Jennifer Botterill delivers expert analysis of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Whether you watched the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the United States or Canada, you’ve probably seen Jennifer Botterill share her knowledge of the game.
Throughout the 2021-2022 season, the three-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey has been on the airwaves on both sides of the border. She is in her second season on the Rogers Sportsnet/Hockey Night in Canada panel. This year she also signed with Turner Sports for the inaugural NHL season on TNT and TBS, where she worked as an ice level analyst and studio panelist.
Last week, that meant being on the air at 10 p.m. ET Friday night in his hometown of Toronto, for Game 2 of the Battle of Alberta Series between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Then she flew to Atlanta on Saturday morning to join the TNT panel for Saturday’s spectacular Game 3 between the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues.
“Every day is different when it comes to the playoffs,” laughed Botterill, reached by phone from her home last Friday afternoon. “In terms of preparation, I was lucky. I snuck in some rest this afternoon, which takes you back to your days as a gamer. When you can take a little nap before the game, it always helps.
“For me, part of my routine on these busy days is also spending time with my family,” said the mother of three young girls, who all play hockey themselves now. “Taking my kids to school in the morning, then making sure I get some fresh air. I went for a good jog this morning with my youngest daughter, along the lake, and then I had the chance to come home and finish some of my preparation that I did: notes and phone calls with the producers and making sure we’re all ready and organized for a big show tonight.
Now 43, Botterill joined the ranks of NHL broadcasters in the 2018-19 season, distribution of tasks between the benches with former Harvard Crimson teammate AJ Mleczko for New York Islanders games on MSG Networks. The pandemic put this mission on hold in March 2020.
With cross-border travel still an issue when the next NHL regular season began in January 2021, Botterill had the opportunity to join Sportsnet’s broadcast team in his hometown. She quickly rose through the ranks.
This year, she was a panelist on Saturday night’s flagship “Hockey Night in Canada” program. In the first round of the playoffs, she launched her own segment, called “Botterill’s Breakdown”.
“We collaborated on the idea for this segment,” she said, of working with Sportsnet’s production team to bring the idea to life. “We talked about the possibility of that. Then I introduce the material and what I would like to talk about during the segment. »
In addition to his duties in Canada, Botterill has worked 17 games so far this season with Turner Sports. She was back between the benches about twice a month during the regular season and for three games in the first round of the playoffs. She also handled reporting duties during the coldest Winter Classic in NHL history on New Year’s Day in Minnesota, and she served on the panel in Atlanta for three playoff games.
Building on the success of their “Inside the NBA” studio show, the ‘NHL on TNT‘ is known for mixing serious analysis with a healthy dose of irreverence.
“They want it to be a fun environment,” Botterill said, “Whatever personality you want to bring, they encourage you to let it shine.”
Working at Turner Studios is very different from her Canadian experience, she added.
“They also had their coverage of the basketball playoffs, so they also had some of their personalities and talents from their basketball show there.
“There are a lot of people coming and going, with a lot of enthusiasm for the sport. And Charles Barkley — he loves hockey, so he comes to watch the game with us for a few minutes and then comes back to do his show.
Considering how successful Botterill has been in her playing career, it’s no surprise that her strong work ethic and hockey smarts quickly propelled her into the top ranks of hockey broadcasters.
Born into an athletic family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she was just 17 when she became the youngest player to play for Team Canada in the first-ever women’s hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics in 1998. After winning a silver medal, she headed to Harvard and received an Ivy League education — and an honors bachelor’s degree in psychology — while helping to develop Crimson’s women’s hockey program.
Botterill won his first of five World Championship gold medals with Canada after his freshman year. She won her first of three Olympic gold medals in 2002. She won the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best women’s college hockey player in her junior and senior years, while serving as a team captain. And she still holds a number of NCAA and women’s college hockey records, including the most points ever in a season – 112 points in 32 games, or an average of 3.5 points per game, in 2002-03.
After helping to open doors for female broadcasters at the NHL level, women are now beginning to have more opportunities in the world of men’s hockey. Most notably, Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato were hired by the Vancouver Canucks as assistant general managers earlier this season.
Botterill’s older brother, Jason, also played hockey. He is a three-time Junior World Championship gold medalist and has worked in NHL management since 2007, currently serving as assistant general manager of the Seattle Kraken.
Jennifer isn’t ruling out the possibility of one day following in her brother’s footsteps.
“I feel so lucky,” she said. “I really love what I’m doing right now, and I also feel incredibly grateful that I was able to balance that with having a family.
“Right now is a special moment for me. But as I think about the future, it’s important to keep your options open and think about what kind of impact and possibilities you might want to explore in the future.
“I feel so encouraged — and yes, there’s a lot of work to be done. But I really hope that for any role – whether it’s in the world of broadcasting or production, whether it’s in coaching, in management, in a leadership role in these organizations – if you’re qualified, regardless of your gender, this should be an option for you.
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