Barry Melrose — considered by many to be the best NHL analyst on television — has sadly been diagnosed with Parkinson’s … and he’ll now be stepping away from his role at ESPN while he battles the disease.
Longtime ESPN personality John Buccigross just made the heartbreaking announcement minutes ago on X … revealing Melrose will be off camera and spending time with his family for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve worked with Barry at ESPN for over a quarter century,” Buccigross said. “Cold beers and hearty laughs in smokey cigar bars. A razor sharp wit, he was always early & looked like a million bucks. I love him. I’ll miss him.”
NEWS: Barry Melrose has Parkinson’s disease and is stepping away from our ESPN family to spend more time with his. I’ve worked with Barry at ESPN for over a quarter century. Cold beers and hearty laughs in smokey cigar bars. A razor sharp wit, he was always early & looked like a… pic.twitter.com/gjjSAEuG2s
“Wayne Gretzky on a life dedicated to hockey,” he added.
Melrose both played and coached in the NHL for years … before he began breaking down games for ESPN beginning in 1996. He took a brief hiatus from the network to coach the Lightning, but returned a short time later.
He’s since become a mainstay on NHL broadcasts — so much so, commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday, “Hockey on ESPN won’t be the same without him.”
“Barry’s gigantic personality and trademark style have made our game bigger, more exciting and more entertaining,” Bettman said.
“His love for hockey is obvious and infectious. And it is impossible to have a conversation with him without a smile on your face.”