Report: Buffalo Sabres Games Will Be Back on ESPN For First Time In 17 Years
If you're in your mid-20's or older, than you probably remember watching NHL games on ESPN here in Western New York. The sound of play-by-play man Gary Thorne calling goals and saves, it's pure nostalgia.
However, the NHL left ESPN at the end of the 2003-2004 season and since then, have been playing nationally televised games on a host of networks, including NBC, NBCSN, Versus, and even one season on OLN (the Outdoor Life Network).
But it looks like the NHL and the Buffalo Sabres are ready to be back on ESPN.
According to a report by Chris Johnston of SportsNet, the NHL and ESPN have reached an agreement on a seven-year deal, which would start next regular season.
ESPN is believed to be one-half of the new U.S. media rights for the NHL. The agreement is expected to give ESPN the rights to four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022-2028.
ESPN originally had NHL rights from 1985-1988 and again from 1992-2004. There was also rights for games to FOX from 1995-1999.
NBCSN, which currently airs games, will be no more by the end of the year. Those network's events will move over to the USA Network by 2022.
You can read the original report at SportsNet.
I couldn't be more excited. I know, the Sabres aren't good right now and hockey fever might be at an all-time low in Buffalo and Western New York, but getting to see NHL games -- Sabres games on ESPN again will make me feel like a kid again.
I think NBCSN done a great job over the last decade plus, but many sports fans will have the league on their conscious once again when hockey makes its way back to ESPN.