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NHL on TNT
Turner Sports.jpg
Genre NHL hockey telecasts
Presented by Kenny Albert
Eddie Olczyk
Keith Jones
Brendan Burke
Darren Pang
Jennifer Botterill
Liam McHugh
Wayne Gretzky
Anson Carter
Rick Tocchet
Paul Bissonnette
Country of origin United States
Original language English
Production
Production locations Various NHL venues (game telecasts and occasional pregame, intermission, and postgame shows)
Turner Studios, Atlanta, GA (most studio segments, pregame, intermission, and postgame shows)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 150 minutes or until game ends
Production company Turner Sports
Distributor WarnerMedia
Release
Original network TBS
TNT
HBO Max
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original release October 13, 2021 (2021-10-13) –
present (present)
Chronology
Preceded by
Related shows
External links
Website
Production website

The NHL on TNT is an American presentation of National Hockey League (NHL) games produced by Turner Sports, and televised on TNT in the United States.

In 2021, Turner Sports reached a seven-year contract to serve as one of the two rightsholders of the NHL in the United States, alongside ESPN/ABC, and both replacing NBC Sports. TNT will hold rights "up to 72" nationally-televised regular-season games per season,[1] the annual NHL Winter Classic game on New Year's Day, half of the Stanley Cup playoffs (airing on TNT and TBS, with the latter billed as the NHL on TBS), and hold rights to the Stanley Cup Finals in odd-numbered years.[2] The contract also includes an option for HBO Max to carry and/or simulcast games.

Turner Sports has previously aired hockey, as the regional home for the Atlanta Flames and Atlanta Thrashers, and as the cable home for Olympic ice hockey from 19921998 for CBS. The co-owned AT&T SportsNet regional sports networks also hold local rights to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Seattle Kraken, and Vegas Golden Knights. However, Turner Sports never had a national contract with the NHL until the current deal was reached.

History

Prior to a national contract

From 19921998, TNT served as the American cable television partner for CBS in its coverage of the Winter Olympic Games. Jiggs McDonald handled the play-by-play for ice hockey at the 1992 and 1994 Olympics with Bill Clement on color commentary in 1992 and Joe Micheletti in 1994. In 1998, Mike "Doc" Emrick[3] provided the play-by-play commentary alongside color commentators Peter McNab, Joe Micheletti, and Digit Murphy.

When the NHL's media rights were up for renewal in 2011, Turner Sports was reported to have been among the bidders (with Sports Business Journal suggesting that Turner would want to pick it up for TruTV to expand its sports output alongside the NCAA men's basketball tournament), alongside past NHL rightsholders Fox Sports and ESPN.[4] The NHL ultimately decided to renew its rights with NBC Sports under a 10-year deal, taking advantage of the acquisition of its parent company NBC Universal by Comcast—the existing cable rightsholder via Versus.[5]

National contract (2021–present)

In order to increase the value of its U.S. media rights after the expiration of their ten-year deal with NBC Sports, the NHL pursued having multiple media partners for its next round of media rights deals, including possible deals with streaming services.[6] After announcing on March 10, 2021 that ESPN would hold the first half of the new media rights, on April 27, the NHL announced that a seven-year agreement was reached for Turner Sports to hold the second half of its new media rights beginning in the 2021–22 season;[7][8][9][10][11]

  • TNT will hold rights up to 72 exclusive national games per-season.[9][12] In practice these games have primarily been Wednesday-night doubleheaders (thus serving as a spiritual successor NBCSN's flagship Wednesday Night Hockey), with occasional games also scheduled on weekends.[12] Other Turner networks, such as TruTV, are used as overflow in the event that a game on TNT runs long.[7][9][13][14]
  • TNT will hold rights to the NHL Winter Classic and NHL Stadium Series annually.
  • TNT and TBS will share in coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs with ESPN and ESPN2, holding rights to "half" of the games in the first two rounds, and one conference final per-season (ESPN/ABC will have the first choice of conference finals).
  • TNT will hold rights to the Stanley Cup Finals in odd-numbered years beginning 2023, alternating with ABC.
  • There is an option for HBO Max to hold over-the-top streaming rights, including simulcasts of TNT's games, and the option for games exclusive to the service. WarnerMedia executives indicated following the contract announcement that they had only just begun to study how the streaming service might be involved, and that they did not plan to air games on HBO Max within the 2021 calendar year.[15]
  • TNT will produce a studio show for its coverage, modeled after Inside the NBA.[16][17][18]
  • Bleacher Report will distribute highlights on digital platforms. The site launched Open Ice, a new content brand focusing on NHL-related content. Online personality and streamer Andrew "Nasher" Telfer was hired as a contributor for the brand.[19][20]

The contract was reported to be valued at $225 million per-season.[21]

On May 26, 2021, Turner announced the hiring of Wayne Gretzky as its lead studio analyst, and that NBC's top commentary team of Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk would move to Turner as its own top commentary team.[22][23] Retired basketball player and current TNT Inside the NBA panelist Charles Barkley, who is a friend of Gretzky, was instrumental in convincing Gretzky to join Turner.[24] Craig Morgan, an Arizona-based reporter on the Arizona Coyotes and correspondent for the NHL Network, reported that Darren Pang and Keith Jones, color commentators for the St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively, would be joining Turner.[25] On June 9, Morgan reported that NBC’s Anson Carter would be doing the same.[26] On June 28, Marchand reported that Islanders play-by-play man Brendan Burke was in talks to join Turner as their #2 play-by-play man.[27] On August 31, it was reported that Liam McHugh would join TNT from NBC.[28]

On September 14, 2021, TNT announced its slate of on-air staff for its inaugural season.[29] Jones, who served as a lead studio analyst at NBC, would serve as the lead "Inside-the-Glass" reporter, joining Albert and Olczyk on the lead broadcast team.[29][20] Burke[30] and Pang were named as the secondary broadcast team. McHugh and Carter were named to the studio team,[29][26] along with former Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet[29][31] and veteran Paul Bissonnette, who all joined Gretzky in studio.[29] Hockey Night in Canada’s Jennifer Botterill, NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond, and Tarik El-Bashir also appear as contributors.[29][20] TNT later added former referee Don Koharski as a rules analyst, and former Blackhawk Jamal Mayers as an extra contributor. On November 23, TNT added retired Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to its studio panel, starting on the next day's broadcast.[32] On November 30, TNT welcomed former referee Stéphane Auger to their team, as another rules analyst, joining Koharski. He made his debut during the Penguins-Oilers game the next night. On January 13, 2022, TNT added Nabil Karim,[33] formerly of ESPN, to contribute as secondary studio host and reporter for both the NHL[34] and the NBA. Former NBC and current Kraken play-by-play announcer John Forslund was picked up by TNT as a fill-in announcer, whenever Albert or Burke are on assignment. Forslund first filled in for Albert for the Avalanche-Golden Knights game on February 16, as Albert was working the Olympic women’s hockey gold medal game for NBC about an hour after puck drop.[35][36][37][38] Sharks color commentator Bret Hedican also joined in a fill-in role, joining Forslund in Vancouver on March 9. TNT added several announcers to their roster for the playoffs, whose teams that missed the playoffs this season, including Randy Hahn, Dave Goucher, Jim Jackson, Butch Goring, Drew Remenda, Shane Hnidy and Jody Shelley.

For the 2021-22 season, TNT aired 50 games, primarily on Wednesday nights (with 15 doubleheaders), as well as seven weeks of Sunday afternoon games in March and April 2022, and all three outdoor games (the Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and Heritage Classic).[12] TNT's first broadcasts were a preseason doubleheader on September 30, 2021 between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, and the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings.[39] TNT then aired its first regular season games on October 13, 2021, with a doubleheader between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, and the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche.[40]

Due to conflicts with TNT's first two NHL doubleheaders, AEW: Dynamite was pre-empted to Saturday on the weeks of October 13 and 20. From October 27 through December 15, 2021, Dynamite aired as scheduled on Wednesday nights (and, concurrently, began to be broadcast live on both TNT's East and West feeds), limiting TNT to a single Wednesday-night NHL game as a lead-out at 10 p.m. ET until January 5, 2022,[41][42] when Dynamite moved to TBS.[12][43]

Coverage on other networks

Turner Sports produced hockey has also aired on other networks.

TBS

See also: TNT Olympic broadcasts

For a short period in the 1970s, WTCG,[44] the predecessor to TBS, was the television home of the Atlanta Flames. All of the Flames' radio and television broadcasts were simulcasts. The Flames' games were also broadcast on the radio by WSB (AM). Jiggs McDonald[45][46] was the main play-by-play announcer with Skip Caray[47] substituting from 197680. Color commentators included Andy Still (1972-73), Bob Neal (1973–74), Ed Thilenius (1974–75; home and televised games only), Bernie Geoffrion (197579), and Bobby Harper[48] (1979–80; home games only). Pete Van Wieren[49] also did play-by-play for the Flames. The Flames left Atlanta for Calgary prior to the 1980-81 NHL season.[50]

During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, TBS will air select playoff games alongside TNT.[51]

Turner South

See also: Turner South

Turner launched the regional Turner South network in 1999, which carried games of the Atlanta Thrashers, which were owned at that time by Turner parent Time Warner. Matt McConnell was the primary television play-by-play announcer for the Thrashers from 19992003 with JP Dellacamera taking over for the rest of the way in Atlanta. Darren Eliot was the television color commentator throughout the Thrashers' entire existence before their 2011 departure to Winnipeg as the Jets. Time Warner sold the Thrashers in 2003, and sold Turner South to Fox Cable Networks in 2006, which merged it with FSN South to form SportSouth.

AT&T SportsNet

See also: AT&T SportsNet

Following AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner in 2018, AT&T SportsNet,—a regional sports network system acquired in 2015 as a part of DirecTV, and formerly part of the Fox Sports Networks (FSN) group—was moved alongside Turner Sports within the WarnerMedia News & Sports division under Jeff Zucker in March 2019.[52] AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, and Root Sports Northwest (majority owned by the Seattle Mariners) currently serve as the regional outlets for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights, and Seattle Kraken, respectively.[53]

Production

A Turner Sports executive stated that TNT's goal for its coverage was to provide information on-air that would appeal to both mainstream viewers and "diehard fans", including leveraging the NHL's new player and puck tracking system for on-air features and graphics, and high frame rate cameras. The network is also experimenting with an on-ice power play clock graphic, similar to the on-court shot clock graphic used in TNT's NBA coverage.[40] TNT's studio coverage originates from Turner's headquarters in Atlanta, with a set featuring projection mapping effects.[54]

On-air staff

Studio personalities

Play-by-play

Color commentators

Inside-the-Glass analysts

Ice-level reporters

  • Tarik El-Bashir: ice-level reporter (2021–present)[29]
  • Jackie Redmond: ice-level reporter (2022–present)[29]
  • Nabil Karim: ice-level reporter and fill-in studio host (2022–present)
  • Taryn Hatcher: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)
  • Erika Wachter: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)
  • Shannon Hogan: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)
  • Julie Stewart-Binks: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)
  • Ashali Vise: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)
  • Alyson Lozoff: Playoffs ice-level reporter (2022–present)

Rules analysts

See also

References

  1. Lucia, Joe. "ESPN, Turner release NHL schedules for 2021-22 season, featuring 78 regular season games on cable and broadcast", Awful Announcing, September 16, 2021. 
  2. Lucia, Joe. "Turner’s NHL deal will include "up to 72" exclusive national games each season, half the Stanley Cup Playoffs, HBO Max streaming", Awful Announcing, April 27, 2021. 
  3. Emrick handled hockey play-by-play duties for CBS at Albertville in 1992 and on CBS and TNT at Lillehammer in 1994 and Nagano in 1998..
  4. Fox, Turner show interest in NHL (2011-02-28).
  5. Bob Fernadez. Goodbye Versus, hello NBC Sports Network. Philadelphia Inquirer.
  6. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman relishes the opportunities as next media deal approaches (May 27, 2019).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rosen, Dan. "NHL, Turner Sports reach deal for games on TNT, TBS", NHL Enterprises, L.P., April 27, 2021. 
  8. Koo, Ben. "Five questions that still need to be answered after the NHL’s TV deal with Turner", Awful Announcing, April 28, 2021. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Lucia, Joe. "Turner’s NHL deal will include "up to 72" exclusive national games each season, half the Stanley Cup Playoffs, HBO Max streaming", Awful Announcing, April 27, 2021. 
  10. "N.H.L. and Turner Sports Reach 7-Year Media Rights Deal", The New York Times, April 27, 2021. 
  11. "Turner & NHL Ice Seven-Year Rights Deal Including Some Playoff & Stanley Cup Final Games, HBO Max – Update", Deadline, April 27, 2021. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 ESPN, Turner release NHL schedules for 2021-22 season, featuring 78 regular season games on cable and broadcast (en-US) (2021-09-16).
  13. Islanders 6, Canucks 3: Five-goal first period keys Isles win in first game post-All-Star break. Vox Media.
  14. Lord, Sarah. NHL in 2022: How to Watch the Playoffs, Rest of the NHL Season (en).
  15. Hayes, Dade (April 27, 2021). WarnerMedia News & Sports Chief Jeff Zucker Taps Brakes On HBO Max NHL Streaming: "It’s Not Imminent". Deadline.
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  17. Young, Jabari (2021-05-26). Turner Sports needs to grow its NHL audience — Charles Barkley is the key (en).
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  19. Hill, Michael P.. "Turner Sports unveils ‘NHL on TNT’ logo design", NewscastStudio, September 15, 2021. 
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  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Morgan, Craig [@CraigSMorgan] (May 26, 2021). Also hearing that Turner has signed Darren Pang & Keith Jones. Heck of a team assembled at Turner. t.co/MRbEyYSo7E (en).
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  35. Fox, Jeremy [@foxman1987] (February 14, 2022). @jkrdevil @richarddeitsch Kenny Albert will be calling the Gold Medal Match for NBC.....It will be Brendan Burke calling one game on TNT and the other will be called by John Forslund! (en).
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  68. Heltman, Russ. "TNT Adds Don Koharski As NHL Rules Analyst", Barrett Sports Media, September 29, 2021. 

External links

Preceded by
OLN/Versus/NBCSN
NHL pay television carrier (with ESPN) in the United States
2021 – present
Succeeded by
'incumbent'
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