What ESPN Wants You To Know About The World Cup Hockey Tournament

ESPN will hit the ice to televise -- and stream -- professional caliber hockey for the first time since 2004 with its exclusive coverage of the World Cup Of Hockey, debuting this Saturday (Sept. 17).

All the games of the two-week elimination tournament -- which features eight national teams from around the world, including United States and Canada -- will air on live across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and WatchESPN. Under the watchful eye of ESPN senior vice president of production and remote events Mark Gross, the network will utilize 31 cameras that will deliver a wide range of camera angles. ESPN will also place infrared trackers inside the puck and player jerseys to allow the network to create sleek on-air graphics to enhance the viewer’s experience.

Here’s what Gross And ESPN want you to know about the World Cup Of Hockey. 

Hockey scores again on ESPN: “Its great to be back into hockey and we get to jump in with a tournament featuring the best players in the world. We have a lot of hockey fans who grew up watching hockey on ESPN so we’re going to give it our bests shot when the tournament starts in the middle of September. It will be offered across all of our platforms -- the multiplatform approach will be in full effect.”

ESPN will provide technology-infused coverage: “The animation and graphics package that we’ll put together is not your average package. Working with the NHL and NHLPA, player tracking will be in effect similar to what took place during the NHL All-Star game. Also, the NHL theme music that was on ESPN years ago has been refreshed and will return for the entire tournament.

The tournament will stand out in crowded sports environment: “Yes, [the tournament] will drop out of the sky in the middle of the early part of the NFL and college football seasons, but I think between promotion and context that we put around the event, we can make it stand out and drive viewers. It will be promoted regularly on our air and on our shows. We had [NHL Hall of Famers] Brett Hull and Chris Cheilos shoot a series of 60 and 90-second vignettes to help viewers understand the meaning of the tournament, certain players and teams and strategy.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.