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Disney and ESPN’s NHL Big City Greens Classic 2 Gives Hockey an Animated Overlay | Exclusive Video

ESPN, Disney Branded Television and the National Hockey League are teaming up for NHL Big City Greens Classic 2. The live, animated NHL game telecast featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins airs Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m. ET.

In this exclusive clip, Cricket and Gramma from Disney Channel’s “Big City Greens” have a little chat with the Penguins’ Brad Marchand. It’s a hoot.

Last year’s Big City Greens Classic featured the Washington Capitals squaring off against the New York Rangers, with first-of-its-kind volumetric animation presentation.

This year’s game will feature real-time, virtually created animations of NHL players modeled after characters on the Disney Channel series. ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ will present the live, animated telecast, while the traditional telecast will be available on ABC and ESPN+.

The presentation will blend two types of tracking technologies — NHL EDGE positional data (NHL Puck and Player tracking) and Hawk-Eye Innovations optical tracking — to create more dynamic player and character movement to help fans better visualize detailed limb and stick mannerisms. Additionally, characters from “Big City Greens” will coach the players — Gramma will coach the Bruins, while her grandson Cricket will coach the Penguins. The intermissions will also feature characters competing against one another.

All the voice talent from “Big City Greens” will be a part of the show, including co-creators and executive producers Chris Houghton (Cricket) and Shane Houghton (various characters), Marieve Herington (Tilly), Zeno Robinson (Remy) and Artemis Pebdani (Gramma).

Disney has done this kind of thing before. Last year, the “Toy Story” gang took over an NFL game (with Duke Kaboom performing during halftime) for Toy Story Funday Football. Other networks and studios have since gotten in on the act, such as this year’s “SpongeBob SquarePants”-led Super Bowl.

These specific games, including the Big City Greens Classic 2, are part of an effort by teams and networks to get the entire family involved in watching live sports, using the latest in cutting-edge technology. Game on!

The Pittsburgh Penguins play the Boston Bruins Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m. ET.

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