Chris Chelios and Hilary Knight are among those who have joined ESPN as NHL broadcasters beginning next season.
ESPN also hired Ray Ferraro, Brian Boucher, Ryan Callahan, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Rick DiPietro, Ray Ferraro, A.J. Mleczko and Kevin Weekes as hockey analysts. They’ll join former NHL coach Barry Melrose and six-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier, who reached a multiyear agreement to work as an analyst June 24.
They will appear on ABC, ESPN, ESPN+ and Hulu. The NHL, ESPN and The Walt Disney Co. agreed to a seven-year television, streaming and media rights deal March 10 that begins with the 2021-22 season.
Chelios played 1,651 games, most ever by an NHL defenseman and eighth all-time, in 26 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers. He won the Stanley Cup three times (1986, 2002, 2008), won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL three times (1989, 1993, 1996) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
Knight was a forward who helped the United States women’s hockey team win the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. She also helped the U.S. win the IIHF Women’s World Championship seven times (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).
Weekes and Callahan previously worked for NHL Network. Callahan, Boucher and Mleczko have been part of “NHL on NBC” broadcasts.
Sean McDonough, Steve Levy, Leah Hextall, John Buccigross and Bob Wischusen will be play-by-play broadcasters for NHL games on ESPN.
Blake Bolden, a scout and growth and inclusion specialist for the Los Angeles Kings, has joined ESPN as an NHL reporter. Bolden became the first Black woman to play professional hockey, with Boston of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in 2013-14. She will join current ESPN reporters Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski.
Broadcasting games on ESPN Deportes will be Kenneth Garay, Eitan Benezra, Carlos Rossell and Antonio Valle.
“This new and groundbreaking lineup will bring the NHL to an expanding legion of passionate fans,” Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content Jimmy Pitaro said. “We set out to put together a roster that would excite, engage and educate the entire range of fans, from diehard to casual, while inspiring the next generation. With this lineup, we believe we have done just that. We could not be more excited to welcome this talented and diverse group to the ESPN hockey family.”
The NHL announced a seven-year media rights agreement with Turner Sports on April 27 that will have regular-season and postseason games televised on TNT and TBS. Among their list of broadcasters is Wayne Gretzky, who reached a multiyear agreement to work as a studio analyst May 26.