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The NHL is returning to ESPN

The ESPN National Hockey Night theme song is to hockey as what the NBA on NBC theme song is to basketball.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

In league news, the NHL sure as heck looks like they’ve got a new television rights holder — or television/streaming rights holder as it were.

Cue the ESPN National Hockey Night theme song, because the NHL and the Flyers are going to be back on ESPN (and ESPN+) for the next seven years. The key there is geared more towards the plus sign, where ESPN+ is the subscription wing of the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

What that means is that the NHL has found its foray into the streaming world with ESPN after rumors of a possible move towards NBC’s Peacock. Of course this deal — of which the press release announcing the deal was subsequently deleted — includes more than just streaming options on ESPN for the league. Andrew Marchand has some of the key details picked out of the release below.

You all can read of course, so I’ll spare you the details in the tweet but certainly the NHL appears to have found at least half of its next television deal — which is set to start next season. It’s a natural progression for the league after ESPN+ has offered NHL games for the last two-plus seasons as a part of the subscription deal.

It’s easy to read between the lines that the NHL will also be bringing in a second — or perhaps third — party to cap off its long-term rights, but Disney’s ESPN certainly became a focus in terms of getting both live traditional broadcast games in addition to a healthy dose of offerings on their streaming service.

Now the other shoe is to drop and we’ll find out what other mediums (NBC, other networks like USA, etc.) that we’ll need to tune into — or better subscribe to — in order to enjoy the coolest game on earth.