An NHL whiparound show is coming to ESPN this season.
During a conference call on Tuesday, ESPN coordinating producer Linda Schulz commented on a new NHL whiparound show dubbed Frozen Frenzy, debuting on Tuesday, October 24.
ESPN will air a tripleheader of games that Tuesday, and with all 32 teams in action, a whiparound show will begin on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET.
I have not mentioned Frozen Frenzy. Frozen Frenzy is something that is going to happen October 24th. I will shamelessly plug that anyone interested in hockey should check this out on ESPN2 on October 24th. On ESPN there will be a triple header. That is the Maple Leafs-Caps, Bruins-Blackhawks, Flyers-Knights. That’s happening on ESPN.
But over on ESPN+ at 7:00 we’ll start coverage of all games that are going on that night, and then at 8:00, ESPN2 will pick up, as well. That whip-around show, I’m sure everyone is familiar with Red Zone. This is our version of that.
We worked all summer long to figure this out with our programming team and with the league. All 32 teams will play that night. They will play on a staggered puck drop every 15 minutes, so at some point during the night, there will be upwards of 11 games going on, and Bucci will be there to cover it all in the studio and bouncing around, and you will see every goal, you will see every power play, you will see every hit. We will just bounce around in what we’re calling Frozen Frenzy.
The Frozen Frenzy show was actually announced by ESPN back in August when it unveiled its schedule of live games for the 2023-24 season.
Here’s the blurb from that release.
A rare frozen frenzy occurs October 24 with all 32 NHL teams in action, led by ESPN’s exclusive tripleheader – beginning at 6 p.m. – featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers at Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN/ESPN+). The additional 13 games are available on NHL Power Play on ESPN+ – with 15-minute staggered start times – resulting in continuous action throughout the night. With every team in action, ESPN2 will provide whip-around, live look-ins on every game from 8-11 p.m., showcasing the best plays, hits and goals of the night.
On October 24, ESPN will air the first game of the night (Maple Leafs vs Capitals) at 6 p.m. ET. The next game of the night starts at 6:30 p.m. ET, with another game starting every 15 minutes through 9:15 p.m. ET. The second game of the night on ESPN, Bruins vs Blackhawks, begins at 8:30 p.m. ET. Three final games close out the full night of action, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET with the final two starting each 45 minutes after that. ESPN also airs the last game of the evening, Flyers vs Golden Knights, with a start time of 11 p.m. ET.
Frozen Frenzy will begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2, running through 11 p.m. All 16 games will be available to watch in full on ESPN+ for out-of-market viewers.
When it comes to whiparound shows, NFL RedZone is the standard bearer, but many other networks have moved into space when covering various leagues, including the NBA, Premier League, and UEFA Champions League. MLB Network and NHL Network also have their flagship studio shows (MLB Tonight and NHL Tonight, respectively), running hours long each with live cut-ins across the league.
Inevitably, some fans will end up complaining about the Frozen Frenzy coverage (most likely, the fact that it starts after seven games have already begun), but it’s a fun idea from ESPN that it probably wouldn’t have the chance to implement very often. If feedback is positive once the whiparound show airs, it wouldn’t surprise me if ESPN looked to do this more often with its NHL coverage.