Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ESPN Announces College Hockey Tournament Coverage Plans

I'll present the ESPN information to you, largely because I know many of you are interested in watching the NCAA Tournament, and because a lot of you won't be traveling to regionals or the Frozen Four, even if UMD is involved.

This came from the Worldwide Leader in Sports Other Than Hockey on Wednesday.

For the eighth consecutive year, ESPN will present every glass-crushing moment of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship starting with the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Selection Show on Sunday, March 18, and culminating with the Men's Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., April 5 and 7.  All 15 games will air live on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3. Four regional games will be shown on ESPN3 with additional coverage on ESPNU in tape delay. For 2012, ESPN will debut its Advanced Replay Tool (ART) which allows graphics to be used in a replay, a first in the network’s coverage of NCAA hockey.

As in past years, the tournament brackets will be announced on the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Selection Show by SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross, analyst Barry Melrose and new to the selection show this year, three-time Stanley Cup champion Aaron Ward. Airing Sunday, March 18, at noon ET on ESPNU, Ward’s three-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances while playing at Michigan brings a second layer of expertise to the passion and enthusiasm Melrose infuses into the 30-minute special. The show will also include features from current NHL standouts reflecting on their own NCAA memories, including Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, New Jersey’s Zach Praise and Ottawa’s Matt Gilroy.

The ART, developed by ESPN Emerging Technology, allows graphics to be instantaneously embedded within a replay, providing commentators greater visual resources to communicate analysis to viewers.  It has seen previous success in ESPN’s coverage of basketball, football and golf telecasts (see video).

Melrose, Gary Thorne and Clay Matvick will utilize the tool during ESPN’s Frozen Four telecasts. Former NCAA players Sean Ritchlin (Michigan), Dave Starman (Hartford) and Billy Jaffe (Michigan) will also contribute analysis throughout the two week coverage span. ESPN has aired games from the men's championship since 1980 and recently extended its commitment to the NCAA, which includes airing the entire Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship through 2024.

Here is the link.

East Regional (Bridgeport, Conn.) games will be worked by John Buccigross and Barry Melrose. Northeast Regional (Worcester, Mass.) games will have Dan Parkhurst and Billy Jaffe on commentary. Ben Holden and Sean Ritchlin will head to Green Bay for the Midwest Regional. Minnesota's own Clay Matvick and Dave Starman will work the West Regional in St. Paul. Gary Thorne, Melrose, and Matvick will have Frozen Four duty in Tampa.

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