Leah Hextall hails from a widely known hockey household, however she made her personal mark on the trade.
Hextall grew to become the primary lady to name the NCAA males’s hockey title sport for ESPN in 2019, and is she is now the primary lady to function the play-by-play announcer for the nationally-televised NHL video games. It’s a job she enjoys, Hextall advised The Athletic’s Sean Fitz-Gerald, however it’s an trade that should change.
ESPN struck a seven-year deal to cowl the streaming, media and tv rights of the game, and Hextall joined the crew final 12 months. However as she navigated her first season, she says her social media accounts grew to become overwhelmingly crammed with criticism and abuse at a quantity she had but to see in her decade-plus profession in sports activities media.
Hextall described the messages to The Athletic as “Vile. Sexist. Misogynistic. And threatening.” There’s one second particularly the place it escalated.
Earlier this summer time, Hextall spoke at a conference hosted by The Coaches Site and shared her expertise within the trade. Close to the top, she detailed one of many worst messages she has acquired, which got here through the playoffs. Based on Fitz-Gerald, it was not despatched by way of social media however moderately to her e mail by way of the web site for her public talking enterprise.
“It mentioned, ‘You reside in Winnipeg. It wouldn’t be very arduous to trace you down,’” she recounted to the viewers. After the person threatened to assault Hextall, the individual continued, “‘And after I’m performed with you, I’ll then put a gun in your mouth and blow out your brains so nobody has to listen to you name a hockey sport once more.’”
Hextall mentioned to the viewers, “That’s not one time. I’ve a full folder.”
The broadcaster determined to delete the message moderately than report the word to the police, displaying solely per sister.
Hextall mentioned to Fitz-Gerald, “I like my job, and I like what I used to be doing, however it was very troublesome this 12 months. It wasn’t enjoyable. It wasn’t displaying as much as the rink and feeling like I used to be working in a sweet retailer, prefer it often would after I cowl hockey. … There was a variety of, greater than something, psychological gymnastics to undergo. There was a variety of criticism—not simply inside the social media viewers, but in addition inside the brethren of hockey—that I used to be not used to going through. And a variety of it appeared to stem from my gender.”