Broadcaster - Speaker - Emcee
Leah Hextall is a play-by-play commentator for NHL coverage on ESPN. Hextall joined the ESPN broadcast team in 2021, and is the first woman to do play-by-play as part of an NHL national TV package.
Leah was the first woman to call play-by- play for a nationally televised NHL game, Hextall did so as part of Sportsnet’s first all-female broadcast team in March 2020. She had previously made history as the first woman to call an NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship game for ESPN in 2019.
Leah also made history a year prior as the first woman to call play-by-play for the men’s NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament for ESPN.
In a 2018 article in the Globe and Mail, Scott Moore, former president of Sportsnet and NHL properties, declared Leah a “trailblazer.” Mike "Doc" Emrick, Hall of Fame play-by-play broadcaster for NBC Sports told The Athletic, he believes Leah will be the first woman to do play-by-play for an NHL team.
Over the past 18 years, Leah has been an on-air presence for the largest networks in North America: ESPN, Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and NESN.
Word on the Street
If you want to wake up your audience to take a chance and live up to their potential, Leah's captivating keynote is sure to deliver. Rated as one of SHEday 2019's top speakers - Leah owned the stage delivering a riveting, engaging and authentic account of how to soar with your strengths and deliver on your dreams...simply inspiring! ~ Marina James, SHEDay Founder
Leah Hextall was a reporter for ESPN's coverage of the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Leah did an outstanding job handling multiple assignments during the tournament. Her interviews were insightful and got great answers from the players. She had great knowledge of the history of the tournament and the teams that she reported in game that differentiated our coverage. She was great to work with and had a great work ethic. I believe she can be asset to any broadcast team. ~ Bill Graff, ESPN Sr. Coordinating Producer
We had Leah as our keynote speaker for our Junior A Hockey Sportsman’s Dinner - she was amazing! Her message of perseverance, commitment and encouragement was excellent and inspiring to all in attendance! Her message was high energy, witting and captivating! We would highly recommend Leah to anyone looking for a motivational speaker. ~ Debra Kasprick, Neepawa Natives Board Member
Leah is a hard working, informed, and articulate sports broadcaster. I had the opportunity to work with her in my role as performance trainer with Rogers SN NHL. Her work on the desk, hosting hockey broadcasts and panel discussions, was excellent -- always on point and dynamic. While already established and experienced, she took direction well in an effort to continually build on her skills. I was also able to work indirectly with her on a number of feature profiles she reported, and I was equally impressed with her acumen in that role. It's worth noting that she is particularly strong at conducting meaningful interviews. Her intelligence and enthusiasm combine to make her a natural fit for any pro sports broadcasting market ~ Bob Babinski, Performance Trainer
March 5, 2020
Leah Hextall becomes the first woman to call play-by-play on a nationally televised NHL game for Sportsnet.
By Hailey Salvian, The Athletic ~ March 6, 2020
Leah Hextall was at home in Winnipeg in December when she got the call she’d been waiting for.
Sportsnet executive producer Alison Redmond had a job to offer. The details came fast. On March 8, in Calgary, Hextall would be the play-by-play announcer. Calgary Flames versus Vegas Golden Knights.
“This is an NHL game?” Hextall asked. She hung up the phone and began frantically pacing around the living room, with tears starting to form in her eyes. She was going to be in an NHL booth. On “Hometown Hockey.” Part of the first all-female NHL broadcast on Sportsnet for International Women’s Day.
By Emily Sadler, Sportsnet ~ March 10, 2020
On the ice, it was an NHL game like any other. Behind the scenes, it was anything but. There’s history to be made here when Leah Hextall puts on her headset and becomes the first woman to call play-by-play for a nationally televised NHL game in Canada.
ESPN Front Row ~ March 29, 2019
In anticipation of her pioneering play-by-play role on ESPN's platforms this weekend, Canadian broadcaster Leah Hextall salutes colleagues and family members who have helped pave the way