NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced the national television schedules of NBC, VERSUS, CBC, TSN and RDS for the 2008-09 regular season.
In the U.S., VERSUS and NBC return for a fourth season as the NHL’s national television partners. In Canada, CBC begins its 56th consecutive year of NHL broadcast coverage while TSN, which began covering the NHL in 1985, is once again the national English-language cable partner. RDS, the French-language telecast partner of the NHL, enters its sixth year of NHL coverage. This season, RDS will televise all 82 of the Montreal Canadiens’ games and 29 other NHL games to be announced at a later date. Sister network RIS will carry 45 NHL games. NHL Network begins its fourth season of televising live regular season games in Canada and its second season showing live games in the U.S.
The NHL season opens 51 days from today in Europe when four teams venture overseas for NHL PremiereTM 2008. On Oct. 4-5 the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning will play two regular-season games against each other in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will start the regular-season by playing two games against each other in Stockholm, Sweden. It is the second consecutive year the NHL will open regular-season play in Europe. In 2007, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings faced each other in two games at London’s O2 Arena.
On Jan. 1, NBC in the U.S. and CBC and RDS in Canada will televise NHL Winter ClassicTM 2009, featuring the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks playing outdoors at historic Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. The game, which starts at 1 pm ET, will be the second regular-season outdoor NHL game played in the United States and the third regular-season outdoor game in League history.
The 57th NHL All-Star Game will be played Jan. 25 in Montreal, which will host the 2009 game as part of the celebration of the club's 100th anniversary. The game, as well as All-Star Saturday on Jan. 24, will be seen live on VERSUS in the U.S. and CBC and RDS in Canada.
CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA has a 69-game broadcast schedule for the 2008-09 season headlined by 25 all-Canadian match-ups. CBC’s NHL coverage begins on Oct. 4, and features a week full of must-see hockey including three games from Europe, a Thursday night doubleheader kicking off the NHL season in North America on Oct. 9 and an all-Canadian traditional Saturday night doubleheader on Sat. Oct. 11. CBC'S HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA will celebrate its ninth annual broadcast on Sat., Feb. 21 from Campbellton, New Brunswick.
TSN begins its new six-year broadcast and digital rights agreement with the NHL featuring more coverage of Canadian teams than ever before. The network will televise 70 regular-season games in 2008-09 and, for the first time, all games will feature at least one of the NHL’s Canadian teams and will be available nationally in high definition. Highlights of the NHL on TSN schedule include two all-Canadian match-ups featuring rivals Ottawa at Montreal (November 11) and Edmonton at Calgary (December 31), and a minimum of 10 games for each of the six Canadian teams.
VERSUS opens its fourth year of NHL coverage with an international doubleheader on Sun., Oct. 5, when the Lightning and Rangers face-off in Prague at 12 p.m. ET, followed by the Penguins-Senators match-up in Stockholm at 2:30 p.m. ET. VERSUS’ schedule includes a season-high eight appearances by the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Penguins. The Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals are all making seven appearances each. In total, VERSUS will televise 56 regular-season games, All-Star weekend, games in each round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. Every game on VERSUS is produced and shown in HD where available.
After NBC launches its NHL coverage New Year’s Day with NHL Winter Classic 2009 from Wrigley Field in Chicago, the NBC NHL “Game of the Week” drops the puck on Sunday, Jan. 18 when the Penguins host the Rangers. The NHL and NBC will again collaborate on flexible scheduling for NBC's regular-season dates, providing fans the most exciting match-up available. NBC will select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled game, a game will be selected for broadcast on NBC. All NBC “Game of the Week” games will be broadcast on Sundays and all games will be presented in High Definition. NBC will again broadcast games in the postseason, including Games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup finals in prime time.
NHL Network this season will televise 75 live games for its American audience and 40 live NHL games for its Canadian viewers. All games shown in the U.S. will be in HD. More information on the dates and times of NHL Network’s 2008-09 schedules will be released in the near future. In addition, the network’s signature show, “NHL On The Fly,” returns nightly providing highlights and analysis of every NHL game.