Beware, it’s a story about ESPN and hockey! It’s a strange universe where ESPN has wall-to-wall pucks on a couple of its networks for two weekends in March and April. That said, they do a solid job with the NCAA hockey tournament for the most part.
ESPN will cover more of the tournament, at least in the regional stage, than in years past. In previous years, ESPNU is pretty much the only network used for coverage of the opening rounds, which means a ton of games get shunted exclusively to the WatchESPN app and ESPN3. This year, however, on the busy Saturday where two regionals are playing their semifinals and two are playing their finals, ESPN2 will jump in and show hockey simultaneously with ESPNU.
The end result is a tournament where only two games don’t have a television home. As in many years before, ESPN2 will broadcast the national semifinals, and ESPN will televise the national championship from Philadelphia on April 12th. Get in your ESPN hockey jokes in now!
The talent level assembled for the tourney is fairly high. Traditional ESPN hockey people John Buccigross and Barry Melrose will call the East Regional as well as the national semifinals and championship game with reporter Quint Kessenich. NHL talent like Joe Beninati, Darren Eliot and Billy Jaffe will also call games.
The network will also broadcast the selection show this Sunday, March 23rd. Here’s ESPN’s full talent and schedule for the NCAA Hockey Tournament
East Regional, Frozen Four - John Buccigross (play-by-play), Barry Melrose (color) and Quint Kessenich (reporter).
Midwest Regional - Joe Beninati and Darren Eliot
Northeast Regional – Joe Davis and Billy Jaffe
West Regional – Clay Matvick and Sean Ritchlin
2 p.m. ET - East Regional Semifinal #1 (ESPNU)
4:30 p.m. ET - Midwest Regional Semifinal #1 (ESPN3)
5:30 p.m. ET - East Regional Semifinal #2 (ESPNU)
8 p.m. ET - Midwest Regional Semifinal #2 (ESPNU)
3 p.m. ET – East Regional Final (ESPN2)
4 p.m. ET – Northeast Regional Semifinal #1 (ESPNU)
5:30 p.m. ET - West Regional Semifinal #1 (ESPN2)
6:30 p.m. ET - Midwest Regional Final (ESPNU)
7:30 p.m. ET – Northeast Regional Semifinal #2 (ESPN3)
9 p.m. ET – West Regional Semifinal #2 (ESPNU)
5 p.m. ET – Northeast Regional Final (ESPNU)
7:30 p.m. ET – West Regional Final (ESPNU)
5 p.m. ET – National Semifinal #1 (ESPN2)
8:30 p.m. ET – National Semifinal #2 (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. ET – National Championship (ESPN)