UPDATE: Media Schotts: Gore a bore on ESPNU's Wisconsin-Minnesota college hockey broadcast
The networks of ESPN returned to televising a regular-season college hockey game Friday after a two-year absence.
It should have stayed away.
ESPNU's coverage of the inaugural Big Ten hockey conference matchup between Wisconsin and Minnesota left a lot to be desired. You can put the blame on play-by-play announcer Sam Gore.
Gore was a big bore in calling the action. Normally a tennis play-by-play announcer for ESPN, Gore treated the call of the hockey like a tennis broadcast. But while you should be quiet during a rally in tennis, you can't be silent when the hockey game is in constant motion.
From the sound of it, Gore had no clue about the game. Rarely did he mention the names of the players. There were too many instances of awkward silence.
Gore's call of the game's first goal, scored by Wisconsin, was more of a football call than a hockey call. He said, "Yes and it's good." Did the Badgers kick a field goal?
Analyst Sean Ritchlin was talking more than Gore. At least Ritchlin, who played at Michigan, had a clue.
It is puzzling that ESPN didn't assign John Buccigross, who calls the games during the NCAA tournament, or Steve Levy, who called NHL games for the network, to do this contest. Buccigross should have been a no-brainer to be given the assignment.
Gore even used the tennis term "unforced error" to describe a turnover.
What capped it for me was, right after the Gophers scored an empty-net goal to seal a 4-1 win, Gore asked Ritchlin, "Why do you pull the goalie and bring him back?" Because the game is over!
ESPN should be embarrassed with the game coverage. Find a play-by-play announcer who knows the game.
UPDATE: To watch the game, click here.