The National Hockey League announced today that it has reached agreements with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Sports Network (TSN) for national English-language telecast rights of NHL games in Canada. The agreements will continue the tradition of the national telecast of games in Canada for the next five years, beginning with the 2002-03 season and continuing through 2006-07.
Beginning next season, CBC and TSN, combined, will present national telecasts of a minimum of 112 regular-season games, up from 94 this season. In addition, Canadian viewers will see coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs on both networks, including expanded cable coverage of second-round and third-round playoff games.
“We are thrilled to join the CBC and TSN in providing blanket coverage of the NHL from the time the first puck is dropped in October through the presentation of the Stanley Cup,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is an institution across the country every Saturday night, while TSN provides Canada’s passionate fans with outstanding cable coverage.”
CBC will continue to televise doubleheaders each Saturday night during the regular season and will provide coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs, as well as NHL All-Star Weekend and the NHL Award Show.
“We are delighted to continue the great tradition of hockey on CBC Television,” said Harold Redekopp, Executive Vice President of CBC Television. “This deal celebrates the game of hockey and CBC’s commitment to it at all levels: amateur, recreational and professional.”
CBC will continue to have exclusive broadcast rights to the Stanley Cup Finals. Generally, during the first three rounds of the playoffs, CBC will broadcast playoff games on weekends as well as two weeknights. CBC also will carry all games involving Canadian-based teams.
TSN, which served as the League’s national cable partner in Canada from the late 1980’s through 1997-98 and is a partner of the League’s recently launched NHL Network digital channel, returns after a four-year absence, and will broadcast a minimum of 60 regular-season games. Each of the Canadian-based NHL clubs will appear on at least two TSN telecasts each season. TSN also will telecast playoff games not involving Canadian teams during the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs as well as the NHL Entry Draft.
“TSN has always prided itself in delivering the highest quality of content to our viewers from coast to coast,” said Rick Brace, President of NetStar Communications. “The return of the NHL to a national audience has been a top priority for our network. Once again, we have demonstrated our continuing commitment to keep TSN as the number one destination for Canadian sports fans.”
CBC in conjunction with the NHL and TSN, also will unveil “Power Forward” – a new initiative promoting hockey at all levels of the game. CBC and TSN will work with the NHL, amateur hockey and sponsors to hold coaching and skills clinics and to celebrate the game at the grassroots level. Some other initiatives will include a month focussing on women’s youth hockey and another month devoted to excellence in the game. CBC and TSN also will work together on cross promotion of the Stanley Cup playoffs.