Rangers fans over the age of 30 already know the special place that Channel 9, WWOR-TV, holds in Blueshirts history. This season, newer generations of Blueshirts fans will also get a taste of the Channel 9 experience.
Thanks to a special partnership between MSG and WWOR-TV, now known as My9, Sunday afternoon's game between the Rangers and Dallas Stars will air on Channel 9, as will a Dec. 16 home game vs. Phoenix. It will mark the first time in nearly 20 years that a Rangers game has been seen on the station which has such a rich history of broadcasting New York teams for the local audience.
For more than two decades from the mid 1960s to 1989, the bulk of locally televised Rangers brodcasts aired on Channel 9. All of the great players from this era -- names like Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle, Eddie Giacomin, Phil Esposito, the Maloney brothers and Ron Duguay -- were seen by fans watching WWOR.
In its sports heyday, the Secaucus, N.J.-based station truly embraced local fans. The New York Knicks, New York Mets, New York Islanders and more could be seen on WWOR during this era, as it built itself up into a local sports superstation in the days before cable and ESPN.
Channel 9 carried Rangers games in two seasons that the team went to the Stanley Cup Finals – 1971-72 and 1978-79. Its hockey announcers were legendary, particularly the team of Jim Gordon and Bill "The Big Whistle" Chadwick, who combined to call the vast majority of Rangers game during the 1970s and literally welcomed an entire generation of youngsters to the sport of hockey with their passion for the game.
This season's two Channel 9 games will help spread interest in the Rangers as well, since Channel 9 is available in some areas where MSG is not normally viewed, particularly among those who do not normally watch cable television.
Sunday's game and the Dec. 16 matchup will be called by current MSG announcers, and the MSG production crew will produce the broadcasts in HD. After each of the games, fans can switch to MSG to watch a half-hour post-game show followed by a "Rangers in 60" version of the game that aired on My9.
In addition to the two Rangers games, WWOR-TV will air two New York Knicks games this season on Dec. 30 vs. Chicago and March 30 vs. Atlanta.
"We are excited to offer our award winning coverage of the Knicks and Rangers games to WWOR-TV," said Lydia Murphy-Stephans, executive vice president, programming and production for MSG. "Our partnership with WWOR-TV is on strategy for increasing the exposure of our content and making our games available to a broader audience."