Transcript: 2023-24 NHL Opening Night Preview Media Conference Call


Transcript: 2023-24 NHL Opening Night Preview Media Conference Call

ESPN Commentators John Buccigross, Ray Ferraro, Emily Kaplan and Linda Schulz, Coordinating Producer

Today, ESPN NHL commentators John Buccigross, Ray Ferraro, Emily Kaplan and coordinating producer Linda Schulz were joined by media for a preview discussion on the upcoming 2023-24 NHL Season and Opening Night tripleheader, which begins Tuesday, October 10, at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

ESPN’s NHL studio show, The Point, will premiere at 5 p.m. ET, ahead of the season-opening tripleheader.


THE MODERATOR: Thank you all for joining us today as we’re excited to have the entirety of the season’s NHL opening night exclusively on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning with the season opener 5:30 p.m. ET with Nashville Predators versus Tampa Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks versus Pittsburgh Penguins and closing out the evening with Seattle Kraken versus Vegas Golden Knights. It goes without saying, we’re also looking forward to concluding the season with the Stanley Cup Final back on ABC and ESPN+.

Today we have Ray Ferraro, Emily Kaplan, John Buccigross, and Linda Schulz here to discuss the upcoming season. We did also want to mention that Sean McDonough, having recently been assigned to the Rangers-Rays Wild Card series beginning in about an hour, may not be able to join us but may pop in if time permits.

We’ll get a few opening thoughts from this group. With opening night one week away, what storylines are you most excited about and looking forward to, and Linda, what are you thinking from a production point of view?

LINDA SCHULZ: Yeah, thank you. Big picture, I think that we’re excited about what all hockey fans are excited about, which is that we’re actually going to start playing hockey soon instead of talking about playing hockey.

You mentioned opening night, and the fact is that we’ve got the exclusive triple header. The lineup is great. Like the fact that at 5:30 there’s a happy hour in Tampa, and Tampa is totally embracing the fact that they’re having early hockey, and so we’re looking forward to that.

Chicago-Pitt, this is going to be great. Connor Bedard hitting the scene against his hero, Sidney Crosby, is just fantastic, and then a banner-raising ceremony to cap this off in Vegas against the Kraken, which is just incredibly fun.

Yeah, opening night we’re definitely excited about. We’ve got several — and I won’t get into it now unless someone decides to ask me about it, and I’m more than happy to talk about the tentpole events throughout the season. But I think one thing I wanted to say, I personally am excited about the fact that the first year that hockey, NHL came back to ESPN, we were focused really carefully on documentation. The second year, we knew we had that, so we were able to relax and bring the levity into it.

Now we’ve got both of those combined, and we’re just off to this point where we’re in such a good position. And I’m going to say something that — I thought about this ahead of time –  sounds a little bit canned, but it’s truly not. Everyone on this call and others that work hockey, NHL specifically for ESPN, are hockey fans.

Some of the folks behind the camera were working the games back when hockey had — what is it, 19 years ago, something like that? And some were hockey fans but had never had the opportunity to work on NHL. We truly serve the fan on NHL specifically because we are hockey fans.

I feel like after two years of doing this, that on this third year we’re really going to be able to embrace it. Again, if there’s any specific questions about our documentation, our coverage, our content, I help oversee that on the production side, so please feel free to reach out about those questions.

In terms of big picture player team thoughts, I toss it over to my colleagues. Bucci?

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: Well, hello. Great to be a part of the call today. And yeah, I think as I think about this upcoming season, especially next week with Connor Bedard, the first overall pick, Ray and Sean will be in Pittsburgh for that game. I’ll be in Tampa Bay with Weekes and Callahan for Tampa Bay-Nashville. It really is that combination of the old and the new. And the NHL is in a real sweet spot, I think. The league continually gets new, young, exciting players every year. We’ve seen it the last five, six, seven years. Matthews and then what Trevor Zegras has done, especially digitally, how popular and how massive he is, how much of a game changer he is.

On the digital front with young people, and now again we mention Connor Bedard. He’ll play his first two games on national TV, ESPN against the Penguins; TNT against the Bruins. Just a real smart, great way to introduce him to the hockey fan in the first week of the season. Really have that influx — continually that influx as we produce great young hockey players around the world.

And then we have that old guard, really specifically Crosby and Malkin. Ovechkin is 73 goals away from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record. You give him 40 this year, he’s going to get it next year. He would need 33. That’s something we can track and talk about in Washington and obviously for his broadcast.

And then Crosby obviously can get that one more Cup. The Penguins are an interesting team going for it this year with Erik Karlsson. An older team, I’m not sure if it’s going to work but they’re giving it a shot to try to get Crosby that one more Cup.

I look at the old and the new. Obviously, the hockey fan, old-time hockey, they have a nostalgic kind of bent to them. But the newness of it and the young demographic of the men and women who love the sport and these interesting young men from around the world who produce that excitement makes it a real interesting time. Plus, with a lot of goals. I don’t see a lot of strong goalies out there, so I don’t know if you agree, Ray, but I think it’s going to be another record-breaking offensive year.

RAY FERRARO: Well, I hope so. I love goals. You know I do. The less defense the better. I just love the way that the game has changed into the point where if you have skill, like a youngster like Connor Bedard coming into the league or Jack Hughes or Trevor Zegras, you’re allowed — not allowed, you’re able to play the style of the game that you need to play and you can play.

In the past, quite some time ago, we just got smothered. There was nowhere to go.

To your point about that, the newness of the game, the change of the game, the change of the guard, it’s not just the individuals, it’s the teams. Like there are three teams in the Eastern Conference that are banging on the playoff door, and once they get in, everything is going to change.

Now, New Jersey did it last year, and this year it’s Buffalo, Detroit, and Ottawa. Those teams are ready to make a dent in the Playoffs. If they get in, somebody is dropping out, and the teams that are dropping out are probably in a little bit of a reset mode when they do.

I’m looking forward to that. All that great talent in Ottawa is so fun to watch. The Buffalo Sabres were this close last year to making the Playoffs, and I think they’re going to get in this year.

We’ve got that opening night game with Emily and Sean, and I believe Richardson and Mike Sullivan, the two coaches, can lose the strategy for like two seconds and let Bedard and Crosby face off on the first drop. I would love to see that. I just think it’s an amazing image of a brilliant star in Crosby and the next brilliance in Bedard.

Then in the west for me, on the David and Goliath side, I push the Oilers past Vegas because they just got 19 guys come in. When I watched them last year between the benches, I was like, these guys are like a football team. They’re enormous. They’ve got one small player, and he won the Conn Smythe, and that’s Jonathan Marchessault. To me the west is going to be a beast, and the east is going to be about change.

I’m looking forward to Connor Bedard and all of that. Emily, what about you?

EMILY KAPLAN: Yeah, just from a high level, I don’t know if the game has ever been in a more dynamic place. It is just so fast, there’s so much skill, and there’s really so much parity. We haven’t even mentioned the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights roster minus one player, Reilly Smith, who was traded away and the guy who was going to replace him, Paul Connor, is one of those young, dynamic players that we love to watch.

I’m just super excited for the competition. I live in Chicago. You don’t need to live in Chicago to be excited about Connor Bedard. The excitement is palpable around the league. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to wants to talk about this guy. He’s just got that “it” factor. You know it when you see it. The only other two players that I can really unequivocally say have it in the league are Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby.

So that’s the type of career we’re projecting here. He’s exceeded all expectations. I just came from Blackhawks practice yesterday talking to some of the veterans they brought in, and they’re just blown away.

For that opening night game, just touching on Bucci’s point, I think it’s the perfect encapsulation of where the league is at. And something super unique to me about hockey is you have Crosby and you have Ovechkin at the twilights of their career, and everyone in the league seems to be rooting for them. They want to see Ovechkin break the goals record on the road. I mean, Wayne Gretzky is going to get on the road with him, but his competitors want to see him too.

Tom Wilson remarked to me of how bizarre it was in Chicago last year and get that prolonged standing ovation when he got number 500. And Sidney, just the ambassador that he is for the game, but the way he carries himself off the ice, I’ve never met a player in the league who does not respect Sidney Crosby. It’s going to be really fun to track the end of their careers, and I’m excited for a great season.

Q. For Ray and Emily, regarding Connor Bedard, what kind of impact do you think he can have as a rookie? We all expect him to become this superstar soon enough, but right off the bat, a team that had a pretty rough go of it last year and being so young, what can he do for this club in his first year

RAY FERRARO: Well, I think he can change — he’ll change just about everything about them. He’ll give them a hope, an energy, a skill set that they just don’t have.

Now, it’s not going to be easy because, as you mentioned, the Hawks are — they’re not a great team. They’re on the baby steps of their rebuild and their hopeful ascent back out of the rebuild phase. But when I look at Bedard, I’m like, can he get 35 goals? Yeah, I think he can. Can he get close to a point a game? I think he can.

To my knowledge — Emily might know this or Bucci maybe — it’s that I think Crosby is the last rookie with 100 points, and that’s 18 years ago. You don’t sit — you just can’t come in — maybe you can, but historically you haven’t been able to just come in as an 18-year-old rookie. I’m talking about an 18-year-old, not somebody that comes in at 23, but an 18-year-old rookie. And I worry that the expectation is just crazy high for Connor. He’s an immense talent, and he’s going to do some pretty special things.

EMILY KAPLAN: The expectation and the hype seem too much, but if there’s anyone uniquely prepared to handle it, I do think it’s Connor Bedard. Even to say the way he talks. He’s saying things like “if I make the team.” He’s going to make the team. He’s the best player on the ice. That shows how dialed in he is, and he’s so present at the task at hand and I think that’s what’s going to make him poised for success.

I was curious what those numbers are going to look like. And, actually, this past weekend, I texted three veteran NHL players I know, three NHL pro scouts, and I said based off what you’ve seen and heard so far, what are you expecting. Not one of them predicted less than 60 points. One of the pro scouts said 35 goals and 85 points sounds really reasonable to me.

Again, I was just at Blackhawks practice. I was talking to Corey Perry, who’s been around this league, he’s played with so many players, he’s seen so many guys come in and he said you guys are all talking about his shot. And, of course, his shot is elite, but the vision that he has, the hockey IQ, some of the passes that I’ve seen him make in practice are absolutely unreal.

Like Ray says, he just changes the energy of this team. If you talk to the Blackhawks’ front office, there’s no bones about it. They’re still in a rebuild. They’re not expecting to make the Playoffs this year. The guys are hoping to surprise. That said, everyone in that locker room knows that they’re going to have a much more dynamic and entertaining team and they’re just building right now. This is the start of something great, and everyone just wants to take it for the ride.

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: Only seven rookies have reached 100 points, Ray. Ovi and Crosby did that year. That was the last time. Mario, Hawerchuk, Stastny, Selanne. And Joe Juneau is one of the seven who got 100.

RAY FERRARO: Just one thing about Bedard. I’m sure there’s more questions, so just think, Anaheim lost the lottery last year. They had the worst record in the league and the Blackhawks get Connor Bedard. When Crosby was a rookie, Anaheim was in the final two, and they lost the flip, and Crosby went to Pittsburgh, and Bobby Ryan went to Anaheim. So, it’s happened twice to the Ducks 18 years apart.

Q. You guys were just talking about Bedard, but can you guys think of a time when the Calder was more exciting? Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Logan Cooley, Devon Levi, just to name a few. Emily kind of mentioned earlier about the dynamic. How exciting is the Calder going to be in all of your minds?

RAY FERRARO: You’ve seen Fantilli more than us, but it is not as settled as Connor Bedard’s Calder trophy. That’s a damn good list of rookie players that you’ve just mentioned.

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: Auston Matthews, you mentioned Ray, what is his over/under goal total? It’s probably, like you said, around 35, maybe 38. I’m not sure what the official Vegas line is. But Matthews got 40 his rookie year, but that was a good team. That was a 100-point Maple Leaf team.

Fantilli has the potential — he won’t be on a 100-point team, but he could be on a 90-point team and he’s a center and he’s going to have better wingers and possibly a better power play. He could accumulate numbers there. He shoots and passes, plays with pace. He’s bigger and stronger than Bedard.

I just wonder when we saw that one-on-one move Bedard had the other night, when he tries that against like Erik Cernák and some of these big giant defensemen, I think they’re going to eat him up pretty good. It’s going to be interesting to see how he handles, because he’s not a McDavid skater as we know. He’s not that electric skater. He’s obviously a very good and his IQ is off the charts. Like Gretzky wasn’t a great skater either, but the best of his time.

So that’ll be interesting to see. But I think Fantilli does have a shot because of the team and he’s already shaving. Bedard is not shaving yet, so he’s an early bloomer who can shoot it and pass it, and he’s on a little bit better team, obviously, than Bedard.

EMILY KAPLAN: It’s not just the forwards. You have a player like Luke Hughes who (indiscernible) a little bit in the Playoffs. He’s going to have a regular role with the Devils. He’s a special talent, specifically what he can do offensively, and I know the Devils development staff has been working close to shore up his defensive game, too.

You look at Brandt Clark, what he did in the OHL last year, if he has a regular role in Los Angeles. So this is going to be a really hard award to vote on. I think we’re probably just going to default to probably who has the most goals and points. But there’s going to be plenty of deserving candidates.

And again, it just shows how ready these kids are to make the NHL and make an impact right away, and why I believe the league has never been in a more dynamic place.

Q. You talked a little bit about old guard. I don’t know if Tampa qualifies completely as old guard right now, but they’re trying to get back and just lost their goalie for two months. What’s the challenge this year for them to be a playoff team?

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: Yeah, exactly. I’ve been obviously going over that, and certainly you look at their age, they still have enough guys under 30. Obviously, the key players. And the players who aren’t are like 32, so it’s not like the Penguins with 36, 36, 37-year-old guys.

Brayden Point is an absolute elite guy, almost like in that Connor McDavid coming over the blue line guy. He’s a top 5, top 10 player in the league, and he gets overshadowed. So when you have that and then you have — like I said, Kucherov is just about to turn 30, Stamkos and Hedman just on the other side. But yeah, they flip their team a lot, they made some big bets. And now that Vasilevskiy is out two months, going back to Ray’s point, with these young teams coming, if they don’t build up an equity of points in those first two months, as we know, it’s hard to come from behind after Thanksgiving with three-point games.

Yeah, that’s going to be a big storyline. We’ll obviously touch on that opening night. How do you survive two months without Andre Vasilevskiy. And what did Jon Cooper and the GM do? Obviously, they can put that salary aside, but when he comes back, they have to deal with it. So, they’re not afraid to make the hard decisions, so you wonder are they going to get bold or are they going to try to make do with this goalie situation?

RAY FERRARO: I would be quite surprised if they don’t add a goalie on waivers. There’s a couple that maybe — that would be intriguing for them. Alex Lyon, who had a limited great run with Florida last year will likely be on waivers. Martin Jones most certainly will be in Toronto. You have to deal with maybe Colorado needs a goaltender, as well, because Pavel Francouz is their backup, doesn’t look like he’s going to be ready anytime soon.

I think Tampa is still a playoff team. I really do. I would be way more surprised, John, if they don’t make the Playoffs than if they do.

I look at the Eastern Conference, and I think — this may be a bit simplistic, but there’s going to be about 35 points available that Boston is not going to have from last year. Those points are going somewhere.

Maybe the team that gets the most of those points is going to be the one that jumps over the playoff line.

Q. How are you approaching opening night with not two but three games to open the season? The amount of coordination must be no small feat.

LINDA SCHULZ: I mean, we’re not new to triple headers, fortunately, so honestly, this is more opportunity than challenge, especially since it’s opening night. So, we’ve had time to plan.

I will say our opening night production for our Tampa game, that will start with a REMI production, meaning talent on-site and the production here in Bristol where I’m at in one of our control rooms. And I would share that that is a model that we have increased over the last two years because our ability to do a REMI production in hockey has increased, as we’ve made sure to protect the product. Because nothing is more important than making sure we can see the puck go in the net and tell that story of how that happened.

In terms of overall plans, we’ve got an incredible talent, some of which are here tonight in front of the camera, but we also have some very strong production teams that, again, it’s all their third year documenting and covering hockey, so that aspect is easy.

The other thing I would mention is with the triple header, we’ve been given the opportunity to make sure that in lead-up we will have multiple opportunities to make sure our fans are aware of the triple header coming. What I mean by that is making sure that we have opportunities on all our studio shows across our ESPN family of networks, and that includes the fact that Monday Night Football just happens to be in Vegas on Monday the day before.

So, we’re finding some opportunities there, including some of the players lighting the torch there at Allegiant Stadium, and look forward to seeing a halftime guest joining on Monday Night Football. That will soon be released.

Q. What are the Golden Knights’ chances of repeating as champions?

RAY FERRARO: As far as repeating, I think it’s incredibly difficult, but I just don’t know why anyone would think that Vegas isn’t one of the frontrunners to win. That team is big and deep. They’re going to get Logan Thompson back in goal to go with Adin Hill. I can’t believe Jack Eichel is going to have 66 points again to lead the team in scoring.

Crazy to think maybe, but for me, I think there’s another gear there in Vegas if health stays. Mark Stone’s health will always be a linchpin a little bit for them, but I think that’s a really great team, and at some point they’re going to have to leap frog Edmonton again like they did last year. And if you can get past there and they can get out of their division, I think they’ve got a great chance.

EMILY KAPLAN: I covered their last two playoff rounds last year, and I just don’t think there’s a better blueprint for having everyone to buy into one style.

I alluded to it earlier; it’s just so rare for a Stanley Cup champion to be able to return their entire roster essentially. We saw what happened to Colorado; we’ve seen what happened to Tampa in their last few.

So, it’s such a unique opportunity for Bruce Cassidy and his staff.

The question is always fatigue. After you have a long run, guys’ bodies, it’s a tough summer. It’s a summer of celebration; it’s’ a summer not of regular training, not as much training as they’re used to. Just managing everyone’s workloads is probably going to be their biggest challenge, but like Ray said, the way we saw them finish, there’s no way that shouldn’t be viewed as one of the best if not the best team in the league.

Q. Wondering if any of you have any predictions on what is next for Patrick Kane or what would make the most sense for him?

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: That’s a great one, isn’t it? The Buffalo question looms out there. Obviously, that’s a multilayered story. They have plenty of cap room. They could probably pay him the most if it comes down to that, where other people are cap strapped.

It’s a team on the rise. He obviously doesn’t have to carry the team. He’s a very much supporting member with that high-flying team that they have.

In some ways, maybe it fully rehabilitates him in his mind going back home to Buffalo. He’s always wanted to go back there. I’ve talked to some of his friends for a long time, like the last 10, 15 years; he’s always, even in the middle of his Chicago run, he’s always wanted to go back to Buffalo, and now is the perfect time for him to do it. If there was going to be any time, it’s now.

RAY FERRARO: Yeah, I just don’t see — to your point, don’t see him looking at a team that doesn’t have a chance. Like if there’s no inspiration in the team, like for their hope, whether it’s Buffalo making the Playoffs or a team that perhaps has a spot that fits his eye and his mind that maybe is closer to a Stanley Cup contender. I think the teams narrow down when you start looking at them like that. They narrow down in a hurry.

EMILY KAPLAN: I’m curious what Patrick Kane is going to look like. The hip resurfacing surgery that he got is no joke. There really are very few examples. Makowski got it, played a couple games in the league, had to retire. We haven’t seen a player get it since Nick Backstrom to return, and Nick Backstrom didn’t quite look like himself last year.

I live in Chicago; I’ve covered Patrick Kane. There is an elite way that he trains in his body, and he is a super twitchy special athlete, and from everything I’ve understood about his rehab so far, the reports have been good. We saw his agency released a video. He looked quite sharp.

I know he’s itching to get out there. I know that they have no timeline. They really don’t know at this point whether it’s going to be a month from now, six weeks from now, eight weeks from now from him being cleared.

I do know, like Bucci said, the Buffalo thing is real. Maybe five years ago he wasn’t able to go back there for whatever reason. Now he can. But they’re not going to be the only team interested, so I’m curious to see where he lands.

What a great story that is, though, right? Like the greatest American player can come in mid-season and give a team a jolt. That’s such an exciting storyline to cover.

Q. Linda, will you have any new special technologies coming up this season or any special plans for new features during the broadcasts?

LINDA SCHULZ: We’re leaning into a few rather than new technology. There’s some things we’re looking at technology-wise that we’re not ready to share. That said, Puck Possessor will come back. If you’re familiar, we used it sparingly on power plays, and we will continue to do so, and it will be available on all of our broadcasts.

We also, as I mentioned, we leaned into our REMI productions. While that’s not a new gadget for coverage, per se, it is a way that we are using our technology to continue our efforts in documenting the game.

Rather than technology, I would steer towards some of the coverage opportunities that we’re excited about.

I have not mentioned Frozen Frenzy. Frozen Frenzy is something that is going to happen October 24th. I will shamelessly plug that anyone interested in hockey should check this out on ESPN2 on October 24th. On ESPN there will be a triple header. That is the Maple Leafs-Caps, Bruins-Blackhawks, Flyers-Knights. That’s happening on ESPN.

But over on ESPN+ at 7:00 we’ll start coverage of all games that are going on that night, and then at 8:00, ESPN2 will pick up, as well. That whip-around show, I’m sure everyone is familiar with Red Zone. This is our version of that.

We worked all summer long to figure this out with our programming team and with the league. All 32 teams will play that night. They will play on a staggered puck drop every 15 minutes, so at some point during the night, there will be upwards of 11 games going on, and Bucci will be there to cover it all in the studio and bouncing around, and you will see every goal, you will see every power play, you will see every hit. We will just bounce around in what we’re calling Frozen Frenzy.

That one, again, I’m really looking forward to seeing how that turns out because we haven’t done that before.

Q. We all know the situation for every sport. You want to have your top teams advance. Last year we saw it was a matchup that wasn’t a great one from a TV ratings perspective. What responsibility as the lead broadcast partner is there to get some of those lesser teams like a Florida that people aren’t thinking about in front of a national audience so that by the time you get to June, if they happen to knock out, say, Boston and they make it to the Cup final that people will be more interested in tuning in for that?

LINDA SCHULZ: I’ll start, and this one is still sore for me since I’m a Bruins fan, so thanks for bringing this one up.

I think there’s a responsibility always in every sport that I’ve ever covered, which is a lot of them, to make sure we’re educating the fan.

When I say that, we have to present, to your point, on — we have to present those teams and make sure we’re highlighting what is the most interesting reason to tune in.

That is not just for ratings and money’s sake. That is for interest of hockey’s sake.

I mentioned we are fans, so when I’m sitting at home, and not when I’m watching hockey but when I’m watching another sport that I’m not currently overseeing, if you’re educating me on something and you’re doing so in a process by which I am bored or you are inundating me with information, I tune out.

For me, when we’re covering hockey, we are absolutely understanding the sport and documenting it, but we are also very cautious to do so without making you work while you watch. I want to have fun. That’s why we turn on sports.

When Ray explains to me how that puck got in the goal, he does so in a way that I can comprehend it and also it does not speak down to a fellow hockey player. That’s the most important thing in terms of our documentation.

And circling back to when it’s a team that is not one of the highly rated teams in terms of viewership, that responsibility is the same approach.

Do you guys have any other thoughts on that?

JOHN BUCCIGROSS: It was on my mind actually a couple questions back, thinking we could have an Edmonton-Toronto Stanley Cup Final this year, and I know from an executive standpoint, that’s going to cause maybe a Xanax prescription, but I kind of want it.

I want to see — when you talk about Connor McDavid, who’s our Patrick Mahomes, and Auston Matthews and the curse, the Cubs-Red Sox vibe that Toronto suddenly has, they’re over 50 years, approaching 60, like can we sell that in America? I’d like to think we can. I’d like to think that number — yeah, it’s not going to be Chicago-Boston. It’s not going to be that way.

But I still think that’s an interesting thing to look at, an interesting storyline. As Ray talked about, in the east, we’re going to be losing Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, and gaining New Jersey, Ottawa and Buffalo from a TV market standpoint, so we’d better figure something out and do something in terms of that.

Like you said, people watch the English Premier League and they play on the other side of the world, so we have to figure out a way to sell these stars, sell these young people, sell the brands of the teams so they’re going to watch an Edmonton-Toronto final, like this is amazing; this is going to be incredible hockey with so many storylines from someone like Emily, which she’d be feasting over.

LINDA SCHULZ: You’re spot on. It is absolutely making sure that we are explaining who these players are and grabbing hold of their stardom, their true, justifiable stardom. We’re seeing that interest, as we’ve mentioned, with Connor Bedard, and that will give us an opportunity to not just embrace what he is bringing, the life he is bringing into the sport, but then as he brings in new fans watching hockey, then we’re allowed to encapsulate what Sidney Crosby is doing if you are not an NHL fan, and now we have that opportunity to grow you.

I am reminded that we do have Florida on ABC on I think it’s March 23rd, so we’re doing our part there, as well.



Danny Chi | [email protected] | 213-405-4400
Andrea DiCristoforo | [email protected] | 213-405-4612

[email protected]

Andrea DiCristoforo

Based out of the Los Angeles Production Center in LA, California, Andrea DiCristoforo is a Senior Publicist focusing on the NHL, X Games and Action Spots. Prior to joining ESPN in 2022, Andrea worked in Olympic Sports. She is also a proud graduate from the University of New Hampshire.
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