gord Miller: Playoffs play-by-play (2022–present)

Color commentators (Booth and Inside the Glass)

  1. Ray Ferraro: studio analyst (2002–2004), lead color commentator (2021–present)[84][85][94]
  2. Brian Boucher: color commentator (2021–present)[84][85][94]
  3. A. J. Mleczko: color commentator (2021–present)
  4. Dominic Moore: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  5. Kevin Weekes: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  6. Ryan Callahan: color commentator/studio analyst (2021–present)
  7. Cassie Campbell-Pascall: color commentator (2021–present)
  8. Hilary Knight: studio analyst/color commentator (2022-present)
  9. Mark Messier: lead studio analyst/color commentator (2021–present)
  10. Chris Chelios: lead studio analyst/color commentator (2021–present
  11. Barry Melrose: lead studio analyst (1996–2004, 2021–present):[106] color commentator (2022–present)

Reporters (Inside the Glass and ice level)

  1. Emily Kaplan: insider, lead Inside the Glass, and ice level reporter (2021–present)
  2. Leah Hextall: play-by-play, Inside the Glass, and ice-level reporter (2021–present)[113]
  3. Linda Cohn: “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host and game break host, Inside the Glass reporter, and contributor (2021–present; reporter for select games)
  4. Caley Chelios: Inside the Glass and ice-level reporter (2022–present)

Rules analyst

  1. Dave Jackson – rules analyst (2021–present)[114][115]

Insiders

  • Emily Kaplan: insider (2017–present)
  • Greg Wyshynski: insider (2017–present)

Contributors

  1. Linda Cohn: “In the Crease” host (2018–present), alternate studio host and game break host, Inside the Glass reporter, and contributor (2021–present; reporter for select games)
  2. Jeremy Schaap: contributor and fill-in “The Point” host (2021–present; also on OTL and E:60)
  3. Laura Rutledge: contributor (2022–present)
  4. Blake Bolden: contributor (2022–present)

Notes

  1. ^ Simulcasts of ESPN+ exclusive games.

Ratings

Year Event Date Network Viewers
2021-22 NHL Expansion Draft July 21, 2021 ESPN2 637,000
NHL Draft July 23, 2021 268,000
Penguins vs Lightning October 12, 2021 ESPN 983,000[116]
Kraken vs Golden Knights 783,000

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External links

Preceded by NHL pay television carrier in the United States
1985 - 1988
Succeeded by
Preceded by NHL pay television carrier in the United States
1992 - 2004
Succeeded by
Preceded by NHL pay television carrier (with TNT) in the United States
2021 - present
Succeeded by
incumbent

}}

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