ESPN | That Is Hockey

October 18, 2023


ESPN's latest hockey campaign showcases Mark Messier's perspective on the sport, highlighting that the game has never been better and positioning ESPN as the platform to catch all the action. Director Jeremy Pettit opened the campaign with “That is Hockey” which captures the essence of the game by combining the fast-paced competitiveness of hockey with Messier's thoughtful reflection on its present state.

Director of Photography Erik Sohlstrom's lighting design sets an exhilarating tone, illuminating Messier as the legendary figure he is while highlighting the ice as his skates cut through. The location for the shoot, secured by producer Tyler Sgueglia, is a New York ice rink, chosen for its stunning facility and as a tribute to Messier's time with the Rangers.

All these elements come together to create the perfect environment that embodies the essence of hockey.


When viewing Pettit's spot, viewers can't help but feel the excitement and exhilaration that hockey brings, as well as the anticipation for its future. The seamless transitions between live hockey footage and Messier's passionate delivery generate a sense of camaraderie among the audience.

Sohlstrom used the beautiful Sony Venice II lens paired with spherical primes, allowing for heroic angles to capture Messier. Additionally, a unique lens filtration was used, creating a light haze that adds a touch of magic to the rink, as if it's begging to be played upon. The lighting design incorporates warm tones that contrast with the cool light shining on Messier, breathing life into the rink.


The shoot itself was completed within a single day, which presented time limitations as a challenge. Working with talent like Messier often means dealing with tight schedules, but our AD coordinated with the crew and the client to ensure a smooth and punctual production flow.

Pettit collaborated closely with Messier to capture the perfect on-camera delivery of his lines, investing time in capturing Messier's love for and belief in hockey.

The crew also had the incredible opportunity to witness Messier skating, a truly amazing experience to see the legend "suit up." The final commercial evokes a similar feeling.

The commercial was nationally aired as part of ESPN's "That is Hockey" campaign launch. It was an amazing experience to witness the commercial playing across numerous locations throughout the country. Filming this spot was an absolute blast, and the Porch House Team extends their gratitude to everyone involved for coming together to create such an exciting and inspiring spot.

- The Porch House Team