I often hear from people who tell me they'd like the NHL back on ESPN. These people are very strange to me, because they often use the reasoning "I want Gary Thorne calling hockey again." While Thorne was a largely competent play-by-play man, I would never put him among the greats of all time.
That said, he is decent, and he reminds people of an era of hockey that they look upon quite fondly, so I assume they connect their memories with him.
These people will be satiated by the announcement that Thorne will be -- as he has every year since the lockout -- taking a break from his duties as Baltimore Orioles play-by-play man to call the Frozen Four on the networks of ESPN. Thorne will be joined by analyst Barry Melrose and reporter Clay Matvick.
The tournament opens Thursday night with a doubleheader of semifinal match-ups on ESPN2. At 5 p.m. Eastern, Notre Dame takes on Minnesota-Duluth, followed by Michigan vs. North Dakota at 8:30 p.m.
On Friday night, Matvick and Melrose host the presentation of the Hobey Baker Award at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The nominees are Cam Atkinson of Boston College, Matt Frattin of North Dakota and Andy Miele of Miami (OH).
The weekend wraps up on Saturday night with the National Championship game at 8 p.m. It will be the only hockey game aired on ESPN in the calendar year, unless the network re-acquires NHL rights in the next contract. All the games will be aired in HD.
Enjoy the weekend, college hockey fans and 90's-philes!