NHL to broadcast Stanley Cup Final games in American Sign Language, a 1st for a major sports league

June 6, 2024

The 2024 Stanley Cup Final will mark the first time a major sports league airs games in ASL, with each game of the series between Edmonton and Florida featuring deaf broadcasters doing play by play and color analysis. Game 1 is Saturday.

The National Hockey League (NHL) and P-X-P in partnership
will produce a first-of-its-kind, alternate telecast to stream during the Stanley Cup Final dedicated completely to the Deaf community using American Sign Language (ASL). The telecast will be made available to stream on ESPN+ in the U.S. and Sportsnet+ in Canada. NHL in ASL will feature Deaf commentators providing real-time coverage of play-by-play and color commentary in ASL during each game of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.

“Our continued partnership with P-X-P allows the NHL to do something no other major professional sports league has done before: provide a fully immersive, unique, and accessible viewing experience that specifically meets the needs of the Deaf community, enhancing their enjoyment of our ever-growing game,” said Kim Davis, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs. “This NHL-led production further exemplifies the League’s commitment to producing accessible and interactive content for all of our fans – including those in underserved communities. Fans of all abilities are encouraged to tune-in to experience this first-of-a-kind telecast as a way to understand and share the experience with someone who is Deaf.”

The telecast will feature former AHIHA Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing alumns Jason Altmann, Chief Operating Officer of P-X-P, and Noah Blankenship, of Denver, CO. Altmann is a proud third generation Deaf from Wisconsin with more than 20 years experience leading teams who serve people with disabilities, and working with others in creating an accessible, equitable, and inclusive environments. Blankenship currently works at the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services nested within the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, under the City and County of Denver.

“The opportunity to do a Deaf-centric broadcast of a premier sporting event in ASL is a positive, seismic change for the Deaf community,” said Altmann. “As a sports fan growing up, I couldn’t relate with the broadcasters because some elements were not well captured with closed captioning. Now, we are creating an opportunity for Deaf sports fans and viewers to watch Deaf broadcasters and feel engaged through ASL. It’s absolutely remarkable.” “This initiative demonstrates a commitment to innovation and inclusivity that we value so deeply at the NHL,” said Steve Mayer, NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer. “This will not be your traditional play-by-play and color commentary, but rather something more conversational and relaxed in nature providing a deeper layer of additional storytelling. This first-of-its-kind production is something we hope and plan to expand on beyond the Stanley Cup Final and into our 2024-2025 season.” The broadcasters will provide ASL visual descriptions of major impact plays, like goals and hits, as well as referee calls and rule explanations to clarify decisions made on the ice. Graphic visualizations will include a large, metered, real-time bar that demonstrates crowd noise levels to viewers, specifically around certain events like goals and penalties. Also included will be custom visual emotes to depict goals, penalties, the intensity of a hit, and whether a puck hits the post/crossbar.

For more information and for additional NHL in ASL content, please visit: https://www.nhl.com/fans/nhl-in-asl