Mark Messier is the Voice of Hockey for ESPN in a New Campaign

By Kyle O'Brien 

This is the time of year when all four major sports collide. Baseball is wrapping up its run while football is in full swing—and the NBA and NHL are preparing for their long seasons.

To promote the fastest sport on ice’s 2022-2023 season, the National Hockey League has enlisted one of its greatest players for its “That is Hockey” campaign from Fallon. Former Rangers, Oilers and Canucks star Mark Messier is the voice of hockey and sets up ESPN and ESPN+ and the home of hockey.

Leaning into the rising young stars, future hall of famers and overall competitiveness of the game, the spot aims to illustrate that hockey is the best it’s ever been—and ESPN’s sports platforms are where to catch the action.


“Have you realized that you can’t look away?” Messier asks the camera as he laces up his skates and says that the game has never been better.

ESPN worked with Fallon and director Jeremy Pettit to capture the essence and energy of the game.

“After an exhilarating first year back in business with the NHL, we are thrilled to continue our work to engage fans, draw them to our coverage and help grow the game of hockey,” said Laura Gentile, executive vice president, commercial marketing, Disney Networks and ESPN in a statement. “Collaborating with Mark Messier, truly an icon of the game with a face and voice that ‘is’ hockey, strengthens our message that the game has never been better and continues to evolve to captivate fans old and new.”

The creative will run across Disney’s owned and other paid linear and digital platforms in the lead up to and throughout the NHL season.

“With ‘That is Hockey,’ we sought to make ESPN not just the home of hockey, but the arbiter of all those things that make hockey, hockey,” said Charlie Wolff, creative director at Fallon in a statement.

“That is Hockey” is the second creative campaign that has debuted since The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the National Hockey League announced a seven-year television, streaming and media rights deal, beginning with last year’s 2021-2022 season.

This year’s regular season begins in North America on October 11 in an ESPN doubleheader, showcasing a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final with the Tampa Bay Lightning visiting the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden—and the Los Angeles Kings hosting the Vegas Golden Knights at Arena