NEW YORK (August 18, 2011) – The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today the television schedules for national partners NBC Sports, VERSUS, CBC, TSN, TSN2, RDS and NHL Network U.S. for the 2011-12 NHL regular-season.
In the U.S., NBC Sports and VERSUS, which will be re-named NBC Sports Network effective Jan. 2, enter the first season of the landmark 10-year agreement between the NHL and NBC Sports Group announced in April. This marks the seventh consecutive season each network has been a national television partner. In Canada, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada begins its 59th regular-season of NHL® broadcasts. TSN, whose relationship with the NHL dates back to 1987, continues as the national English-language cable partner. French-language telecast partner RDS has been televising NHL games since its inception in 1989 and enters its ninth consecutive season presenting every Montreal Canadiens game.
NBC Sports and VERSUS this season are offering hockey fans more coverage than ever. The schedule is highlighted by 100 regular-season games across NBC and VERSUS, which will be re-branded the NBC Sports Network on January 2. The coverage includes exclusive cable coverage on Wednesday nights, added games on Sunday nights including many exclusive nights, and live 30-minute pre- and post-game shows for every game on VERSUS. NHL Overtime also returns this season.
A new tradition will begin this year on NBC when the network starts its NHL broadcast coverage on Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., with a 1 p.m. ET original-six match-up featuring the Bruins against the Detroit Red Wings in Boston. This will be the earliest in the season an NHL game has appeared on NBC in the past seven seasons.
CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada features a 109-game broadcast schedule (including pre-season games) for the 2011-12 season, including a total of 29 all-Canadian match-ups. The 2011-12 schedule features 22 Winnipeg Jets games, 28 Montreal Canadiens games, 26 Toronto Maple Leafs games, 20 Ottawa Senators games, 17 Vancouver Canucks games, 13 Edmonton Oilers games and 12 Calgary Flames games.
A total of 77 regular season games will air on TSN, with 73 games featuring at least one Canadian team. TSN retains English-language exclusivity of Wednesday Night Hockey with a total of 30 games including four double-headers. TSN also tees up the regular season with pre-season action featuring Canadian clubs. TSN2’s regular season schedule features an additional 74 exclusive live NHL games.
RDS will again telecast all 82 Montreal Canadiens games. The network also will televise a package of games featuring other NHL teams and full coverage of the NHL All-Star weekend.
NHL Network U.S. this season will televise 78 live games for its American audience, all in HD, focusing on Thursday nights and Saturdays, including some doubleheaders. The last two Stanley Cup champions, the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, will square off against each other on NHL Network U.S. Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8:30 p.m. ET and a special 4 p.m. ET game the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. will feature the Rangers in Washington to face the Capitals. On Saturday evenings, NHL Network U.S. will again incorporate highly acclaimed CBC programming “Coaches Corner” and “Hotstove” into intermission content for American fans, and the network will have U.S. coverage of CBC’s Hockey Day In Canada on Feb. 11.
In addition, NHL Network’s signature show, NHL On The Fly™, returns across North America nightly providing highlights and analysis of every NHL game. As always, the network will bring NHL fans exclusive coverage from all of the NHL’s signature events. Information on the dates and times of the NHL Network live-game schedule for Canadian viewers will be released in the near future.
The 2011-12 NHL regular-season opens on Thursday, Oct. 6 – just 49 days from today – with NHL Face-Off.™ In both the U.S. and Canada, fans will be treated to a national doubleheader. On VERSUS, the Boston Bruins raise a Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters of TD Garden for the first time since 1972 when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m. ET. CBC will open with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting their long-time rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. Later that night, at 10 p.m. ET, both CBC and VERSUS will have live national coverage from Rogers Arena as the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This season, four NHL teams – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers – will be playing regular-season games in three European capitals – Stockholm, Helsinki and Berlin – in 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere. VERSUS and TSN on Friday, Oct. 7, present the Kings and Rangers from Stockholm, while the Sabres and Ducks play in Helsinki on TSN2. On Saturday, VERSUS and TSN will televise the Ducks versus the Rangers from Stockholm, while TSN2 has the Kings and Sabres live from Berlin. This is the fifth-straight year the NHL will contest regular-season games overseas and the first NHL game ever in Germany.
NHL regular-season play returns to the city of Winnipeg on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. ET when the Jets host the Montreal Canadiens in the first NHL season and home opener in the Manitoba capital since 1995. CBC will have national coverage of the game in Canada, while NHL Network will bring the game to U.S. viewers.
The annual Hall of Fame Game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 12, when the Maple Leafs host the Ottawa Senators at 7 p.m. ET. CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada will once again provide full coverage of all of the festivities that evening. The Hall of Fame inductions are Monday, Nov. 14.
The NHL’s biggest stars gather in Ottawa when the Senators and the city of Ottawa host the 2012 National Hockey League All-Star Celebration with the NHL SuperSkills® on Saturday, January 28, and the 59th NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, January 29. The action from both nights will be covered live by CBC, RDS and NBC Sports Network, with celebrations and events in the city and around the region beginning Thursday, Jan. 26.
For the first time in the 12-year history of CBC’s Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, the network will host the event from Prince Edward Island on Saturday, Feb. 11. All seven NHL teams based in Canada will be in action on CBC during the network’s day-long celebration of the sport.
NBC Sports this season presents “Hockey Day in America” on Sunday, Feb. 19, featuring six hours of coverage and eight teams from some of the most avid U.S. hockey markets. The coverage will start at noon ET with three regional games with staggered starts (Pittsburgh at Buffalo, San Jose at Detroit, St. Louis at Chicago) followed by a national broadcast of Boston at Minnesota at 3 p.m. ET.
In the 2010-11 season, the NHL and its television partners continued across-the-board growth while reaching new ratings and viewership records, including:
· The highest average North American audience for a Stanley Cup Final in history across NBC, VERSUS, CBC and RDS.
· The highest viewership for any NHL game ever on CBC (Stanley Cup Final Game 7) and the highest viewership in CBC history for the opening round of the playoffs.
· The highest viewership for any NHL game on U.S. television in 38 years for NBC’s coverage of Stanley Cup Final Game 7.
· The 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on NBC was the most-watched regular-season NHL game in the U.S. in 36 years.
· TSN’s regular season viewership increased by eight percent.
· VERSUS in 2010-11 televised the top two and four of the top five most-watched regular season NHL games in the network’s history.