AP sources: NHL reaches 7-year agreement with ESPN

The National Hockey League will return to ESPN beginning next season. People familiar with the deal say the two sides have reached agreement on a seven-year contract that will include four Stanley Cup finals. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been finalized. ESPN and the NHL had no comment. ESPN last had NHL rights in 2004. Since then, NBC has been the league’s national broadcast partner. The league will air on multiple networks in its next agreement and NBC is still among the bidders for the other part of the deal.