HBO's "24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs as they prepare to meet in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014, will premiere Dec. 14.
HBO will debut a new episode of the third season of the critically acclaimed series on four consecutive Saturday nights, beginning with the Dec. 14 debut. The series follows the teams simultaneously, chronicling their highs and lows each week, and builds to the sixth edition of the Winter Classic, when more than 100,000 fans are expected to attend the game at the "Big House" on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
For the first time, Sportsnet will give fans in Canada access to the series, which will be available in 8.5 million households. Sportsnet, which holds regional television rights to the Maple Leafs and four other Canadian teams, will show the series on four consecutive Sundays, beginning Dec. 15.
24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS
Head coaches Mike Babcock of the Red Wings and Randy Carlyle of the Maple Leafs, along with a host of key players, are in the spotlight as the two clubs battle through busy December schedules.
|Debut: Sat. Dec. 14, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT|
|Dec. 14 (4:30 a.m.), 15 (8:30 a.m.), 16 (5:30 p.m., 2:25 a.m.), 17 (2:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 18 (5:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 19 (midnight), 20 (11:45 p.m.) and 21 (11:00 a.m.)|
|HBO2 playdates: Dec. 15 (midnight), 20 (9:00 p.m.) and 30 (11:30 a.m.)|
This is the third edition of "24/7" to highlight NHL teams as they prepare for the Winter Classic. HBO followed the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the 2011 game and did the same with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers prior to the 2012 Winter Classic.
"HBO's '24/7' has been a game-changer for us," said John Collins, NHL chief operating officer. "The wide-open access our clubs provide on and off the ice gives a real sense of what it takes to play in the NHL and just how special our players are. Our fans love it, and there's no question new fans have been attracted by watching the games and the personalities come alive through the lens of HBO's storytelling.
"Red Wings-Maple Leafs will provide no shortage of great stories, and having Sportsnet as our first partner in Canada will make this year's edition bigger than ever."
Detroit and Toronto are longtime rivals as Original Six members of the League. The organizations first played each other Jan. 4, 1927, and the teams have met seven times in the Stanley Cup Final. As part of the NHL's realignment for the 2013-14 season, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs are in the same division, the Atlantic, for the first time since 1997-98.
"Taking our '24/7' reality series into the world of the National Hockey League has been a riveting experience that our subscribers have thoroughly enjoyed," said Rick Bernstein, executive producer of HBO Sports. "The '24/7' franchise is fashioned on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines and unrestricted access. The cooperation provided by the teams, coaches and players is the special ingredient that has made this program a landmark series."