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NHL ABC

NHL on ABC is the branding formerly used for broadcasts of NHL games televised on ABC in the United States.

The network first broadcast NHL games during the 1992–93 season under a time-buy agreement with ESPN; ABC resumed regular season game telecasts on February 6, 2000 as part of a joint contract with ESPN that also gave ABC the rights to select games from each round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Before 1992–93 Edit

After being dropped by NBC after the 1974–75 season, the NHL did not maintain a national television contract in the United States. In response to this, the league put together a network of independent stations covering approximately 55% of the country.

Games that typically aired on Monday nights (beginning at 8 p.m. ET) or Saturday afternoons. The package was offered to local stations without a rights fee. The profits would instead be derived from the advertising, which was about evenly split between the network and the local station The Monday night games were often billed as "The NHL Game of the Week". Viewers in New York City, Buffalo, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Los Angeles received the Game of the Week on a different station than their local team's games. Therefore, whenever a team had a "home" game, NHL Network aired the home team's broadcast rather than their own. Initially, the Monday Night package was marketed to ABC affiliates; the idea being that ABC carried NFL football games on Monday Nights in the fall and (starting in May 1976) Major League Baseball games on Monday nights in the spring and summer, stations would want the hockey telecasts to create a year-round Monday night sports block; however, very few ABC stations chose to pick up the package.

In 1979, ABC was contracted to televise Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Since the Finals ended in 5 games, the contract was void.

ABC Radio Coverage Edit

In 1989, the NHL signed a 2-year contract (lasting through the 1990–91 season) with ABC Radio for the broadcast rights to NHL All-Star Game and Stanley Cup Finals. ABC Radio named Sam Rosen and Phil Esposito as their main commentating crew.

Time-buy deal with ESPN (1992–1994)Edit

In the 1992–93 and 1993–94 NHL seasons, ABC televised 6 weekly regional telecasts on Sunday afternoons beginning in March (or the last 3 Sundays of the regular season). This marked the first time that regular season NHL games were broadcast on American network television since 1974–75 (when NBC was the NHL's American broadcast television partner). ABC then televise 3 weeks worth of playoff games (or the first three Sundays of the playoffs). The network did not televise the Stanley Cup Finals, which instead, were televised nationally by ESPN and by Prime Ticket in Los Angeles (in 1993) and MSG Network in New York (in 1994). Games televised on ABC were not subject to blackout.

These broadcasts (just as was the case with the 1999–2004 package) were essentially, time-buys by ESPN. In other words, ABC would sell 3-hour blocks of airtime to ESPN, which in return, would produce, supply broadcasters and sell advertising. The main difference is that the graphics used for the telecasts were those used by ABC Sports, instead of the ones seen on ESPN National Hockey Night. In later years, the roles would be reversed as ESPN's graphical style would be used on the broadcasts with the exception of intermission reports. ABC even used ESPN's theme music for the 1992–1994 coverage. During ABC's next stint with the NHL, the network used its own theme music.

Overall, ABC averaged a 1.7 rating for those two seasons.

When the NHL television contract went up for negotiation in early 1994, Fox (which was in the process of launching its sports division after acquiring the rights to the NFC of the NFL) and CBS (which was hoping to land a major sports contract to replace the NFL rights that they lost to Fox and Major League Baseball rights that they lost to ABC and NBC) competed heavily for the package. On September 9, 1994, the NHL reached a 5-year, US$155 million contract with Fox for the broadcast television rights to the league's games, beginning with the 1994–95 season, effectively ending ABC's time-buy deal with ESPN after just two seasons.

The NHL returns to ABC (1999–2004)Edit

In August of 1998, ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC signed a 5-year television deal with the NHL, worth a total of approximately $600,000,000 (or $120,000,000 per year). The $120,000,000/year that ABC and ESPN paid for rights dwarfed the $5,500,000 that the NHL received from American national broadcasts in the 1991–92 season. As previously mentioned, like with the 1992–1994 deal, ABC's subsequent NHL coverage was in reality, made up of time–buys from ESPN. This was noted in copyright beds at the conclusion of the telecasts, i.e. "The preceding program has been paid for by ESPN, Inc." ESPN then signed a similar television rights contract in 2002 so it could produce and broadcast NBA games on ABC.

This time around, ABC televised 4-5 weeks worth of regional games on Saturday afternoons beginning in January. ABC also televised the NHL All-Star Game and Games 3–7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in prime time. In the league's previous broadcast television deal with FOX, the network split coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals with ESPN. FOX usually scheduled to televise Games 1, 5, and 7, and Games 2, 3, 4 and 6 on ESPN. However, from 1995 to 1998, the Finals were all 4 game sweeps; 1999 ended in 6 games. The consequence was that (except for 1995, when FOX did televise Game 4), the decisive game 7 was never on network television.

2003 was the only year that ABC broadcast both the NBA and the Stanley Cup Finals that involved teams from one city in the same year as both the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey Devils were in their respective league's finals. During ABC's broadcast of Game 3 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Nets in New Jersey on June 8, Brad Nessler, Tom Tolbert and Bill Walton said that ABC was in a unique situation getting ready for both that game and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Devils and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim the following night, also at Continental Airlines Arena. Gary Thorne, Bill Clement and John Davidson mentioned this the following night, and thanked Nessler, Tolbert and Walton for promoting ABC's broadcast of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Following the 2003–04 season, ESPN was only willing to renew its contract for two additional years at $60 million per year. ABC refused to televise the Stanley Cup Finals in prime time, suggesting that the Finals games would telecast be played on weekend afternoons (including a potential Game 7). Disney executives later conceded that they overpaid for the 1999–2004 deal, so the company's offer to renew the television rights was lower in 2004.

Schedules Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern)
March 27 Boston at Washington
Detroit at Chicago
New York Rangers at Winnipeg
Los Angeles at Vancouver
1 p.m.

2 p.m.

2 p.m.

3 p.m.

April 3 Boston at Pittsburgh
Dallas at Washington
St. Louis at Detroit
Edmonton at Los Angeles
1 p.m.

1 p.m.

1 p.m.

4 p.m.

April 10 New York Rangers vs New York Islanders

Boston at Philadelphia
Los Angeles at Chicago
Dallas at St. Louis

1 p.m.

1 p.m.

1 p.m.

1 p.m.

April 17, 24, May 1: Playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoffs commentator crews Edit

1993 Edit

Round Series Games covered Play-by-play Color commentators
Division semifinals Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey Games 1, 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement
Chicago vs. St. Louis Games 1, 4 Mike Emrick Jim Schoenfeld
Calgary vs. Los Angeles Games 1, 4 Al Michaels John Davidson
Division finals Pittsburgh vs. New York Islanders Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement
Toronto vs. St. Louis Game 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement
Vancouver vs. Los Angeles Game 1 Mike Emrick John Davidson
Conference finals Montreal vs. New York Islanders Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement

1994 Edit

Round Series Games covered Play-by-play Color commentators Ice Level Reporters
Conference quarterfinals New York Rangers vs New York Islanders Games 1, 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Al Morganti
Dallas vs St. Louis Games 1, 4 Tom Mees Darren Pang (Game 1)
John Davidson (Game 4)
Bob Neumeier (Game 1)
Conference semifinals New Jersey vs Boston Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Al Morganti

Announcers Edit

Studio HostsEdit

Broadcast teams Edit

1992-93 Edit

  1. Gary Thorne-Bill Clement
  2. Mike Emrick-Jim Schoenfeld/John Davidson
  3. Al Michaels-John Davidson

1993-94 Edit

  1. Gary Thorne-Bill Clement
  2. Tom Mees-Darren Pang
  3. Bob Miller or Sam Rosen-John Davidson

Reporters Edit

  • Al Morganti
  • Tom Mees
  • Bob Neumeier

Schedules Edit

1999-2000 Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator Crews
March 18 Pittsburgh at Boston
New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Dallas at Chicago
Detroit at Colorado
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
March 26 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
New York Rangers at Detroit
St. Louis at Chicago
Colorado at Dallas
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
April 1 New York Rangers at Boston
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Detroit at St. Louis
Anaheim at Los Angeles
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
6 p.m.
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
April 9 Philadelphia at New York Rangers
St. Louis at Chicago
Phoenix at Dallas
Detroit at Colorado
Los Angeles at Anaheim
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Dave Ryan and Joe Micheletti

2000-01 Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator crews
March 10 New Jersey at Philadelphia
Detroit at St. Louis
Colorado at Dallas
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 17 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Detroit at Colorado
San Jose at Los Angeles
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
March 24 Detroit at New York Rangers
Colorado at Boston
Anaheim at Los Angeles
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
6 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 31 New York Rangers at New Jersey
Detroit at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Pittsburgh
Colorado at Los Angeles
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld
April 7 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
Colorado at Detroit
Dallas at San Jose
New York Rangers at Florida
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Dave Strader and Jim Schoenfeld

2001-02 Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator Crews
January 5 Colorado at Detroit
Pittsburgh at New York Rangers
Washington at Boston
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
January 12 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Pittsburgh
Dallas at Detroit
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 2 Philadelphia at New York Rangers
Detroit at Pittsburgh
Dallas at Colorado
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
March 9 New York Rangers at Pittsburgh
Detroit at St. Louis
Los Angeles at Colorado
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 16 Detroit at Boston
New York Rangers at New Jersey
Colorado at Philadelphia
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang

2002-03 Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator Crews
January 11 Colorado at Dallas
New York Rangers at Pittsburgh
Detroit at Philadelphia
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Mike Emrick and Barry Melrose
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
February 8 Pittsburgh at Boston
Detroit at Colorado
New York Rangers at Philadelphia
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
March 15 New York Rangers at New Jersey
Colorado at Detroit
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 22 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Chicago at Colorado
Detroit at St. Louis
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
March 29 Detroit at St. Louis
New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Phoenix at Colorado
1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
6 p.m.
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom

2003-04 Edit

Date Teams Start times (All times Eastern) Commentator crews
January 10 Detroit at Boston
Colorado at Dallas
New York Rangers at New York Islanders
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
1 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
February 14 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Colorado at Detroit
Boston at Chicago
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
March 13 Dallas at Detroit
New Jersey at Philadelphia
Los Angeles at San Jose
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom
March 20 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Dallas
3 p.m.
3 p.m.
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
March 27 New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Colorado at Detroit
Los Angeles at Calgary
1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
6 p.m.
Steve Levy and Darren Pang
Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson
Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2000-2004 Edit

Year Round Teams Games Play-by-play Color commentators Ice level reporters
2000 First Round Washington-Pittsburgh Game 2 Mike Emrick Barry Melrose Joe Micheletti
St. Louis-San Jose Games 2, 6 Dave Strader (Game 2)
Gary Thorne (Game 6)
Brian Hayward (Game 2)
Bill Clement (Game 6)
Brian Engblom (Game 6)
Colorado-Phoenix Game 2 Steve Levy Darren Pang Daryl Reaugh
Detroit-Los Angeles Game 2 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Conference semifinals Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Games 2, 5 Steve Levy (Game 2)
Gary Thorne (Game 5)
Darren Pang (Game 2)
Bill Clement (Game 5)
Daryl Reaugh (Game 2)
Brian Engblom and Darren Pang (Game 5)
Colorado-Detroit Game 2 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Conference finals Philadelphia-New Jersey Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Dallas-Colorado Game 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
2001 First Round Washington-Pittsburgh Games 2, 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Philadelphia-Buffalo Games 2, 6 Mike Emrick Barry Melrose Joe Micheletti
Detroit-Los Angeles Games 2, 5 Steve Levy Darren Pang Mickey Redmond
St. Louis-San Jose Games 2, 6 Dave Strader Jim Schoenfeld Christine Simpson
Conference semifinals Buffalo-Pittsburgh Games 2, 5 Steve Levy (Game 2)
Gary Thorne (Game 5)
Darren Pang (Game 2)
Bill Clement (Game 5)
Joe Micheletti (Game 2)
Brian Engblom (Game 5)
Colorado-Los Angeles Game 2 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Conference finals New Jersey-Pittsburgh Game 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Colorado-St. Louis Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
2002 First Round Boston-Montreal Game 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Carolina-New Jersey Game 6 Mike Emrick Barry Melrose Christine Simpson
Toronto-New York Islanders Game 2 Mike Emrick Barry Melrose Christine Simpson
Colorado-Los Angeles Games 2, 6 Gary Thorne (Game 2)
Steve Levy (Game 6)
Bill Clement (Game 2)
Darren Pang (Game 6)
Brian Engblom (Game 2)
Joe Micheletti (Game 6)
San Jose-Phoenix Game 2 Dave Strader Jim Schoenfeld Tony Granato
St. Louis-Chicago Game 2 Steve Levy Darren Pang Joe Micheletti
Conference semifinals Detroit-St. Louis Games 2, 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
Colorado-San Jose Games 2, 5 Steve Levy Darren Pang Joe Micheletti
Conference finals Detroit-Colorado Games 1, 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement Brian Engblom
2003 First Round Tampa Bay-Washington Game 2 Mike Emrick Brian Engblom
Philadelphia-Toronto Game 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson Christine Simpson
Detroit-Anaheim Game 2 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson Christine Simpson
Colorado-Minnesota Games 2, 5 Steve Levy Darren Pang
Conference semifinals Ottawa-Philadelphia Game 5 Steve Levy Darren Pang Joe Micheletti
New Jersey-Tampa Bay Game 2 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson Christine Simpson
Dallas-Anaheim Games 2, 5 Steve Levy (Game 2)
Gary Thorne (Game 5)
Darren Pang (Game 2)
Bill Clement and John Davidson (Game 5)
Joe Micheletti (Game 2)
Christine Simpson (Game 5)
Conference finals Ottawa-New Jersey Game 4 Steve Levy Darren Pang and John Davidson Joe Micheletti
Minnesota-Anaheim Game 1 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson Brian Engblom
2004 First Round Tampa Bay-New York Islanders Game 2 Steve Levy Darren Pang Erin Andrews
Philadelphia-New Jersey Game 5 Steve Levy Darren Pang Erin Andrews
Detroit-Nashville Games 2, 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson
San Jose-St. Louis Game 2 Mike Emrick Brian Engblom
Colorado-Dallas Game 5 Mike Emrick Brian Engblom
Conference semifinals Detroit-Calgary Games 2, 5 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson
San Jose-Colorado Games 2, 5 Mike Emrick (Game 2)
Steve Levy (Game 5)
Darren Pang Erin Andrews
Conference finals Tampa Bay-Philadelphia Games 1, 4 Gary Thorne Bill Clement and John Davidson Sam Ryan (Game 1)
Joe Micheletti (Game 4)

Studio personalities Edit

Stanley Cup Finals hosts Edit

Broadcast teams Edit

  1. Gary Thorne-Bill Clement-John Davidson
  2. Steve Levy-Darren Pang
  3. Mike Emrick-Barry Melrose/Brian Engblom
  4. Dave Strader-Jim Schoenfeld
  5. Dave Ryan-Joe Micheletti

Reporters Edit

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