NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League today announced the creation of NHL ORIGINAL PRODUCTIONS, an initiative that will join forces with renowned executive producer Ross Greenburg, through Ross Greenburg Productions.
Greenburg, who has won 51 Sports Emmy awards for his pioneering work at HBO over three decades, will work with the NHL's Content Group on NHL Original Productions initiatives.
NHL Original Productions will create original, long- and short-form hockey programming for NBC Sports and the League's media assets, beginning later this season. The new venture reflects the partnership forged between the League and NBC over the past six years and reaffirmed by the 10-year media rights deal signed in April, 2011. The launch of NHL Original Productions is the latest collaboration between the NHL and Greenburg – an alliance that produced two critically-acclaimed programs on HBO: Broad Street Bullies and the Emmy Award-winning 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.
NHL Original Productions also will develop original content for use by the League's media platforms (NHL Network and NHL.com) as well as national and regional rightsholders.
"Extending our programming and production capabilities through this relationship with Ross Greenburg will allow us to do more story-telling, bring fans further inside the game and promote our players through compelling content that our avid fans crave and new fans will embrace,” NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said. “As we continue to grow our business, NHL Original Productions will enable our Content Group, headed by Executive Vice President Charles Coplin, and our Clubs and rightsholders to benefit from Ross’s unparalleled talent and experience to present our sport in new ways.”
Among the projects on the drawing board for NHL Original Productions in 2011-12 are “Day in the Life” player documentaries revealing the regimens and personalities of NHL players appearing in NHL on NBC games. Plans also are being developed for documentaries and features to coincide with the lead up to the NHL’s Centennial Celebration in 2017. Greenburg also will work with independent producers and filmmakers to produce hockey films and other documentaries and reality-based series focused on the sport.
"Though I've long been a fan of the game, my passion for hockey -- particularly the way it is played at its highest level in the NHL -- was intensified by working on the Broad Street Bullies and 24/7 projects," Greenburg said. "Hockey players compete in a sport that requires an unmatched combination of world-class skill and relentless toughness, all the while remaining the most approachable and genuine of professional athletes. I am thrilled to be able to tell their stories in exciting and innovative ways and delighted that I'll be working so closely with the NHL for years to come."
In his 33 years at HBO – beginning as a production assistant, as an award-winning executive producer and, for the last 11 years, as the president of HBO Sports – Greenburg was instrumental in the creation of several of the network’s signature shows and series. Those included the sports magazine series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the NFL training camp reality series Hard Knocks, and the 24/7 franchise which provides all-access build-ups to boxing matches and the NHL Winter Classic. The last project Greenburg supervised before leaving HBO in July was a documentary on New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits.
That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.
— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4