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Turner Sports Announces Hiring Of Wayne Gretzky, Kenny Albert And Eddie Olczyk

via Turner Sports press release,

The NHL is coming to Turner Sports’ networks and platforms later this year and the first additions to the roster of studio and game commentators are in place. Turner Sports and Wayne Gretzky have reached a multi-year agreement for “The Great One” to offer studio analysis during key moments of the NHL regular season and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Additionally, veteran play-by-play commentator Kenny Albert and analyst Eddie Olczyk will call live games for Turner Sports throughout the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, airing on TNT and TBS.

“The world’s best hockey league is coming to Turner Sports later this year and the exciting additions of Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will jumpstart our NHL coverage with some of the best and biggest talents in the sport,” said Tara August, Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Special Projects, Turner Sports. “Their incomparable experiences within the game and unparalleled depth of knowledge will bring a distinct dimension to our game and studio coverage. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Turner Sports family.”

“I’ve long admired Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, among other sports, and I’m thrilled to be joining the studio team in their inaugural NHL season,” said Gretzky. “This is an exciting opportunity to share my experiences and perspectives on the game I will always cherish, while hopefully informing and entertaining fans along the way.”

“Calling the NHL’s biggest games – including the Stanley Cup Final – has been a lifelong dream since I was five years old,” said Albert. “I look forward to this tremendous opportunity with Turner Sports and can’t wait for the puck to drop on the 2021-22 season! Becoming a teammate of ‘The Great One’ and sharing the broadcast booth with Eddie Olczyk – one of the best analysts in all of sports and a long-time friend and colleague of mine – is the icing on the cake!”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Turner Sports family and its coverage of the NHL,” said Olczyk. “I’m equally thrilled to be on the same team with ‘The Great One’ for the first time in my career; that’s just tremendously tremendous! Thanks to everyone at Turner Sports for all of their efforts in assembling this amazing team.”

Announced in April, Turner Sports’ multi-year NHL agreement includes crowning a champion through its exclusive live coverage of the Stanley Cup Final on TNT in three of the seven years; half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year (half of the Conference Finals, First and Second Round games); rights to up to 72 exclusive national regular season games each season; and expansive digital and highlight rights for Bleacher Report, House of Highlights and additional platforms. TNT will also exclusively present the NHL Winter Classic each year, among other live events.

Additional live game and studio coverage details, along with programming plans, will be announced in the months ahead.

Gretzky, considered the greatest to ever play hockey, will contribute in-depth studio analysis during key moments of the NHL regular season and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs on TNT and TBS. “The Great One” played 20 seasons in the NHL, including winning four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, and is the NHL’s all-time leading scorer with the most goals and assists in a career. He won a record nine Hart Trophies as the most valuable player in the NHL, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame immediately following his retirement in 1999.

Albert will bring his more than 30 years in sports broadcasting to Turner Sports as lead play-by-play commentator for its NHL telecasts. He is considered one of the most versatile broadcasters in sports and is the only national play-by-play broadcaster who calls hockey, football, basketball, baseball, and boxing. Albert has also served as the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers since 1995. His hockey broadcasting career began in 1990 as play-by-play commentator for the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League, eventually leading to calling NHL games for the Washington Capitals and nationally for Fox and NBC. He has called seven Stanley Cup Finals on national radio, more than 400 NFL games on Fox including five Divisional Playoff games, five MLB Divisional Series and the New York Knicks. The two-time national Emmy Award nominee has also served as play-by-play announcer for men's and women's ice hockey at five Winter Olympic Games for NBC.

Olczyk will be lead analyst for Turner Sports’ coverage of the NHL throughout the regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Stanley Cup Final. Olczyk played 16 seasons in the NHL, winning a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994. Following his playing career, he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins game broadcasts for Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and provided analysis for ESPN, ESPN2 and NHL Radio. Olczyk was head coach of the Penguins from 2003-05, before returning to the broadcast booth in 2006 with NBC and the Chicago Blackhawks as lead hockey analyst for both, respectively, the last 15 years. A stage III colon cancer survivor, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Why is ESPN not bring back Gary Thorne? He is one of the best ever at calling a NHL game.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/26/21 at 09:14 AM ET

Temo's avatar

Olczyk again. Oy vey. . . .

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 05/26/21 at 09:15 AM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

There aren’t any games on broadcast tv with this new deal. You have to have cable tv of some sort.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 05/26/21 at 10:31 AM ET

Paul's avatar

That’s true RGEP, no over the air content, all cable/streaming packages.

Perhaps ESPN will use ABC for select games but Turner has no option like that.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/26/21 at 10:45 AM ET

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All cable is NOT a great idea.

I’m also have doubts about Gretzky as a color guy.

Posted by pnwwing on 05/26/21 at 11:14 AM ET

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Gary Thorne? Yeah, the same Thorne who kept calling Lidstrom, ‘Nicky’. I actually called the station and told them to tell lhim to either call him ‘Nick’, or shut the hell up

Posted by exor54 on 05/26/21 at 11:39 AM ET

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I love hockey, but I’m not buying a cable package to watch it. I lucked out this season because the Fox/Bally applet me watch games with internet provider log in.

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 05/26/21 at 11:39 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Wait what? I’m going to have to buy a specific package to watch playoff hockey next year? Or are we saying this will “likely” be a channel only on cable, like USA or something, that isn’t aired via antenna?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 05/26/21 at 11:56 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Speaking of coverage, I thought the camera shots last night in the leafs/canadians game was fantastic, watching it side by side with the Preds/Canes, the view was much better, felt like I was sitting there at the game, sans the crowed. 

I assume that’s because the cameras were able to get lower in the stadium without fans, did anyone else notice this, or did I happened to be of a super hi def tv vs. some regular box.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 05/26/21 at 11:58 AM ET

Paul's avatar

The only affiliation to ‘antenna’ tv would be ABC with ESPN.

Not sure how many games would be on ABC but it is just like NBCSN and NBC. 

Turner has no affiliation with broadcast TV.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/26/21 at 11:59 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I’m utterly unphased by the lack of broadcast TV support here.  I haven’t watched an over-the-air signal in over a decade, and haven’t had cable for half as long.  Streaming’s the wave of the future, dude, 100% electronic.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 05/26/21 at 12:02 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Sadly it’s cable or nothing else pretty much. gulp

Posted by bigfrog on 05/26/21 at 12:19 PM ET

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Sadly it’s cable or nothing else pretty much.

Posted by bigfrog on 05/26/21 at 12:19 PM ET

Unless you have the internet. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a pretty wild place. People can ‘talk’ to each other on websites like this one, and some websites even have hockey games. Believe it or not, some of us have actually been watching hockey on it for 2+ years with a cable or nhl tv subscription.

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/26/21 at 12:32 PM ET

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And yes, I realize the people lamenting the loss of OTA hockey broadcasts probably aren’t going to be the most internet savvy, but the target demo is, and those that really care will either find a way or pay for it.

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/26/21 at 12:35 PM ET

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*WITHOUT a cable or nhl tv subscription.

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/26/21 at 12:43 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I have watched playoff games on streams when out of town before. cheese

Posted by bigfrog on 05/26/21 at 12:47 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’m utterly unphased by the lack of broadcast TV support here.  I haven’t watched an over-the-air signal in over a decade, and haven’t had cable for half as long.  Streaming’s the wave of the future, dude, 100% electronic.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 05/26/21 at 12:02 PM ET

+19.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/26/21 at 02:03 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

But do the new TV deals come with the same archaic blackout restrictions of the old? NHL TV and other services are useless if they’re geoblocked. Yes, VPN’s exist for those tech savvy enough, but those are some combination of cumbersome, poor throughput or just add an additional fee. And they come with the ever present threat of canceling your viewing subscription for violating Terms of Service.  It shouldn’t be necessary at all. Blackouts need to end.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 05/26/21 at 03:12 PM ET

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Same blackout restrictions. The issue with overturning those is that it can’t just be one big sweeping decision. Every team has their individual contracts with their RSNs, and while I certainly understand the appeal of removing the blackouts, how do you get away with breaking these contracts? It’s so complicated, I have no idea how it’s ever going to happen.

And I’ll also add that while I have found streams online over the years, and use NHL.tv a lot, I don’t want to watch these streams on my laptop or whatever. I got a nice big fancy TV with the primary intent of watching hockey on it and the games looking great, and they do—especially the NHL.tv streams this year (I hope that doesn’t change as things are migrated over to ESPN+).

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 05/26/21 at 05:58 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

“analyst Eddie Olczyk will call live games for Turner Sports” a.k.a. the B-channel.  I’m okay with that.  Hopefully ESPN makes better hiring choices.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 05/26/21 at 07:46 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

I hope Ted Turner is ready to throw his hands up toward the crossbar or deliver some of the subtle interference the Red Wings perfected.

Every game.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 05/26/21 at 08:16 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Streaming may well be the future but there are limitations. My satellite Internet (Hughes) is capped at 50 gigs a month. I can purchase more data tokens but it’s expensive. 50 gigs is hardly enough for the better half and I to read e-mails surf the web and watch an occasional video. Direct TV keeps reminding me I get HBO Max for free. Doesn’t mean a thing when you have a cap on data.

Posted by calquake from Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst on 05/26/21 at 08:31 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I hope Ted Turner is ready to throw his hands up toward the crossbar or deliver some of the subtle interference the Red Wings perfected.

Every game.

You can count on it. gulp

Posted by bigfrog on 05/26/21 at 09:08 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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