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NHL Announces TV Broadcast Schedule

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers


Courtesy of www.nhl.com

More than 90 NHL games will be shown this season on ABC-TV, ESPN and ESPN2, the NHL announced today. Every League team will be seen at least once on the American national telecasts.

This season, the NHL's network partners (ABC, ESPN, CBC, TSN and RDS) have taken advantage of the League's increased divisional and conference play by offering schedules packed with some of the best rivalries in years.

In Canada, TSN will televise one NHL game every Wednesday night during the regular-season as part of the network's extensive 73-game 2003-04 national telecast schedule. All 26 of TSN's Wednesday night games are exclusive, as TSN is the only Canadian network televising an NHL game during that time slot. Sunday is another big day for hockey on TSN, as the network presents 13 Sunday broadcasts throughout the regular season. TSN's 2003-04 NHL coverage gets off to a high-flying start with the NHL season opener on Wednesday Oct. 8 (8 p.m. ET) featuring the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at Dallas in a rematch of last season's Western Conference semifinal.

ABC-TV and the CBC will again show the 54th annual NHL All-Star Game which will be held Sunday, Feb. 8 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. In order to fully cover the dramatic stretch drive to the playoffs, ESPN will provide extensive post All-Star Game coverage for the second straight year.

ESPN's 12th consecutive year of coverage will begin Opening Night, Wed., Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. ET with the network's first-ever three-game regional telecast, highlighted by three of last year's success stories. Two games will include last year's Stanley Cup Finalists: defending champion New Jersey at Boston and Anaheim, the Western Conference representative, at Dallas. The third game will pit Minnesota, coming off a surprise playoff run to the Western Conference Finals, at Chicago.

ESPN2's season-opener Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET will feature goalie Dominick Hasek's first NHL game since returning from retirement in the Czech Republic when Detroit hosts Los Angeles. ESPN2 will continue its extensive regular-season NHL coverage with a 50-game schedule including Sergei Fedorov's return to Detroit Saturday, Jan. 3 (7:30 p.m. ET) when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim visit.

ESPN will show 30 different games in 20 time slots this year. The cable-sports network will offer regional alternatives on eight different occasions. ABC will offer 14 games in five Saturday afternoon times slots later in the season.

ABC's NHL coverage airs Saturday afternoons on Jan. 10, Feb. 14, Mar. 13, Mar. 20 and Mar. 27. ABC finished last season by recording the most-watched NHL game in 30 years on broadcast television. Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final between the New Jersey Devils and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim registered 4.9 million households or 7.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen television data.

ESPN2's NHL 2Night, the definitive highlights and news program since 1996 that stars John Buccigross and Barry Melrose, will follow all ESPN2 telecasts.

The second consecutive year of ESPN Thursday Night Hockey will feature 13 telecasts between Dec. 4 and March 25. ESPN Sunday NHL Specials will return February 15 with the first of six games through March 28.

The 52nd season of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada is sure to contain many new magical moments on the ice in a season containing more all-Canadian matchups than ever before, the Hall of Fame Game on Nov. 1, NHL All-Star weekend and the fifth annual Hockey Day in Canada.

The new season of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada gets its 60-game schedule underway with a special Thursday edition of the show Oct. 9 (7 p.m. ET). Viewers in Ontario will see the Ottawa Senators host the Montreal Canadiens at the Corel Centre. Later, viewers across the country can tune-in as the Calgary Flames take on the Canucks in Vancouver (10:30 pm. ET).

History will be made Saturday, Nov. 22 (6:30 p.m. ET), when CBC's Hockey Night In Canada visits Edmonton for the Oilers 25th anniversary. To commemorate the event, the Oilers will play the Montreal Canadiens at 55,000-seat Commonwealth Stadium in the "Heritage Classic"?the first-ever NHL outdoor game. RDS, the NHL's French-Language partner, also will telecast the "Heritage Classic," and once again will show all 82 Montreal Canadiens games this season as well as 14 Ottawa Senator games.

The NHL Center Ice, HDTV, International and Radio schedules will be released at a later date.
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