Hockey announcers set to make history as NHL’s first all-Black television broadcast

Thursday night’s hockey game between the Seattle Kraken and the Winnipeg Jets will feature a first in NHL history. 

Kraken announcers JT Brown and Everett Fitzhugh will team up to host the NHL’s first-ever all-Black television broadcast.

Brown, the Kraken’s regular color commentator, will be joined by Fitzhugh, the team’s radio play-by-play announcer, for the game because Seattle’s normal lead television voice, John Forslund, will be on a different network. 

“It all goes back to representation matters, that’s the overarching theme here,” Fitzhugh told NHL.com.

“I didn’t have Black broadcasters [and] play-by-play people to look up to when I was growing up. I didn’t know play-by-play was an option until I got to college, as far as a career goes. So to have that stage, to have that platform with [Brown] and to show people that, ‘Hey, there are two Black men calling hockey games,’ is something that I think will hopefully inspire other people.”

The television broadcast will be the latest in a list of NHL accomplishments for Fitzhugh, who has announced games at the ECHL, USHL and NCAA levels. When he was hired by the Kraken in 2020 ahead of their inaugural season, Fitzhugh became the league’s first full-time Black broadcaster. 

Brown, meanwhile, is in his first season in the booth after a seven-year career in the NHL playing for Minnesota, Anaheim and Tampa Bay. 

“It’s baby steps, moving the needle,” Brown told NHL.com. “I think the league as a whole is taking steps to feel more inclusive, and this can be one of them. [Having] Black play-by-play and color commentators, I think it’s a big thing just for visual representation.”

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