NHL studio analyst Barry Melrose is stepping away from his role at ESPN after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

ESPN’s John Buccigross, who is part of the network’s NHL team as a play-by-play commentator for select games, announced Melrose’s diagnosis Tuesday on social media, stating that the longtime coach and analyst would be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family.

“Barry Melrose has Parkinson’s disease and is stepping away from our ESPN family to spend more time with his,” Buccigross wrote. “I’ve worked with Barry at ESPN for over a quarter century. Cold beers and hearty laughs in smokey cigar bars. A razor sharp wit, he was always early & looked like a million bucks. I love him. I’ll miss him.”

Melrose has been a key part of ESPN’s NHL coverage, appearing on ESPN+’s In the Crease. He appears regularly on SportsCenter and ESPNNews, while he and Steve Levy have reported from every Stanley Cup Finals since 1994.

Melrose began his ESPN career in October 1996, calling regular-season and playoff games for ESPN and ABC Sports until 2002. He then transitioned to studio analysis for ABC Sports’ NHL telecasts from 2003 to 2004, having previously worked in that role for ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning 1994 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and ESPN and ESPN2 during the 1995 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In June 2008, Melrose left ESPN to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning but returned to the Worldwide Leader soon thereafter.

Best wishes to Barry and his family as he works through his unfortunate diagnosis. ESPN’s NHL coverage will almost certainly not be the same without his presence.

[John Buccigross on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.