The National Women’s Hockey League returns this Friday with the Isobel Cup playoffs, presented by Discover. A new landscape in Brighton, MA leads to new opportunities for many personalities. Both the NWHL and NBC Sports announced the on-air talent for the Isobel Cup playoffs. The team will feature Kate Scott calling play-by-play, AJ Mleczko as an analyst, and Caley Chelios as a rink-side reporter. The all-female on-air broadcast team will be on-site at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts, on March 26 and 27 for the Isobel Cup semifinals and championship final on NBCSN.
“We can’t wait to drop the puck in Boston and showcase the NWHL like never before. Our partnership with NBC Sports is monumental for the visibility of our league and the all-female presence of Kate Scott, AJ Mleczko, and Caley Chelios will deliver a memorable experience for American television viewers and our athletes who are ready to put their skill and resiliency on full display as they compete to raise the Isobel Cup.”Tyler Tumminia, NWHL Commissioner
Set The Stage, Raise the Standard
The national spotlight could not be any brighter than it is now. Hindsight is 20/20. But looking back, the playoffs that were scheduled for February were the best thing to never happen. Why? Well, there’s a multitude of factors but I’ll explain one. The traction of the PWHPA picking up where the NWHL left off has left the door wide open to gain momentum.
Honestly, there’s been some friction in the logistical sense between the two brands…generally in terms of values. However, the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour has dipped its feet in the water of NBC Sports broadcasting. Their last two stops in New York and Chicago have created a wealth of viewership for women’s hockey that is paramount to growing the sport. Now, the NWHL has the ball -or puck- and they can run a country mile with it – the opportunity. Just untapped potential. But besides the players, who can really help boost ratings and inject life into the playoff broadcast atmosphere?
The Future is Female: Meet The Team
Kate Scott has blazed a trail in broadcasting. Namely, as the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio. The first to call football for the Pac-12 Networks. And served as the play-by-play announcer for the first all-female NHL broadcast in the USA on NBCSN. Shall I go on? Previously, Scott spent six years as the first full-time female voice on the Bay Area’s KNBR 680-AM, winning an Emmy for her work (beat that George Clooney). She also spent five years with the Pac-12 Networks. Scott calls games for the West Coast Conference and NBC Sports and co-hosts “The Game” on 95.7 FM in San Francisco. I think it’s safe to say the broadcast won’t be lacking in credibility.
AJ Mleczko joined Scott for the first all-female NHL broadcast in the U.S., currently serves as an NHL analyst for NBC Sports. She also provides New York Islanders coverage for MSG Networks. Mleczko led the U.S. women’s hockey team to a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and a silver medal at Salt Lake in 2002. She was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. As well as the Harvard Hall of Fame in 2014.
Caley Chelios is in her fifth season as a hockey reporter and broadcaster for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Fox Sports Sun. Her first as an analyst on the Lightning’s radio network after two seasons of doing color for road games. She also hosts a segment on “The Wraparound” that airs weekly on Fox Sports Sun. In 2019, she appeared as a studio analyst at TSN covering the International Women’s Hockey Rivalry Series, simulcasted on NHL Network.
The broadcast team will take over the airwaves in the Isobel Cup playoffs on Friday, March 26. The #1 seed Toronto Six takes on the Boston Pride in the first Semifinals matchup at 5PM EST. This followed by Minnesota Whitecaps facing off against Connecticut Whale at 8PM. The winners compete for the Isobel Cup at 7 p.m. ET on March 27. All three games will be televised on NBCSN and streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app exclusively in the U.S., and streamed via Twitch in Canada and other international markets.