NHL News: Turner Sports Bolsters NHL Game and Studio Commentator Team

Turner Sports NHL Studio Team to Feature Collection of Accomplished Analysts Including “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, Anson Carter, Rick Tocchet and Paul Bissonnette, Alongside Host Liam McHugh

Brendan Burke and Darren Pang Added as Commentator Team, Working in Tandem with Previously Announced Pairing of Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk

Keith Jones to Provide Ice-Level Analysis, with Jennifer Botterill, Tarik El-Bashir and Jackie Redmond as Contributors; Andrew ‘Nasher’ Telfer to Become Key Creator for Bleacher Report’s New ‘Open Ice’ Content Vertical

Turner Sports has assembled a deep roster of esteemed analysts, commentators and reporters in the run up to its inaugural NHL season, which is set to begin Wednesday, Oct. 13, on TNT with a doubleheader featuring the New York Rangers at the Washington Capitals at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks at the Colorado Avalanche at 10 p.m.

Turner Sports previously announced its game commentary team of Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk. They will be joined by Brendan Burke, who will provide play-by-play throughout the season alongside analyst Darren PangKeith Jones will provide ice-level analysis for NHL games on TNT, with Jennifer BotterillJackie Redmond and Tarik El-Bashir contributing to telecasts.

Turner Sports’ NHL studio coverage will be hosted by Liam McHugh, alongside a collection of analysts including “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, 10-year NHL veteran Anson Carter, three-time Stanley Cup Champion Rick Tocchet and hockey personality and former AHL & NHL veteran Paul Bissonnette.

This veteran group of announcers, analysts and reporters bring a wealth of on-ice experience and achievements to Turner Sports’ NHL coverage including eight Stanley Cups, four Olympic medals, 11 World Championship medals, more than 5,200 pro hockey regular season games played, and more than 5,400 regular season career points.

Additionally, Bleacher Report has tapped Andrew ‘Nasher’ Telfer, one of the preeminent hockey content creators in the world, to be a key component of the brand’s NHL content strategy. Nasher, as he is more commonly known through his popular hockey-based Twitch and YouTube channels, will star in a series of interactive mid and long-form content offerings for B/R’s new NHL-specific content vertical, ‘Open Ice’, leveraging B/R’s access to NHL rights for creative across B/R and House of Highlights social channels and live streams within the B/R App.

Turner Sports’ 2021-22 Regular Season NHL Coverage

Turner Sports will drop the puck for its first-ever live NHL regular season action on Wednesday, Oct. 13, with a TNT prime time doubleheader beginning with the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals meeting for the first time since their hotly contested two-game series last May. Later in the night, the Chicago Blackhawks – with nine-time NHL All-Star Patrick Kane and the anticipated return of Jonathan Toews – will visit the Colorado Avalanche, led by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

The following week, TNT’s doubleheader coverage will continue with a pair of Eastern and Western Conference showdowns starting with the Philadelphia Flyers hosting the Boston Bruins, followed by the St. Louis Blues visiting the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Later this season, the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic on TNT will showcase the Blues against the Minnesota Wild at Target Field – home of the Minnesota Twins – on Saturday, Jan. 1. The marquee event continues the tradition first established in 2008 of hosting regular season outdoor games at the start of the New Year.

Announced earlier this year, 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.

About Turner Sports 

Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia, is an industry leader in the delivery of premium sports content across all platforms, widely recognized for its expansive partnerships with the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and the National Hockey League. The Turner Sports portfolio also includes Bleacher Report, the #1 digital destination for young sports fans driving engagement and video views across all social platforms and the B/R app, with premier brands including House of Highlights, B/R Football, B/R Gridiron, B/R Kicks, B/R Betting, B/R Walk-Off, and B/R Gaming. Turner Sports co-manages NBA Digital – comprised of NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE Pass, the NBA App and NBAGLEAGUE.com – as well as NCAA.com and the NCAA March Madness Live suite of products. Visit the Turner Sports online pressroom for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR. 

Turner Sports NHL Play-by-Play Commentators & Hosts

Kenny Albert, Turner Sports NHL Play-by-Play Announcer

Albert will bring his more than 30 years in sports broadcasting to Turner Sports as 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.

Brendan Burke, Turner Sports NHL Play-by-Play Announcer

Burke currently serves as the play-by-play voice for New York Islanders telecasts on MSG+, and most recently provided play-by-play commentary for NBC Sports’ regular- and post-season NHL and Premier Lacrosse League coverage. He was also part of the coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and college basketball for the network. Burke served as the play-by-play commentator for the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League from 2013-2016 and was honored with the league’s James H. Ellery Award for “outstanding media coverage” in 2015. He was also part of the broadcast team for the AHL All-Star Classic from 2015-2019. Prior to joining MSG Networks, Burke previously called some action in the NHL, serving as fill-in radio play-by-play announcer on KMOX for the St. Louis Blues. From 2008-2013, Burke handled the play-by-play for the Peoria (IL) Rivermen of the AHL. He got his start in professional hockey with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers (WV) where he was named ECHL Broadcaster of the Year for the 2007-08 season.

Liam McHugh, Turner Sports NHL Studio Host

McHugh will anchor Turner Sports’ NHL studio team, having hosted some of the most high-profile properties and events in sports. He most recently served as lead studio host for NBC’s pre- and post-game studio show for its NHL telecasts throughout the regular-season, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final. McHugh also served as on-site host for the network’s Football Night in America, and co-host of NBC’s Super Bowl LII pre-game show. He has also contributed to coverage across four Winter and Summer Olympics. McHugh began his career as a reporter for Newsday in New York. In 2004, he stepped in front of the camera for the first time as a Sports Anchor for WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana and then served as the Sports Anchor for KOKH in Oklahoma City from 2007-2009 before joining VERSUS in 2010, where he demonstrated his talent and versatility by hosting numerous studio shows and live events for nearly every major sporting event that aired on the network. McHugh was also a contributing writer and reporter for ESPN the Magazine for several years.

Turner Sports NHL Analysts and Reporters

Paul Bissonnette, Turner Sports NHL Studio Analyst

Bissonnette spent 12 years in professional hockey across the ECHL, AHL and the NHL, including five years with the then Phoenix Coyotes. Bissonnette joined the Arizona Coyotes in the radio booth in September 2017, where he continues to contribute, as well as producing digital media content for the team’s website and social media platforms. Bissonnette is also a co-host on the popular Spittin’ Chiclets podcast and produced a five-part documentary series in 2018, Biznasty Does B.C.

Jennifer Botterill, Turner Sports NHL Reporter

Botterill is one of the most decorated Olympians in Women’s Hockey history, playing a crucial role in Canada’s three consecutive golds after claiming silver in Nagano in 1998. She is also one of only two players to be named MVP of two different World Championships (2001, 2004) en route to winning eight total medals throughout her career (five gold, three silver). Botterill was also a standout in her college career at Harvard University, becoming the only person to be win the Patty Kazmaier Award twice (2001–02 & 2002–03), given to the top female college ice hockey player. Following her college career, she played in the NWHL and Canadian Women’s Hockey League, retiring as the latter’s second-higher scorer. Botterill has successfully transitioned to a career in broadcasting, starting out in 2011 with TSN covering the Women’s World Championships before moving to CBC to cover the 2014 Sochi Games and co-hosting Sportsnet’s “Hometown Hockey”. She joined MSG Networks in 2018 for two seasons as an analyst for the network’s New York Islanders telecasts, and most recently served as an analyst for Sportsnet’s “Hockey Night in Canada”.

Anson Carter, Turner Sports NHL Studio Analyst

An 11-year NHL veteran, Carter most recently served as a studio analyst for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage during the regular season, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. In addition, Carter has been a game analyst on NBC Sports’ Notre Dame Fighting Irish college hockey coverage. Over the course of his 11 NHL seasons, Carter played in 674 games, scoring 202 goals and registering 219 assists with the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes.

Tarik El-Bashir, Turner Sports NHL Reporter

A native Washingtonian, El-Bashir has spent more than 25 years contributing in-depth news, analysis and features covering the city’s teams. Most recently, he joined The Athletic, starting out covering the Washington Football Team before transitioning to reporting on the Washington Capitals. Prior to that, he was the Capitals Insider for NBC Sports Washington, after covering football there for four seasons starting in 2012. He also regularly contributed to CSN’s coverage of the team during game days and studio programming. A Howard University graduate, El-Bashir spent 13 years in The Washington Post’s sports department covering high school sports before becoming the paper’s Capitals beat writer and then the Georgetown University men’s basketball beat writer. He started his career at The New York Times, where he covered the New York Islanders for two years.

Wayne Gretzky, Turner Sports NHL Studio Analyst

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.

Keith Jones, Turner Sports NHL Game Analyst

Jones brings more than 35 years in hockey, first as a player and now as an NHL analyst, to Turner Sports. He most recently served as a studio analyst for NBC’s NHL coverage, and he currently provides color commentary for NBC Sports Philadelphia’s coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jones also contributes to the sports radio 610 WIP-FM weekday Morning Show. Over the course of his nine NHL seasons from 1992 through 2000, Jones played in 491 games, scoring 117 goals and adding 148 assists with the Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers.

Eddie Olczyk, Turner Sports NHL Game Analyst

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.

Darren Pang, Turner Sports NHL Game Analyst

Pang played three NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before transitioning his career into broadcasting, becoming one of the premier announcers in hockey. He currently is the game analyst on St. Louis Blues telecasts on Bally’s Sports Midwest and has also provided commentary for FS1 and national NHL telecasts on NBC and Canada’s TSN & Sportsnet. Before joining the Blues, Pang was the color commentator for the Phoenix Coyotes, and was the lead analyst for ESPN and ABC’s hockey coverage. He has broadcast more than 95 Stanley Cup Finals games, the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and worked as an analyst for three Winter Olympics.

Jackie Redmond, Turner Sports NHL Reporter

Redmond will be rinkside reporter for Turner Sports’ NHL games, infusing more than a decade of reporting experience into telecasts. She also currently serves as an NHL Network studio host and reporter, co-hosing NHL Now. Prior to arriving at NHL Network, Redmond spent six years as an anchor for Canada’s Sportsnet, where she hosted a variety of studio programs, including the flagship show “Sportsnet Central,” plus “Misplays of the Month,” “Plays of the Month,” and “Hockey Central Playoff Xtra.” Redmond, a London, Ontario native and lifelong hockey fan, began her professional career by winning “Gillette DRAFTED 3: The Search for Canada’s Next Sportscaster” in 2011, becoming the first female winner in the show’s history.

Rick Tocchet, Turner Sports NHL Studio Analyst

With more than 40 years of NHL playing, coaching, and broadcasting experience, Tocchet will add a unique dimension to Turner Sports’ NHL studio analysis. His impressive NHL playing resume includes more than 1,100 games played, four NHL All-Star appearances, more than 950 points, and three Stanley Cup championships (one as a player, two as an assistant coach). After retiring in 2002, he spent more than 18 years in various coaching roles across the NHL, including most recently three seasons as the Phoenix’s head coach, two seasons as Tampa Bay’s head coach and winning two Stanley Cups as an assistant with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017. 


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