The National Hockey League’s regular season begins tonight Tuesday, October 12th and concludes next April 29th. The league welcomes a new franchise, the Seattle Kraken.
The defending Stanley Cup champs, Tampa Bay Lightning host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
These are the pertinent broadcast changes and there are a bunch, heading into the season.
- ESPN and Turner Sports are the new rightsholders for American NHL coverage, signing a seven-year deal earlier this year that commences this season, replacing NBC after it held the rights for 15 seasons. ESPN will televise a Stanley Cup Final in even-numbered years, and TNT in odd-numbered years. NBC game analysts Pierre McGuire and Dominic Moore will not return to the airwaves, with McGuire taking a management position with the Ottawa Senators.
- Announcers have been covered in previous posts, but ESPN’s top team will be Sean McDonough, Ray Ferraro, and Brian Boucher, while Turner’s will be Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Keith Jones.
- A number of announcers have either announced their retirement following the 2020–21 campaign, or announced their intent to do so after this coming season. At the top of the former list is Hall of Famer Jim Hughson, 65, the #1 play-by-play man on Hockey Night in Canada from 2008 to 2020. Hughson did not travel outside of his hometown of Vancouver last year.
- Legendary Pittsburgh Penguins radio voice Mike Lange, 73, (left) retired after calling a very limited schedule last year. He had been on the Penguins broadcast for 46 years in varying play-by-play capacities. His successor will be previous Pens’ radio studio host Josh Getzoff, who called the majority of games last season.
- Rick Jeanneret, 79, will retire at the conclusion of the 2021–22 season. He has been with the Buffalo Sabres since their second-ever season in 1971. He remains a beloved figure in Western New York. His heir apparent, Dan Dunleavy, will continue to call the majority of the team’s games on their simulcast, as he did last year.
- Longtime Chicago Blackhawks voice Pat Foley, 67, will also retire after his 39th season calling his hometown team. The Hawks are holding an audition for his successor, and finalists for the job are radio voice John Wiedeman, as well as NHL Network’s Stephen Nelson and Big Ten Network’s Chris Vosters and Mike Monaco. The four will call select road games on TV.
- Also in Chicago, former Boston University star Colby Cohen will replace Steve Konroyd as Eddie Olczyk’s fill-in when the latter is working for TNT.
- Joe O’Donnell wins the audition over three others and will now be the primary radio voice of the Minnesota Wild, receiving the call-up from the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Iowa. Bob Kurtz, 74, the original radio announcer for the team in 1997, will still work select home games.
- The Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s 32nd team and will begin play this season. Their television broadcast will consist of John Forslund, the previous #2 voice at NBC who had a long stint with the Carolina Hurricanes before that, and recently-retired J.T. Brown, who played over 300 games in the NHL.
- The radio play-by-play announcer for the Kraken will be Everett Fitzhugh, most recently of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Fitzhugh is the first Black full-time play-by-play man in NHL history.
- The Colorado Avalanche have added former Av Eric Lacroix to their radio broadcast team for select games.
- Sports USA has signed a four-year deal to continue as the national radio arm of NHL broadcasting. They are currently scheduled to broadcast a handful of regular season games and a larger schedule in the playoffs. Last year, their top broadcast team was John Ahlers and Joe Micheletti.
TV: John Ahlers, Brian Hayward
Radio: Steve Carroll, Dan Wood
TV: Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash or Paul Bissonnette
Radio: Bob Heethuis, Lyndsey Fry
TV: Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley
Radio: Judd Sirott, Bob Beers
Simulcast: Dan Dunleavy or Rick Jeanneret, Rob Ray
TV: Rick Ball, Kelly Hrudey or Cassie Campbell-Pascall
Radio: Derek Wills, Peter Loubardias
Simulcast: Mike Maniscalco, Tripp Tracy
TV: Pat Foley or rotating fill-in, Eddie Olczyk or Colby Cohen
Radio: John Wiedeman or rotating fill-in, Troy Murray
TV: Marc Moser, Peter McNab or Mark Rycroft
Radio: Conor McGahey, Eric Lacroix
TV: Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley
Radio: Bob McElligott
Simulcast: Josh Bogorad, Daryl Reaugh
TV: Ken Daniels, Mickey Redmond or Chris Osgood
Radio: Ken Kal, Paul Woods
TV: Jack Michaels, Louie DeBrusk
Radio: Cam Moon or Jack Michaels, Bob Stauffer
TV: Steve Goldstein, Randy Moller
Radio: Doug Plagens, Bill Lindsay
TV: Alex Faust or Nick Nickson, Jim Fox
Radio: Nick Nickson or Josh Schaefer, Daryl Evans
TV: Anthony LaPanta, Wes Walz or Ryan Carter
Radio: Joe O’Donnell or Bob Kurtz, Tom Reid
TV: Bryan Mudryk or Dan Robertson, Dave Poulin or Mike Johnson
Radio: Dan Robertson or Sean Campbell, Sergio Momesso
TV: Willy Daunic, Chris Mason
Radio: Pete Weber, Hal Gill
TV: Steve Cangialosi, Ken Daneyko
Radio: Matt Loughlin, Chico Resch
TV: Brendan Burke, Butch Goring
Radio: Chris King, Greg Picker
TV: Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti
Radio: Kenny Albert or Don La Greca, Dave Maloney
TV: Gord Miller or Jon Abbott, Jamie McLennan or Mike Johnson
Radio: Dean Brown, Gord Wilson
TV: Jim Jackson, Keith Jones or Scott Hartnell
Radio: Tim Saunders, Steve Coates
TV: Steve Mears, Bob Errey
Radio: Josh Getzoff, Phil Bourque
TV: Randy Hahn, Bret Hedican
Radio: Dan Rusanowsky, Scott Hannan or Drew Remenda
TV: John Forslund, J.T. Brown
Radio: Everett Fitzhugh
TV: John Kelly, Darren Pang or Jamie Rivers
Radio: Chris Kerber, Joe Vitale
TV: Dave Randorf, Brian Engblom
Radio: Dave Mishkin, Phil Esposito or Bobby Taylor
TV: Chris Cuthbert, Craig Simpson or Gord Miller, Ray Ferraro
Radio: Joe Bowen, Jim Ralph
TV: John Shorthouse, John Garrett
Radio: Brendan Batchelor, Corey Hirsch
TV: Dave Goucher, Shane Hnidy
Radio: Dan D’Uva, Gary Lawless
TV: Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin
Radio: John Walton, Ken Sabourin
TV: Dennis Beyak, Kevin Sawyer
Radio: Paul Edmonds, Jamie Thomas
Play-by-play: Sean McDonough (left), Steve Levy, John Buccigross, Bob Wischusen, Leah Hextall
Color: Ray Ferraro, Brian Boucher, Kevin Weekes, AJ Mleczko, Ryan Callahan, Cassie Campbell-Pascall
Play-by-play: Kenny Albert, Brendan Burke
Color: Eddie Olczyk, Keith Jones, Darren Pang, Jamal Mayers, Jennifer Botterill
Play-by-play: Chris Cuthbert, John Bartlett, Harnarayan Singh, Rick Ball, John Shorthouse
Color: Craig Simpson, Garry Galley, Louie DeBrusk, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Kelly Hrudey, John Garrett, Greg Millen, Jason York