The NHL is leaving NBC after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. NBC was even scheduled to broadcast the Seattle Expansion Draft and the Entry Draft in July, but NBC gave up the coverage to ESPN because of the Summer Olympics conflicting with the broadcast schedule. With the league heading to ESPN and Turner Sports for the next seven years, a slew of hockey broadcasters have been signing new deals with the two networks in preparation for the new coverage beginning in July.
ESPN will broadcast Seattle expansion draft and Day 1 of NHL Draft. pic.twitter.com/5XOL5B3qVs
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) June 28, 2021
According to Sean Shapiro of The Athletic, ESPN is expected to formally announce tomorrow multiple broadcasters that will be joining the network for its hockey coverage. Among them is former Blackhawks Captain Chris Chelios.
Chelios, who worked previously with ESPN during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, is expected to join fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier in a studio-analyst role with ESPN, according to the New York Post. Both Chelios and Messier have had storied careers on the ice, but have minimal experience within broadcasting. It will be interesting to see how ESPN frames their use of the two.
Along with Chelios, Shapiro reports that ESPN is also expected to officially announce the hirings of Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Kevin Weekes, and Ryan Callahan, as well as Hilary Knight and Blake Bolden potentially in part-time roles.
The NHL will have their broadcast rights split between ESPN and Turner Sports/TNT over the next seven years, beginning with ESPN’s coverage of the Seattle Expansion Draft on July 21st. The networks will split coverage of the next seven Stanley Cup Finals as well, with ESPN taking the next Cup Final in 2022.