Dale Arnold has long been familiar NESN viewers and Bruins fans -- just not in the role he will have on the network's coverage of the Stanley Cup champions this season.
Arnold, who spent 11 seasons as the Bruins play-by-play voice on the network, will return to NESN this season as the studio host for the team's telecasts, industry sources have confirmed.
Arnold replaces Kathryn Tappen, who departed NESN for the NHL Network in July. Tappen had hosted NESN's pregame, in-game, and postgame coverage since arriving at the network in 2006.
Arnold called Bruins home games on the network from 1995-2007 (the 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout), but gave up the job before the 2007-08 season when the network asked him to call road games as well.
At the time, he said he could not make the commitment because of his role as the cohost of WEEI's midday program. Jack Edwards, who had been calling road games in the 2005-06 season, then took over as the full-time play-by-play voice.
Arnold's role at WEEI was significantly reduced in February. In an unexpected lineup shakeup, co-host Michael Holley was moved to afternoon drive while Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni took over the midday program. Arnold was reassigned as the primary fill-in host. He said in retrospect he lamented his decision to leave the Bruins broadcasts.
Arnold, who will remain at WEEI, also co-hosts a weekend program with Steve Buckley and joins Joe Castiglione in the Red Sox booth on Wednesdays when Dave O'Brien has an ESPN commitment.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.