Today, ESPN announced its roster of talent for its NHL coverage after securing the rights to a landmark seven-year television, streaming, and media rights deal with the league. Four former New York Rangers, including two former team captains, are among the analysts talking hockey for ESPN.
That’s right. Get ready for a lot more Mark Messier in your life. Messier joins fellow Rangers’ alumane Kevin Weekes, Ray Ferraro, and Ryan Callahan on a staff of 11 analysts which is headlined by Barry Melrose and also includes Brian Boucher, Chris Chelios, A.J. Mleczko, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Hilary Knight, and former New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro.
Messier recently showed up on the radar after an appearance on The Michael Kay Show to share his thoughts on the firing of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton and, seemingly, to throw his hat into the ring for getting a job with the Rangers. It’s an open secret that Messier has desired a role with the Rangers for years, so his comments on The Michael Kay Show weren’t necessarily surprising.
Mark Messier should've been working in some capacity with the #Rangers for years. Here's #NYR's chance:— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) May 5, 2021
Mess on Michael Kay Show moments ago:
"I've made it very clear that I've been standing by ready to help out in any way for many years. Don't really know what else to say."
Callahan made his debut on NHL Network in October of 2019. Of course, Ray Ferraro and Kevin Weekes have been on broadcasts for years and are among the very best in the business.
Another interesting note from today’s news is that pro women’s hockey player Blake Bolden, who is currently a scout with the Los Angeles Kings, is joining Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan as a reporter for ESPN.
Details of the historic media rights deal from ESPN’s press release:
The new deal is highlighted by: exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final on ABC in four of the seven years of the agreement, with the ability to simulcast/megacast on ESPN+ and additional ESPN networks; the return of live NHL action to ESPN networks with 25 exclusive national regular-season games on ABC or ESPN; 75 national regular-season games per season produced by ESPN that will stream exclusively on both ESPN+ and Hulu; half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on ABC and ESPN each season; and coverage annually of NHL’s Face-off (opening night games), the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Challenge, plus other NHL special events each season.