Jamie Hersch, the NHL Network studio host and Champlin native, will be part of the NHL Network’s second-annual all-female production of the daily NHL Now show from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Hersch will be joined by co-host Jackie Redmond, plus the Minnesota Whitecaps Kendall Coyne Schofield as studio analyst.
Q: Could you tell me about the "NHL Now'' broadcast?
A: It’s going to be great. We actually did this last year, and it was fantastic. The biggest thing I like to tell people is that it really wasn’t all that different from a normal ''NHL Now.'' The only difference is we just all just happened to be women talking about hockey on the show. To have that just be a normal occurrence, a normal idea is really special to prove that it isn’t that strange for women to know hockey, to analyze hockey and talk about hockey. That was a great, successful show, and it was really well-received by everyone involved.
We’re going to do it again this year, and we’re really excited to have Kendall Coyne join us as an analyst. A lot of the correspondents who will join us are regular correspondents on the show -- Caley Chelios for the Lightning, Lauren Gardner for the Avalanche and Lyndsay Rowley for the Predators. Again, they just happened to be women, and it worked out that they could join us.
Q: How long has this been in the planning stages?
A: We did this last year for the first time, and it was probably a month or two before when one of the producers at NHL Network came up with the idea to celebrate Hockey is for Everyone. We always try to think about how we can work with the league to promote their initiatives. Hockey is for Everyone was a monthlong idea at the time, but now this year, they’re spreading their events out throughout the season. … It’s really great to see the league promote diversity, I think better than any other league at this point has.
Q: You made it back for Hockey Day Minnesota in Bemidji. How was that experience?
A: It was fantastic – it was very cold. I don’t have to tell Minnesotans that this has been a brutally cold winter; they know that all too well. It was really fun to be back. Spending three seasons working there with all the great men and women at Fox Sports North, it was just so fun to reconnect and reunite with a lot of my old friends and coworkers. The games themselves certainly didn’t disappoint. We made it through. We made the best of a really cold day.
Q: Do you still get a chance to follow Minnesota high school hockey will all your duties?
A: I’ll keep an eye on the state tournament, for sure. A lot of my Twitter feed is people from Minnesota that I follow, so it’s hard to ignore. We’ll usually try to show a little bit of it on our “On the Fly’’ nightly broadcast when it comes down to the championship round, because it is such a big deal in Minnesota. I’m not going to say I follow high school hockey every week during the season, but certainly the closer it gets to state tournament time, I’m keeping one eye on it even though it’s busy in the NHL as well.
Q: Do you miss attending the state tournament?
A: It is a really special event. I do miss that a little bit. Unfortunately, it’s right in the middle of the NHL ramping up to the playoffs.
Q: Are you keeping a close eye on the Wild?
A: I am, as the resident homer in the office. You should see my office. It’s covered with Minnesota décor, whether it’s the Twins and of course, the Wild. The Wild have been so great to me. If there’s a promotional giveaway they’re trying to spread the word about. The Joe Mauer warmups, they sent me one of those, which was very generous.
I try to go to a Wild game when they’re out here [in New York] visiting the Rangers, Islanders and Devils. I was at Madison Square Garden a couple weeks ago, and I loved seeing the Wild get back on the winning track after a real struggle.
From a national perspective, we have a responsibility to report equally on teams, but I also think that people understand that we are fans first. I think people watching like that you can show your personality, and people know I’m from Minnesota and a Wild fan.
Q: What’s your opinion on the Wild’s trade deadline moves?
A: I was very ‘intrigued’ is the word I’ll use. I’m really still scratching my head a bit about the Nino Niederreiter trade earlier. It’s been great for him, and he’s made a huge impact in Carolina and hopefully will lead that team to a playoff berth. As far as the Charlie Coyle trade, that could be really great for all parties involved. Charlie will be motivated to play even better in his hometown, and the Bruins are a really nice for him. He had a lot of opportunities over the years in Minnesota and just never seemed to get to that level. I hope it works out for him, and I think already it’s worked out for Ryan Donato. So far, it’s been nothing but positives for him in Minnesota.
I’m still giving it time to see what Kevin Fiala can bring. That still remains to be seen, but it was a tough situation for [Wild GM] Paul Fenton to be in, because this team really hasn’t shown us that they are prepared to make much of a playoff run or even necessarily get in the playoffs. They’re very much a bubble team right now. … I think Paul Fenton did the best of a tough situation of not trying to give away the future but still giving this team a chance to make the playoffs this year.