(NEW YORK) — NHL legend Wayne Gretzky is joining Turner Sports as a studio analyst season, the company announced on Wednesday.
In April, the NHL and Turner agreed to a seven-year deal starting with the 2021-2022 season that will bring hockey to TNT and TBS. Turner will air half of the NHL playoffs each year and TNT will have exclusive rights to three of the next seven Stanley Cup Finals and the NHL Winter Classic each year.
Kenny Albert will be the lead play-by-play commentator and Eddie Olczyk will be the color commentator throughout the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“The world’s best hockey league is coming to Turner Sports later this year and the exciting additions of Wayne, Kenny and Eddie will jumpstart our NHL coverage with some of the best and biggest talents in the sport,” said Tara August, Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Special Projects, Turner Sports in a statement. “Their incomparable experiences within the game and unparalleled depth of knowledge will bring a distinct dimension to our game and studio coverage. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Turner Sports family.”
On Monday, Gretzky tweeted he resigned as Vice Chairman of the Edmonton Oilers, a day after the team was swept in the opening round by the Winnipeg Jets. He had been in the role since 2016.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) May 25, 2021
Gretzky spent nine years with the Oilers, winning four Stanley Cups, eight Hart Memorial Trophies as the league MVP and finished with 583 goals and 1086 assists. He finished his career as the NHL’s All-Time leader in goals, 894, assists, 1963, and points 2857. He was immediately inducted into the hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.
“I’ve long admired Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, among other sports, and I’m thrilled to be joining the studio team in their inaugural NHL season,” said Gretzky. “This is an exciting opportunity to share my experiences and perspectives on the game I will always cherish, while hopefully informing and entertaining fans along the way.”
Albert brings more than 30 years of play-by-play experience to Turner. He has served as the New York Rangers radio play-by-play commentator since 1995, has called seven Stanley Cup Finals on radio and is currently NBC Sports lead hockey announcer for the playoffs.
“Calling the NHL’s biggest games – including the Stanley Cup Final – has been a lifelong dream since I was five years old,” said Albert. “I look forward to this tremendous opportunity with Turner Sports and can’t wait for the puck to drop on the 2021-22 season! Becoming a teammate of ‘The Great One’ and sharing the broadcast booth with Eddie Olczyk – one of the best analysts in all of sports and a long-time friend and colleague of mine – is the icing on the cake!”
Eddie Olczyk, a USA Hockey Hall Of Famer, joins from NBC Sports. He spent 16 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994. He joined Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh to call Penguins games and provided analysis for ESPN and NHL Radio. He was the Pittsburgh head coach from 2003-2005, before joining NBC and the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Turner Sports family and its coverage of the NHL,” said Olczyk. “I’m equally thrilled to be on the same team with ‘The Great One’ for the first time in my career; that’s just tremendously tremendous! Thanks to everyone at Turner Sports for all of their efforts in assembling this amazing team.”
ESPN and the NHL also agreed to a seven-year deal in March. Starting next season, ESPN will air 25 regular season games, one early round and conference final final each year, and four of the next seven Stanley Cup Finals.
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