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ABC Sports announces its hockey broadcast teams

ABC Sports, the broadcast network of the Stanley Cup finals, announced today that expert analyst John Davidson will move from the studio to the booth for its coverage of the 2003 NHL season, joining play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne and color analyst Bill Clement on the network's lead NHL broadcast team. Barry Melrose, who had previously served as game analyst, will replace Davidson in the studio, working with host John Saunders. The network also announced that Brian Engblom will take Melrose's place alongside Mike Emrick when ABC Sports begins its fourth season of NHL coverage on Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 1 p.m. ET.

"We are thrilled to bring two of the nation's foremost NHL analysts together in one broadcast booth," said Howard Katz, president, ABC Sports. "Gary and Bill have established themselves as network's top hockey broadcast team, and with the addition of John Davidson, the trio will bring tremendous insight and credibility to our hockey broadcasts. Brian has excelled as a reporter over the past three seasons, and I feel he is now ready to bring his insight into the booth."

Davidson joined ABC Sports in 2000 as a studio analyst, working with host John Saunders, who will continue in the same role. A color analyst for New York Rangers telecasts on MSG Network, Davidson is one of hockey's most respected, articulate and informed commentators.

Thorne has one of the most exciting voices in hockey broadcasting today. He has served as play-by-play commentator for ABC Sports for the past three years and for ESPN's NHL coverage the past 10. He has also called select NHL games on ESPN2 for close to a decade. Thorne served as the play-by-play announcer at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Clement is a former National Hockey League All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup champion. He is a game analyst for ESPN's extensive NHL coverage and has worked every Stanley Cup Finals telecast since 1986. Clement served as a studio analyst for NBC at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Engblom, who played 11 years in the NHL, has served as ice-level reporter for ESPN's NHL coverage since 1995. He also provides analysis on ESPN2's NHL telecasts.

Melrose worked in the studio with Saunders for ESPN's NHL coverage for several years. He was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1992 to April 1995.

Saunders is one of the most accomplished studio anchors in sports television. He anchors ABC's college football and college basketball studio shows, and provides play-by-play for NBA telecasts.

ABC Sports will telecast 15 regular season NHL games during five weeks of regional coverage, beginning on Saturday, January 11, 2003. In June ABC will be home to the Stanley Cup finals, the culmination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the dramatic climax of the NHL season.

The action begins on SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, when BRETT HULL and the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings face Eastern Conference powerhouse Philadelphia. Elsewhere MIKE MODANO and the Stars play host to arch-rival Colorado, while ERIC LINDROS and the Rangers square off against MARIO LEMIEUX and the Penguins.

The NHL on ABC
January 11 1 p.m. ET Colorado at Dallas
    Detroit at Philadelphia
    New York Rangers at Pittsburgh
February 2 2:30 p.m. NHL All-Star Game
February 8 3 p.m. ET Pittsburgh at Boston
    Detroit at Colorado
    New York Rangers at Philadelphia
March 15 3 p.m. ET Colorado at Detroit
    New York Rangers at New Jersey
    Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
March 22 3 p.m. ET New York Rangers at Philadelphia
    Chicago at Colorado
    Detroit at St. Louis
March 29 1:30 p.m. ET Detroit at St. Louis
    New York Rangers at Boston
  3 p.m. PT* Phoenix at Colorado

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ABC's 2002-2003 NHL schedule