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==Coverage overview==
 
==Coverage overview==
===1979–1982 and 1985–1988===
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===1979–1982 and 1985–1988===
ESPN initially covered the NHL during the 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82 seasons by making deals with individual teams. This included eleven Hartford Whalers home broadcasts in 1980–81 and 25 the following year. 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 ($8,000,000 for 2 years). In 1984, the NHL asked ESPN for a bid, but then gave USA the right to match it, which it did.
+
ESPN initially covered the NHL during the 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82 seasons by making deals with individual teams. This included eleven Hartford Whalers home broadcasts in 1980–81 and 25 the following year. 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 2 years). In 1984, the NHL asked ESPN for a bid, but then gave USA the right to match it, which it did.
   
ESPN initially and previously covered the NHL from 1980–82. They had a rather limited slate of games, which were all broadcast from U.S. arenas: Hartford, Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado in 1980–81 and New York Islanders (while deleting Hartford) in 1981–82. ESPN covered a selected amount of playoff games in 1982. They covered Game 4 of New York Islanders-Pittsburgh series and Game 2 of the Minnesota-Chicago series. [[Sam Rosen (sportscaster)|'''Sam Rosen''' and]] and [[Pete Stemkowski|'''Pete Stemkowski''']] were the announcers for both games.
+
ESPN initially and previously covered the NHL from 1980–82. They had a rather limited slate of games, which were all broadcast from U.S. arenas: Hartford, Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado in 1980–81 and New York Islanders (while deleting Hartford) in 1981–82. ESPN covered a selected amount of playoff games in 1982. They covered Game 4 of New York Islanders-Pittsburgh series and Game 2 of the Minnesota-Chicago series. '''[[Sam Rosen]]''' and '''[[Pete Stemkowski]]''' were the announcers for both games.
   
After the 1984–85 season, the NHL Board of Governors chose to have USA and ESPN submit sealed bids. ESPN won by bidding nearly $25,000,000 for 3 years, about twice as much as USA had been paying. The contract called for aired approximately 33 weekly (Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET), nationally televised (subject to blackout) regular season games a year (as well as the [[NHL All-Star Game|All-Star Game]] and entire [[List of Stanley Cup champions|Stanley Cup Finals]]). The network chose [[Dan Kelly (sportscaster)|Dan Kelly]] and [[Sam Rosen (sportscaster)|Sam Rosen]] to be the network's first play-by-play announcers, [[Mickey Redmond]] and [[Brad Park]] were selected to be the color commentators; [[Tom Mees]] was chosen to serve as studio host, while [[Jim Kelly (sportscaster)|Jim Kelly]] was chosen to served as the reporter. ESPN designated Sundays as ''Sunday Night Hockey'', 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.
+
After the 1984–85 season, the NHL Board of Governors chose to have USA and ESPN submit sealed bids. ESPN won by bidding nearly $25 million for 3 years, about twice as much as USA had been paying. The contract called for aired approximately 33 weekly (Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET), nationally televised (subject to blackout) regular season games a year (as well as the [[NHL All-Star Game|All-Star Game]] and entire [[List of Stanley Cup champions|Stanley Cup Finals]]). 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 color commentators; [[Tom Mees]] was chosen to serve as studio host, while [[Jim Kelly (sportscaster)|Jim Kelly]] was chosen to served as the reporter. ESPN designated Sundays as ''Sunday Night Hockey'', 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.
   
ESPN went on another hiatus (lasting through the end of the [[1991–92 NHL season|1991–92 season]]) from the NHL following the [[1987–88 NHL season|1987–88 season]], when [[NHL on SportsChannel America|SportsChannel America]] outbid them.
+
ESPN went on another hiatus (lasting through the end of the [[1991–92 NHL season|1991–92 season]]) from the NHL following the [[1987–88 NHL season|1987–88 season]], when [[NHL on SportsChannel America|SportsChannel America]] outbid them.
   
===1992–2004===
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===1992–2004===
 
From its debut in [[1992–93 NHL season|1992]] until the [[2001–02 NHL season]], weekly regular season games were broadcast on Sundays (between [[ESPN Sunday Night Football|NFL]] and [[ESPN Major League Baseball|baseball]] seasons), Wednesdays, and Fridays, and were titled ''Sunday/Wednesday/Friday Night Hockey''. Prior to the 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. Beginning in [[1999–2000 NHL season|1999–2000 season]], ESPN was permitted two exclusive telecasts per team per season.
 
From its debut in [[1992–93 NHL season|1992]] until the [[2001–02 NHL season]], weekly regular season games were broadcast on Sundays (between [[ESPN Sunday Night Football|NFL]] and [[ESPN Major League Baseball|baseball]] seasons), Wednesdays, and Fridays, and were titled ''Sunday/Wednesday/Friday Night Hockey''. Prior to the 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. Beginning in [[1999–2000 NHL season|1999–2000 season]], ESPN was permitted two exclusive telecasts per team per season.
   
When ESPN started broadcasting [[NBA on ESPN|NBA]] games on Wednesday and Friday nights in [[2002–03 NBA season|2002]], the weekly hockey broadcasts were moved to Thursday and the broadcasts renamed to ''Thursday Night Hockey''. Beginning in [[1993–94 NHL season|1993–94]], up to 5 games per week were also shown on [[ESPN2]] known as "''Fire on Ice''."
+
When ESPN started broadcasting [[NBA on ESPN|NBA]] games on Wednesday and Friday nights in [[2002–03 NBA season|2002]], the weekly hockey broadcasts were moved to Thursday and the broadcasts renamed to ''Thursday Night Hockey''. Beginning in [[1993–94 NHL season|1993–94]], up to 5 games per week were also shown on [[ESPN2]] known as "''Fire on Ice''."
   
 
During the Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 provided almost nightly coverage, often carrying games on both channels simultaneously. Games in the first 2 rounds were non-exclusive, while telecasts in the Conference Finals and Finals were exclusive (except in 1993 and 1994).
 
During the Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 provided almost nightly coverage, often carrying games on both channels simultaneously. Games in the first 2 rounds were non-exclusive, while telecasts in the Conference Finals and Finals were exclusive (except in 1993 and 1994).
   
 
===OLN/Versus replaces ESPN===
 
===OLN/Versus replaces ESPN===
Before the [[2004-05 NHL lockout|2004–05 lockout]], the NHL had reached two separate deals with NBC and [[ESPN]]. ESPN offered NHL $60 million for about 40 games (15 of 40 games would be during the regular season), all on [[ESPN2]], with presumably, only some midweek playoff games, the first 2 games of the Stanley Cup Final and the All-Star Game airing on [[ESPN]]. The NBC deal stipulated that the network would pay the league no rights fees - an unheard of practice to that point. [[NHL on NBC|NBC]]<nowiki/>'s deal included six regular season windows, 7 postseason broadcasts and Games 3–7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in prime-time.
+
Before the [[2004-05 NHL lockout|2004–05 lockout]], the NHL had reached two separate deals with NBC and [[ESPN]]. ESPN offered NHL $60 million for about 40 games (15 of 40 games would be during the regular season), all on [[ESPN2]], with presumably, only some midweek playoff games, the first 2 games of the Stanley Cup Final and the All-Star Game airing on [[ESPN]]. The NBC deal stipulated that the network would pay the league no rights fees - an unheard of practice to that point. [[NHL on NBC|NBC]]'s deal included six regular season windows, 7 postseason broadcasts and Games 3–7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in prime-time.
   
[[ESPN]] had a 2 year deal that they opted out of after the lockout, leaving NHL without a cable partner. In August 2005, [[Comcast]] (who owns the [[Philadelphia Flyers]]) paid $70 million a year for three years to put games (54 or more NHL games each season under the agreement, generally on Monday and Tuesday nights) on the OLN network, now known as [[NHL on Versus|Versus]]. Due to the abbreviated off-season, the 2005–06 schedule did not offer OLN exclusivity, which they received in 2006–07. [[NHL on Versus|Versus]] will also cover the playoffs and will exclusively air Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the consequence was that except for 2006-2008 when [[NHL on NBC|NBC]] televise Games 3-7. Perhaps, Games 1, 2, and 5-7 will always televise on [[NHL on NBC|NBC]], and Games 3-4 televise on [[NHL on Versus|Versus]] and [[NHL on NBC|NBCSN]].[[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']][[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']][[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']][[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']][[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']][[Bill Clement|'''<nowiki/>''']]
+
[[ESPN]] had a 2 year deal that they opted out of after the lockout, leaving NHL without a cable partner. In August 2005, [[Comcast]] (who owns the [[Philadelphia Flyers]]) paid $70 million a year for three years to put games (54 or more NHL games each season under the agreement, generally on Monday and Tuesday nights) on the OLN network, now known as [[NHL on Versus|Versus]]. Due to the abbreviated off-season, the 2005–06 schedule did not offer OLN exclusivity, which they received in 2006–07. [[NHL on Versus|Versus]] will also cover the playoffs and will exclusively air Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the consequence was that except for 2006-2008 when [[NHL on NBC|NBC]] televise Games 3-7. Perhaps, Games 1, 2, and 5-7 will always televise on [[NHL on NBC|NBC]], and Games 3-4 televise on [[NHL on Versus|Versus]] and [[NHL on NBC|NBCSN]].
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
 
*[http://www.hockeyist.com/Music/Theme%20-%20ESPN%20NHL%20Hockey%20Night.mp3 ESPN NHL Hockey Night MP3 theme]
 
*[http://www.hockeyist.com/Music/Theme%20-%20ESPN%20NHL%20Hockey%20Night.mp3 ESPN NHL Hockey Night MP3 theme]

Latest revision as of 16:28, January 4, 2020

ESPN National Hockey Night was ESPN's weekly television broadcasts of National Hockey League regular season games and coverage of playoff games, broadcast from 1992 to 2004. ESPN had been slated to broadcast games for the 2004–05 NHL season, but the season's cancellation combined with the NHL reaching an agreement with OLN (now Versus) to broadcast games for the 2005–06 NHL season effectively ended National Hockey Night after the 2003–04 NHL season.

Coverage overviewEdit

1979–1982 and 1985–1988Edit

ESPN initially covered the NHL during the 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82 seasons by making deals with individual teams. This included eleven Hartford Whalers home broadcasts in 1980–81 and 25 the following year. 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 2 years). In 1984, the NHL asked ESPN for a bid, but then gave USA the right to match it, which it did.

ESPN initially and previously covered the NHL from 1980–82. They had a rather limited slate of games, which were all broadcast from U.S. arenas: Hartford, Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado in 1980–81 and New York Islanders (while deleting Hartford) in 1981–82. ESPN covered a selected amount of playoff games in 1982. They covered Game 4 of New York Islanders-Pittsburgh series and Game 2 of the Minnesota-Chicago series. Sam Rosen and Pete Stemkowski were the announcers for both games.

After the 1984–85 season, the NHL Board of Governors chose to have USA and ESPN submit sealed bids. ESPN won by bidding nearly $25 million for 3 years, about twice as much as USA had been paying. The contract called for aired approximately 33 weekly (Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET), nationally televised (subject to blackout) regular season games a year (as well as the All-Star Game and entire Stanley Cup Finals). 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 color commentators; Tom Mees was chosen to serve as studio host, while Jim Kelly was chosen to served as the reporter. ESPN designated Sundays as Sunday Night Hockey, 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.

ESPN went on another hiatus (lasting through the end of the 1991–92 season) from the NHL following the 1987–88 season, when SportsChannel America outbid them.

1992–2004Edit

From its debut in 1992 until the 2001–02 NHL season, weekly regular season games were broadcast on Sundays (between NFL and baseball seasons), Wednesdays, and Fridays, and were titled Sunday/Wednesday/Friday Night Hockey. Prior to the 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. Beginning in 1999–2000 season, ESPN was permitted two exclusive telecasts per team per season.

When ESPN started broadcasting NBA games on Wednesday and Friday nights in 2002, the weekly hockey broadcasts were moved to Thursday and the broadcasts renamed to Thursday Night Hockey. Beginning in 1993–94, up to 5 games per week were also shown on ESPN2 known as "Fire on Ice."

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN and ESPN2 provided almost nightly coverage, often carrying games on both channels simultaneously. Games in the first 2 rounds were non-exclusive, while telecasts in the Conference Finals and Finals were exclusive (except in 1993 and 1994).

OLN/Versus replaces ESPNEdit

Before the 2004–05 lockout, the NHL had reached two separate deals with NBC and ESPN. ESPN offered NHL $60 million for about 40 games (15 of 40 games would be during the regular season), all on ESPN2, with presumably, only some midweek playoff games, the first 2 games of the Stanley Cup Final and the All-Star Game airing on ESPN. The NBC deal stipulated that the network would pay the league no rights fees - an unheard of practice to that point. NBC's deal included six regular season windows, 7 postseason broadcasts and Games 3–7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in prime-time.

ESPN had a 2 year deal that they opted out of after the lockout, leaving NHL without a cable partner. In August 2005, Comcast (who owns the Philadelphia Flyers) paid $70 million a year for three years to put games (54 or more NHL games each season under the agreement, generally on Monday and Tuesday nights) on the OLN network, now 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 will also cover the playoffs and will exclusively air Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the consequence was that except for 2006-2008 when NBC televise Games 3-7. Perhaps, Games 1, 2, and 5-7 will always televise on NBC, and Games 3-4 televise on Versus and NBCSN.

External linksEdit

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