Get your living rooms set up, hockey fans. It’s time to start planning some dedicated beer and chips time to the old Man (or Woman) Cave. The NHL broadcast schedule has been released by NBC Sports Group, per the NHL’s website, and it appears more games than ever will be available on various cable packages.
First, there’s the most prolific source of NHL broadcast coverage, the NBC Sports Network. They will remain busy next season airing hockey games, per the piece. “NBCSN will offer most games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights throughout the season. Beginning in January, a Sunday game will be added most weeks. NBCSN drops the puck on its coverage on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m.”
The mother ship, NBC, will jump on board with its first game to be aired on Black Friday, November 28, in a tilt between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
The Winter Classic will feature the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals and will once again air on New Year’s Day on NBC.
Also returning is the Wednesday Night Rivalry broadcast on NBCSN, which has been a hit for the network. “Since the debut of Wednesday Night Rivalry last season, NBCSN has recorded nine regular-season games with more than 700,000 viewers vs. four over the previous two seasons.”
Even better than more rivalry games on Wednesday will be NBCSN’s determination to air more Western Conference games on Wednesday night after the initial featured match. Given that the Western Conference is considered deeper and stronger than the Eastern Conference, this will give hockey fans in the East more opportunity to see some of the best teams in the league.
Scroll to the bottom of the release and you’ll find the rest of the broadcast schedule, which is mostly what you’d expect from a national cable network. Lots of New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc fill the schedule. Oh, and TV ratings darling Buffalo is back. Despite finishing with the worst record last season, the team will be featured on NBCSN a whopping ten times next season. That’s what happens when your city devours hockey all year.
For now, enjoy your summer, but soon enough the NHL will be back. Now you can plan those big nights out around when your team will be on national television.