Kelly Backus / ESPN Images
Leah Hextall is a play-by-play commentator for NHL coverage on ESPN. Hextall joined the ESPN broadcast team in 2021, where she serves as a commentator for select NHL games.
The first woman to call play by play for a nationally televised NHL game, Hextall did so as part of Sportsnet’s first all-female broadcast team in March 2020. She had previously made history as the first woman to call an NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship game for ESPN in 2019.
A native of Brandon, Manitoba, Hextall graduated from the Columbia Academy of Radio, Television and Recording Arts in Vancouver in 2003. She worked for CTV Winnipeg from 2005 to 2012 and for NESN as host of NESN Today from 2012-14. In 2014, Hextall joined Sportsnet as the studio host and reporter for Hockey Night in Canada. In 2016, Hextall pursued a career in hockey play-by-play, making her debut calling the Canadian Women’s Hockey League games in 2018.
Hextall is part of a hockey lineage that begins with her grandfather, Bryan Hextall who is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition, her cousin Ron was a goalie with the Philadelphia Flyers and currently serves as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, while her uncles’, Bryan and Dennis, NHL playing careers combined for more than 20 seasons.