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Spanish-Language Broadcasting In The NHL


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American sports are always looking to expand their viewership and bring in new and diverse audiences. As the country gains more and more Spanish speakers, this means that networks have to be more and more accommodating. Other sports such as baseball, which traditionally have had a Spanish-speaking following, have long had Spanish language broadcasts.

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Hockey, on the other hand, has not made much of a splash in Spanish-speaking America. But that is beginning to change. Several NHL teams now have Spanish language broadcasts on the radio.

The introduction of these broadcasts are great for Spanish-speaking hockey fans and for the growth of hockey itself. But broadcasters are running into some problems with how to announce the games. There are English words particular to the game of hockey that don’t have a direct translation in Spanish. So announcers are getting creative.

Spanish Language Announcers  

Announcers are finding creative solutions for how to call hockey games in Spanish. For instance, there is no direct translation for the common call of “high-sticking.” So announcers have been using the phrase “baston alto,” which translates to “high cane.” This translation doesn’t make much sense out of context but when said with feeling, and explained by the announcer it gets to the heart of what “high-sticking” is.

So in this way, Spanish-language announcers are creating a new language, one that brings hockey terminology into Spanish in a way that native speakers can understand.

Another new saying in Spanish-language announcing is “ham sandwich” or “torta de jamon.” Jesus Lopez, calling games for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, uses this phrase to describe a player checking another player into the boards. This turn of phrase is emblematic of the way that Spanish-language announcers are using creative license and a sense of humor to get the point across. This approach seems to be working as we are seeing more and more people tune into the new broadcasts.

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