Inside the NHL’s New TV Era: Can ESPN, Turner and Streaming Net More Viewers?

The 105-year-old hockey league begins anew with new partners, a new team and a massive bet on streaming

When ESPN drops the puck Tuesday night on a new era for the NHL, it will be the culmination of what one executive describes as “one of the happiest days” at the Disney-owned sports network.

“The reservoir of fanhood at ESPN with the NHL runs really deep,” Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN’s senior vice president, programming and acquisitions, told TheWrap. Before its 16-year run with NBC, the NHL and ESPN were tied at the hip: ESPN and ABC were the league’s main broadcaster from 1992 until 2004. To many, the NHL’s reunion with ESPN fixes a mistake made 17 years ago.

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Tim Baysinger

TV reporter • • Twitter: @tim_bays