With Turner set to take on one of the NHL’s two television packages starting next season, they were in obvious need of broadcasters for a sport new to their portfolio.
Now, according to multiple reports, we at least know who Turner plans to pair as lead announcer and analyst: Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk.
NEWS: With Kenny Albert expected to call NBC's final Stanley Cup, this means he will be the voice of the Cup for four of the next eight years.https://t.co/prVIlK4CEs
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) May 5, 2021
Hearing that after talks w/Turner & ESPN, Eddie Olczyk has agreed to a 5-year deal to become Turner’s lead NHL analyst starting next season.
Word is Olczyk will still have freedom to cover horse racing for NBC.
Also hearing Ray Ferraro is in line to become ESPN's lead analyst.
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) May 6, 2021
Pairing Albert and Olczyk makes a ton of sense, as both currently work for NBC’s hockey coverage, which is saying goodbye after this year. Albert will call the Stanley Cup Finals for NBC this year for the first time, replacing the retired Doc Emrick, but he’s also called hockey for Westwood One on the radio side as well. Albert actually called the hockey highlight of the week so far: last night’s opening face-off brawl between the Capitals and the Rangers.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) May 5, 2021
Olczyk, meanwhile, has been with NBC for years, partnering Emrick on playoff calls. The moves were confirmed by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
ESPN/ABC will take over the other half of the package and, after this season, will have the Stanley Cup finals in four of the next seven years. ESPN has yet to name lead broadcast teams — though, Steve Levy and Sean McDonough have emerged as top candidates for the lead play-by-play job.
Going back to Turner, though, pairing Albert and Olczyk makes all the sense in the world. Rather than try something completely out of the box (like, say, Steve Nash on Champions League coverage), carrying over Albert and Olczyk gives them a head start on adding a new sport. Obviously they’ll be making many more hires in front and behind the camera, and Turner certainly already knows how to produce live sports.
But coming out of the gate with a top-quality broadcast pairing that has experience working with each other can only be a good thing.