CHICAGO - Kaitlin Urka’s goal of having an all-female crew work an NHL game will become a reality on Sunday.
The St. Louis Blues-Chicago Blackhawks telecast on NBCSN will be the first time a pro hockey game is led solely by women in the United States. It also coincides with International Women’s Day.
Urka, who is one of the producers for the game, pitched the idea early in the season. NBC executives approved it in January, and it was announced last month.
“There is significance and history to it. Everyone is awesome at their jobs and it was not a stretch to find women who could do the roles on the broadcast,” said AJ Mleczko, who will be the analyst for the game.
Kate Scott will handle play-by-play with Olympic gold medalists Mleczko and Kendall Coyne-Schofield providing analysis. Mleczko will be in the booth with Coyne-Schofield reporting between the team benches at ice level.
Mleczko and Coyne-Schofield have been part of the analyst rotation for NHL games on NBCSN.
In the truck, production will be led by producer Rene Hatlelid and director Lisa Seltzer. Kathryn Tappen and three-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist Jen Botterill will anchor coverage from the studio.
“These are professionals who are some of the best at what they do and do these jobs on a regular basis,” Urka said. “International Women’s Day just gives us a unique platform to celebrate their great work.”
Tappen, a broadcaster for 17 years, noted the first time she had a female producer was two years ago.
“The fact that we are celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female broadcast and production team tells me how far we have come in a very short time,” she said. “We hope our broadcast will help inspire young women watching to follow their dreams, because we’ve proven that anything is possible.”
The game features two teams vying for playoff spots. Defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis leads the Western Conference by two points while Chicago is six points out of the second wild-card spot.
The Vegas Golden Knights-Calgary Flames game on Sportsnet Canada also will feature an all-female crew.