ESPN Boosts Presence at the Frozen Four; Continues More than Quarter Century Tradition of Covering College Hockey’s Signature Event

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ESPN Boosts Presence at the Frozen Four; Continues More than Quarter Century Tradition of Covering College Hockey’s Signature Event

  • Comprehensive, On-Site Studio Coverage and New Camera Technology among Production Elements for Semifinals (April 11) and Championship (April 13)

  • John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, and Quint Kessenich Return for Seventh Frozen Four; Colby Cohen Makes his Frozen Four Debut Broadcasting Debut

  • Fans Invited to Meet, Talk #CawlidgeHawkey with Buccigross, Melrose, and Special Guests at Friday Night Event

  • Defending Champion Minnesota-Duluth Returns; Denver, Massachusetts, and Providence Complete Field

ESPN will present the Frozen Four in its entirety, continuing a more than quarter century tradition of covering the final games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. The Frozen Four Semifinals will feature Providence vs. No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth (5 p.m. ET) followed by Denver University vs. No. 4 Massachusetts (8:30 p.m.) on Thursday, April 11, with the two winners playing in the Championship on Saturday, April 13 (8 p.m.).  All three games will be on ESPN2 and available on the ESPN app.

ESPN will boost its presence at the Frozen Four this season and once again deploy production resources that rival any hockey telecast in the industry. All intermission and between-game studio shows will take place from inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo both days. ESPN will utilize more than 15 cameras, including the state-of-the-art All-Cam, for each of the three games and have more than 16 mics stationed around the arena, capturing the sounds on the ice and in the crowd.  Once again this year, ESPN3 will also provide a complementary view to the traditional telecast.

John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, Quint Kessenich Call Seventh Frozen Four; Colby Cohen Makes Debut
ESPN’s John Buccigross and Barry Melrose will call their seventh Frozen Four together in the booth, having first debuted as a pair in 2013. Quint Kessenich, who has been with the duo each year, returns as a reporter. New this year, Colby Cohen will serve as an analyst, positioned on ice level between the benches.  The crew worked the Northeast regional during the tournament’s first weekend of action.

Buccigross is a popular SportsCenter anchor who has developed a passionate hockey following through his consistent cawlidge hawkey dialogue and #bucciovertimechallenge  on Twitter. Melrose, who has been with ESPN for 22 years, played 11 seasons in the NHL before leading the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals as head coach. Kessenich is a versatile reporter for ESPN, working college football sidelines in the fall, NCAA Championships in the winter and lacrosse in the spring, where he is an analyst. Cohen scored the game-winning goal in the 2009 Frozen Four National Championship and was named most outstanding player of the tournament as a member of Boston University.

Sean Ritchlin, a two-time national champion with Michigan, and Dave Starman, a college hockey analyst for more than 15 years, will be the analysts for the on-location studio coverage from inside the arena. John Brickley will host each of the segments

ESPN to Utilize All-Cam for First Time at Frozen Four; ESPN3 Offers Complementary Vantage Point
ESPN’s innovation will be part of the Frozen Four production, as the main telecast will utilize All-Cam and ESPN3 will have its surround feed once again.  All-Cam was activated for the ESPN’s College Football Playoff National Championship telecast this year and its function is to capture the entire ice surface at all times, allowing for precise replays of any event that may have happened on the ice, both near the puck and away from it. ESPN will also have an array of cameras throughout the arena, including two overhead cameras above each goal.

ESPN3 will have a complementary production of all three games, with a streaming vantage point from ice level, via three robotic cameras placed on the glass, accompanied by the natural sound inside the arena.

Additional ESPN Elements:

  • ESPN’s Classic NHL Music: The popular theme music which accompanied ESPN NHL telecasts will be used once again.
  • Trophy Presentation: ESPN3 streams the trophy presentation following the Frozen Four Championship game.
  • Join the Conversation: Fans can follow and participate in the conversation on Twitter through #FrozenFourand the @NCAAIceHockey.

Denver Seeks Record-Tying Ninth Championship, Massachusetts its First among Storylines

  • The Bulldogs: Minnesota-Duluth is looking to become the sport’s first back-to-back champion since Denver completed the feat in 2004 and 2005, Overall, it would be the school’s third hockey national championship. The Bulldogs advanced to Buffalo out of the Midwest region.
  • The Friars: Providence returns to the Frozen Four for the first time since 2015, when they defeated Boston University in the championship game to capture their first hockey title. The Friars advanced to the Frozen Four out of the East Region.
  • The Minutemen: Massachusetts makes it first ever trip to the Frozen Four, adding to a season which saw the team win the Hockey East regular season championship and qualify for the post season for just the second time. The Minutemen advanced to Buffalo out of the Northeast region.
  • The Pioneers: Denver returns to the Frozen Four for the third time in four years, having captured their eighth national championship in 2017. A win this year would tie the school with Michigan for the most ever hockey national championships. The Pioneers advanced to the Frozen Four out of the West region.

The complete Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket is here.

Fans Come Meet, Talk #CawlidgeHawkey with John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, and Special Guests
For the fifth consecutive year, ESPN will host a Frozen Four and #CawlidgeHawkey fan gathering on Friday, April 12, at (716) Food and Sport  — 7 Scott Street, Buffalo —  with John Buccigross and Barry Melrose. The one-hour session (6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.) with ESPN’s Frozen Four commentators is free of charge to the public and will feature a Q&A session, picture and autograph opportunities along with numerous giveaways. Specials guests will also be interviewed, including the Mike Richter Award winner and potentially head coaches from the following night’s championship game.

Media are also encouraged to attend and can reach out to Derek Volner at ESPN for more details.  ([email protected]). The audio of the event will be streamed live on

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thur, April 11 5 p.m. Frozen Four Semifinal:
Providence vs. No. 4 Minnesota – Duluth
  8:30 p.m. Frozen Four Semifinal:
Denver vs. No. 2 Massachusetts
Sat, April 13 8 p.m. Frozen Four National Championship:
Frozen Four Championship Game



Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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