Charles Barkley will help Turner Sports usher in its inaugural NHL coverage as a special guest on the premiere of the “NHL on TNT Face Off Presented by Verizon” pregame show prior to the network’s doubleheader Wednesday.
TNT will begin its regular-season coverage with the New York Rangers at Washington Capitals from Capital One Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena at 10 p.m. ET.
Barkley, a Basketball Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA all-star, is a regular on “NBA on TNT,” the network’s Emmy Award-winning studio show for its basketball coverage. He has been vocal about his passion for hockey as a fan, particularly of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Barkley will join Wayne Gretzky, Anson Carter, Rick Tocchet, Paul Bissonnette and host Liam McHugh on the set for the inaugural studio show that will be commercial free and start at 7 p.m. ET, broadcasting from TNT’s new state-of-the-art NHL studio in Atlanta.
Gretzky has credited his friendship with Barkley and the former NBA star’s advice as a reason why he chose to join TNT’s NHL coverage this season.
“Charles Barkley is a good friend, and he called me every single day and said, ‘This will be fun for you,'” Gretzky told Sportsnet 590 in Toronto on July 30. “And ultimately I decided, OK, this is something I’ve got to try, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting.”
The NHL and Turner Sports announced a seven-year media rights agreement April 27 that will have regular-season and postseason games televised on TNT and TBS starting this season and running through 2027-28.
Turner Sports will televise all games in the Stanley Cup Final in 2023, 2025 and 2027, one conference final series each season, and half of the first two rounds of the playoffs, plus 72 regular-season games per season, including the NHL Winter Classic, the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, in each of the seven seasons of the deal.