Mark Messier Joining ESPN as NHL Studio Analyst Starting with 2021-22 Season

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIJune 24, 2021

Mark Messier gestures to fans while speaking during a ceremony to acknowledge the 25th anniversary of the 1994 New York Rangers winning the Stanley Cup, before an NHL hockey game between the Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier will join ESPN's NHL broadcast team beginning next season, the network announced Thursday. 

In March, the NHL and ESPN announced a seven-year broadcast rights deal that will put 25 regular-season games on either ESPN or ABC as well as multiple playoff series, one conference final and four Stanley Cup Final series between the two stations and their streaming apps. 

"The game of hockey, and the NHL, have afforded me enormous opportunity, success and experiences on the ice and in my life," Messier said in a statement. "My passion for the game is as strong as it has ever been and I am looking forward to sharing that passion, plus my insights and analysis with the sport's incredible fans. 

This will mark the first time since 2004 that the league will air on a network other than NBC. 

Messier, who played 25 years in the NHL (mostly with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers) from 1979-2004, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. A two-time Hart Trophy winner as the league's MVP and a 15-time All-Star, Messier won six Stanley Cups. Of those, five came with the Oilers before one with the Rangers in 1994.

The 60-year-old also spent three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. 

The Alberta, Canada, native is the namesake of the league's Leadership Award, which was awarded Tuesday to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. The award is "presented to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities on and off the ice and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey," per the league

Kevin Weekes, Ryan Callahan, Ray Ferraro, Brian Boucher and AJ Mleczko Griswold will also serve as analysts, according to The Score. P.K. Subban is with the network through the end of the postseason. 

Wayne Gretzky, Messier's longtime teammate, was reportedly in the running to land a broadcasting gig with ESPN, but he signed a multiyear contract with TNT to join Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk.