Fantasy Hockey

JT Brown hired by Kraken as TV analyst for inaugural season


Brown will partner with veteran play-by-play announcer John Forslund on ROOT Sports Northwest during the Kraken’s inaugural season in 2021-22. He joins a small but growing group of former black NHL players working as broadcasters locally and nationally.

“What better way to retire, stay in hockey, join a great new organization and what it’s trying to do,” Brown said. “I believe they want to be a leader when it comes to diversity, whether it’s racial diversity or gender diversity, on and off the rink with their hire. It’s something I really want. be a part. For me, I think all the stars lined up and that’s something I was supposed to do. “

The 30-year-old scored 72 points (23 goals, 49 assists) in 365 NHL games for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild from 2011 to 2019. He scored six points ( one goal, five assists) in 41 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Brown played for IF Bjorkloven at Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second-highest professional league, in 2020-21 and scored 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 16 regular season games.

Like the most recently retired NHL players, Brown’s broadcast experience is limited. He did a few radio shows when he played for Syracuse in the American Hockey League from 2012 to 2014.

He said he was eager to learn from Forslund and Everett Fitzhugh, the Kraken radio host.

“I work with John Forslund, who I would say is one of the best if not the best,” Brown said. “I was put in a position to be successful and to learn from the best. I know the hockey side, but being able to learn the broadcast side is a challenge. But it is something that I am in a good position to learn and I am able to succeed. “

Throughout his playing career, Brown has balanced his love of hockey with his passion for the game and his work on social justice and anti-racism issues.

On October 7, 2017, he threw his fist in the air during the United States National Anthem before the Lightning played for the Florida Panthers to protest police brutality and racism.

“We are delighted to welcome JT to the Kraken,” said Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke. “His experience as a player winning a [NCAA] championship (in 2011 with Minnesota Duluth) and participating in the Stanley Cup final [with Tampa Bay] gives him a unique insight into what it takes to compete night after night at the highest levels of hockey. Outside of the rink, JT’s values ​​and dedication to the community mirror our own. “

Brown may be an unfamiliar face now to most viewers, but he has cultivated and expanded hockey’s audience through social media. His Twitch channel, where he interacts and plays with and against other players, has generated almost 90,000 views and he has 25,500 Instagram followers.

He hosted a Fortnite Marathon in 2018 when he played the game for 24 hours and raised $ 1,300 for the NHL Hockey is for Everyone initiative. The event included a two-hour charity game with NHL players Brock Boeser, Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, Nick bonino and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Brown competed in the “House of Chel” gaming event with other top 19 NHL players during the 2019 NHL All-Star Game which aired on NHL Twitch for four days.

“I have skills that are not necessarily directly related to broadcasting, but at the same time I feel like I can learn and I am willing to put in the time and energy to learn this craft,” said Brown. .

Bryce Salvador, a former New Jersey Devils captain who is a hockey analyst for MSG Networks, said Brown’s social media expertise would come in handy on television.

“Everyone does Twitter, everyone does social media and has an opinion and can express that opinion,” Salvador said. “Because of that, there is a demand for really polite guys. Guys who come into that role, maybe they’re doing Twitch or Twitter or whatever, they’ve got a lot of reps talking and they’re up for it. leave, against Bryce Salvador, who had no real representatives to his credit. “

Brown becomes the last former black NHL player to put down his stick and pick up a microphone.

He joins Salvador and former forward Jamal Mayers, who has performed analysis on Chicago Blackhawks TV shows for NBC Sports Chicago for the past eight seasons after a stint on the NHL Network.

Former defenseman Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre has been a studio analyst for the Columbus Blue Jackets for Bally Sports Ohio, formerly Fox Sports Ohio, since 2019.

Kevin Weekes, a former goaltender, became the first black hockey analyst on national television when he joined “Hockey Night in Canada” in 2009. He is now a mainstay of the NHL network.

Former forward Anson Carter joined NBC Sports in 2013 as an NHL and college hockey analyst. Anthony Stewart, a three-team NHL veteran, is a studio analyst for “Hockey Night in Canada” and is on “Hockey Central” on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.

“There is a lot to learn for sure,” Salvador said. “I kind of thought you would come over and everyone would say, ‘Bryce, this is what we want you to talk about.’ It was like, ‘No Bryce, that’s all you wanna talk about.’ You script it, you create the content, you learn on the fly. “

Brown said he had already learned a valuable lesson from television: be yourself.

“That’s why they hired me,” he said.