No. That is not a typo. ESPN...the self proclaimed "worldwide leader" in sports, has chosen to broadcast hockey games.
ESPN3, the network's online channel, will broadcast 5 Kontinental Hockey League (Russia) games in the next two weeks, and more as the season goes on. UPDATED: Here's a look at the offical release ESPN released Friday.
Minimum of seven games to be carried exclusively in the US, including the KHL All-Star Game
Games will also air on ESPN in UK
ESPN today officially announced that it will deliver a minimum of seven games from 2012-13 season of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) exclusively on ESPN3 in the US and on ESPN UK. Coverage begins Tuesday, October 9 at 1 p.m. ET with ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy and NHL studio analyst Barry Melrose calling the Lev vs. Dynamo Moscow game live on ESPN2 and ESPN3. The game will re-air in primetime on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET and will air on delay on ESPN in the UK (Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. BST).
Confirmed games through the end of the month feature an all-star lineup of hockey players, including Alex Ovechkin (Dynamo Moscow), Ilya Kovalchuk (SKA), Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar (Metallurg Mg).
KHL on ESPN3 (US) Date Time (ET) Match-Up Tue, Oct 9 1:00 p.m. Lev vs. Dynamo Moscow ** Sun, Oct 14 9:00 a.m. Dynamo Moscow vs. Amur Tue, Oct 16 11:30 a.m. Dynamo Moscow vs. Sibir HD Thu, Oct 18 11:45 a.m. SKA vs. Sibir HD Mon, Oct 22 12:30 p.m. Dinamo Riga vs. Metallurg Mg Mon, Oct 29 11:30 a.m. Dynamo Moscow vs. Dinamo Riga HD
** Also airing on ESPN2
Full schedule information for games on ESPN in the UK will be released shortly and will be available on www.espn.co.uk/TV.
In addition to Levy and Melrose, commentary will be delivered in English language by play-by-play announcer Paul Romanuk and analyst Aaron Murphy. Previously, ESPN3 in the US carried more than 50 games from the KHL live in Russian throughout the 2009-10 and 2010-11 regular seasons and playoffs. In January 2010, ESPN3 distributed the KHL All-Star Game with Levy and Melrose commentating live from Bristol.
This is big news for the KHL. Aside from the NHL, the KHL is the most competitive hockey league in the world. Many of the NHL's best players, including Alexander Ovechkin, have signed deals to play in the Russian league.
With no end in sight for the lockout, this is the only chance hockey fans will get to watch the world's best play their games. Hockey is back...sort of.
image courtesy of committedindians.com