NHL Network Ready to Face-Off

NEW YORK/TORONTO (September 30, 2010) – NHL Network cameras will chronicle all the events and capture all the excitement of 2010 NHL Face-Off™ when the puck drops on the 2010-11 NHL season on Thursday, October 7, with an all-day celebration in Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.

From its vantage point at the center of the Square, NHL Network™ will overlook a synthetic ice surface and capture the essence of 2010 NHL Face-Off with three hours of live programming from 4 -7 p.m. ET. The broadcast will air live performances and exclusive interviews with three of Canada’s top bands — Hedley, Down With Webster and Hey Rosetta! — while keeping viewers updated on the plays of the day and scores from the afternoon’s European match-up.

Roving reporter Christine Simpson, NHL On The Fly™ host Brian Duff and panelist Mike Johnson will take viewers inside all of the activities happening on the square –including a hotstove session with Maple Leafs’ alumni Darryl Sittler, Wendel Clark and other special guests.

Simpson will visit the many hockey-theme interactives on-site and speak with the parents, kids and guests participating in the on-ice skill clinics. NHL Network also will offer a unique opportunity to all those fans in attendance who aspire to a career in television broadcasting — On The Fly studio analysts Larry Murphy, Bill Berg and Craig Button will give fans the chance to host a virtual On The Fly newscast.

NHL Face-Off, the NHL’s annual season-opening event, will run from noon until the conclusion of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at Air Canada Centre. The NHL® will treat fans to live musical performances; interactive attractions that test hockey skills; prizes and giveaways, including the chance to win a trip to the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic™; special guest appearances, including those by former NHL players; food, beverage and merchandise tents; and live CBC and VERSUS game broadcasts on giant video screens, including the Dundas Square video boards. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and VERSUS also will broadcast from the event throughout the day, including portions of CBC’s pre-game show, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, which begins nationally at 6:30 p.m. ET.

NHL Network Schedule – Thursday, October 7 (all times ET; all programs air in HD in U.S.)

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. NHL On The Fly Season Preview: Eastern Conference

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. NHL On The Fly Season Preview: Western Conference

11:30 – noon NHL On The Fly 2010 Premiere Special

Noon – 2:00 p.m. NHL Live!

2 – 4:00 p.m. 2010 Stanley Cup® Final: Game #6 Chicago @ Philadelphia

4 – 7:00 p.m. 2010 NHL Face-Off

7:00 p.m. NHL On The Fly

NHL Continues to Miss the “Punk Rock” Memo with NHL Face-off Performers

NEW YORK / TORONTO (September 29, 2010) – Three of Canada’s top musical acts have joined the line-up for NHL Face-Off™, the Oct. 7 opening day hockey and entertainment festival at Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today. Multi-platinum chart toppers Hedley will perform a number of its hits at the 2010-11 season opening celebration. Juno-nominated hometown sensation Down With Webster will bring its explosive musical set to the NHL Face-Off stage. Critically acclaimed rock band Hey Rosetta! will open the free concert with a late-afternoon performance. Fans will be able to take part in the festivities at Dundas Square and enjoy the free performances and a host of other activities starting at noon.

Hedley is currently in the midst of their second, sold-out Canadian national arena tour. The Vancouver-based group – lead singer Jacob Hoggard, bassist Tom McDonald, guitarist Dave Rosin and drummer Chris Crippin – is riding high on the success of their current album, The Show Must Go. Released in Canada in November 2009 – and coming soon on Island Def Jam in the U.S. – the album has produced a trio of Top 5 singles, including “Perfect,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Cha Ching,” which they performed in the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The band recently scored three wins at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards, including Video of the Year (“Perfect”) and Pop Video of the Year (“Cha-Ching”). The band also recently had a record-breaking tenth #1 video on MuchMusic.

Since their self-titled debut in 2005 with Universal Canada, Hedley has received 11 Juno Award nominations. Their first album went double-platinum, producing the chart-topping single, “On My Own” and other hits “Gunnin,” “3-2-1” and “Trip.” Their second album, Famous Last Words (Universal Music Canada) released in 2007, also went double platinum with Top 5 hits “For the Nights I Can’t Remember,” “Never Too Late” and “Old School” and garnered five MuchMusic Video Awards at the 2008 ceremony. Hedley will be hitting the road in the U.S. starting Oct. 4. For tour dates and more details, visit http://www.hedleyonline.com.

Described as a seven-member, genre-bending, musical juggernaut, Down With Webster (DWW) draws on disparate influences to create a wholly original musical feast. Grammy Award-winning producer and rapper Timbaland calls DWW “the most amazing, creative and innovative band that will come out in 2010. They’re the illest group I’ve ever seen live.” A relentless touring band, DWW has built a fanatical following with nearly every DWW show sold out. Down With Webster begins a six-week North American tour with 3Oh!3 in mid-October.

DWW’s Universal Motown debut, the mini-album, Time To Win, vol. I was released in October 2009. The album has already spawned three Canadian hit singles and music videos – platinum-selling “Rich Girl$,” which peaked at #9 on the Canadian charts, Top 40 in the U.S. and #1 on MuchMusic; platinum-selling “Your Man” which reached #7 on the charts and #1 on MuchMusic; and the latest single, “Whoa Is Me,” which has just cracked the Top 20 and is rocketing up the chart – and garnered industry accolades, including the band’s first Juno Award nomination for Best New Group and two MuchMusic Video Award nods. The follow-up mini-album, Time To Win, vol. II, will be released in early 2011. For the latest news on DWW, visit http://www.facebook.com/downwithwebster.

Hey Rosetta! is a six-piece rock band from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Band members Tim Baker (vocals, guitar, piano), Josh Ward (bass, backing vocals), Adam Hogan (lead guitar), Phil Maloney (drums), Kinley Dowling (violin) and Romesh Thavanathan (cello) have been hailed for their intelligent songs, powerful recordings and energized and evoking live shows.

In only five years, Hey Rosetta! has received numerous honors – including three East Coast Music Awards in 2009, the Canadian Music Week’s Indie Award for Best Album in 2009, XM Canada’s 2008 Verge Award for Best Album – and was a finalist for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize, all for the 2008 album, Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood). In 2009, the band released a 7” single and digital EP entitled Red Songs. They recently completed work on a third full-length album to be released early 2011. For more about Hey Rosetta!, visit http://www.heyrosetta.com.

NHL Face-Off is the NHL’s annual season-opening event. This year, the celebration

comes to Dundas Square in downtown Toronto on Oct. 7. From noon until the conclusion of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at Air Canada Centre, the NHL® will treat fans at Dundas Square in Toronto to live musical performances; interactive attractions that test hockey skills; prizing and giveaways, including a trip to the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic™; special guest appearances, including former NHL players; food, beverage and merchandise tents; and live CBC and VERSUS game broadcasts on giant screens, including the Dundas Square video boards. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, VERSUS and the NHL Network™ will broadcast live from the event throughout the day, including portions of CBC’s pre-game show, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, beginning nationally at 6:30 p.m. ET.

NHL/NHLPA Finally Agree on Something: Fighting Cancer

NEW YORK / TORONTO (September 29, 2010) – Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month will once again share the spotlight in October with the start of the 2010-11 NHL season. For this season’s month-long initiative, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Prostate Cancer Canada, ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to raise funds and awareness for this important cause. The NHL and the NHLPA will distribute more than $475,000 in grants to these four organizations as well as local cancer charities in all 30 NHL markets. For the 13th straight year, the NHL and the NHLPA will mobilize the entire hockey community in hopes of exceeding the $650,000 raised as part of last year’s efforts.

Hockey Fights Cancer will donate to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to fund a Pediatric Research Grant. Hockey Fights Cancer’s grant to Prostate Cancer Canada will establish a fund to support the needs of Canadian men fighting the disease. ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer will use its donation to provide free on-board testing in select markets and fund several grants to medical centers and hospitals conducting prostate cancer education and screening programs for high-risk populations. Hockey Fights Cancer’s contribution to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will be used to co-sponsor an innovative research grant, which supports cutting edge research in pancreatic cancer. In addition, Hockey Fights Cancer will distribute $10,000 to each NHL club to support local cancer organizations in their respective markets.

For the first time ever, fans can now donate to the cause via mobile phone. Starting today, U.S. residents

can text HFC to 90999 to make a $5 U.S. donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Canadian residents can text HFC to 45678 to make a $5 CAD donation to the Canadian chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A one-time charge of $5 U.S. or CAD will be added to the donor’s mobile phone bill. Message and data rates may apply.

The entire hockey community, including all 30 NHL clubs, players, management and fans, will once again

join the fight with a busy month of events and activities. Each NHL® club will designate one home game as its

Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. Events will include on-ice presentations, 50/50 raffles, promotional

giveaways, contests and discount ticket offers. Arena suites and tickets will be donated to children’s hospitals

and cancer-affiliated programs, and young patients will be involved with in-game opportunities – including rides on

the ice resurfacer, puck-drops, radio booth visits and player meet-and-greets. There also will be on-line, live and

silent auctions of signed items including helmets, sticks, jerseys and other team merchandise. Several clubs will

continue to promote awareness by participating in local hospital visits and fundraising runs and walks.

Lavender, which represents awareness for all cancers, returns as the designated color for this year’s initiative and will be worn by the hockey community throughout October. And back by popular demand is the commemorative Hockey Fights Cancer tie. The dark lavender tie is custom woven, 100% silk with stripes and featuring an embroidered Hockey Fights Cancer logo throughout. The tie, manufactured by Fairway & Greene, also features a custom woven Hockey Fights Cancer label. NHL coaches, broadcasters and team personnel will wear the commemorative tie during all regular-season games in October and players will wear a Hockey Fights Cancer decal on their helmets.

In addition to the commemorative tie, fans of all ages will have a wide assortment of one-of-a-kind apparel and products to purchase in support of Hockey Fights Cancer, including ladies’ track jackets and men’s caps by Reebok; ladies’ caps by New Era; men’s, ladies’ and kids’ tees by Old Time Sports; and the NHL® Dream Capsule by UPI Marketing. Rounding out this year’s catalog is Best of the Decade: Reflections of Hockey’s Past Ten Years, the fourth book is an annual visual celebration series, published by the NHLPA and the NHL, together with Getty Images, NHL Images and Greystone Books. This edition chronicles the highlights and candid, behind-the-scenes images highlighting the NHL’s first ten years of the new millennium.

Starting October 1, the commemorative tie, jacket, caps, book, t-shirts and NHL® Dream Capsules will be available at shop.nhl.com, select team stores and the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City. Copies of the book autographed by team captains will be auctioned on nhl.com and nhlpa.com in mid-October. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all these products will benefit Hockey Fights Cancer.

“Through Hockey Fights Cancer, the NHL family continues to build upon its long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues to demonstrate that our biggest assist happens off the ice,” said Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Vice President of Community Affairs. “We are proud to continue our support of the charitable work of our teams through a $10,000 donation to each club’s local cancer fighting efforts and national donations to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer, Prostrate Cancer Canada and The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The NHL family has raised more than $11 million to support cancer awareness and research and remain committed to helping find a cure for cancer.”

“NHL players are proud to help continuing to make a difference through Hockey Fights Cancer, together with the entire hockey community, in this meaningful search for a cure to such a terrible disease that has tragically impacted us all,” said Devin Smith, NHLPA Director, Marketing & Community Relations. “We are looking forward to the month of October successfully furthering our efforts to raise awareness, an annual tradition for NHL players and the hockey community since 1998.”

Below is a schedule of Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Nights:

October 15

Vancouver @ LOS ANGELES

October 16

Edmonton @ CALGARY

October 17

Phoenix @ ANAHEIM

Carolina @ VANCOUVER

October 18

Ottawa @ PITTSBURGH

Dallas @ TAMPA BAY

October 19

Carolina @ SAN JOSE

October 20

Vancouver @ CHICAGO

October 21

San Jose @ COLORADO

Calgary @ DETROIT

Pittsburgh @ NASHVILLE

Dallas @ FLORIDA

Anaheim @ PHILADELPHIA

October 22

Tampa Bay @ ATLANTA

Ottawa @ BUFFALO

Calgary @ COLUMBUS

October 23

Nashville @ DALLAS

San Jose @ EDMONTON

Buffalo @ NEW JERSEY

Pittsburgh @ ST. LOUIS

Atlanta @ WASHINGTON

Montreal @ OTTAWA

New York Rangers @ BOSTON

October 27

Atlanta @ NEW YORK RANGERS

October 28

Washington @ MINNESOTA

October 29

Montreal @ NEW YORK ISLANDERS

October 30

New York Rangers @ TORONTO

Tampa Bay @ PHOENIX

Florida @ MONTREAL

November 3

New York Islanders @ CAROLINA

Hockey Night in 3D

He shoots, he scores and the puck is so close Canadians can almost touch it. Imagine watching Canada’s favourite sport in 3D! CBC and Panasonic Canada announced today they will bring the first-ever 3D broadcast of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada into Canadian homes. Two broadcasts of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada will be available to Canadians in 3D this upcoming season – Montreal versus Toronto on Saturday, December 11, and the Heritage Classic from McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Sunday, February 20, 2011.

“We are very pleased to partner with Panasonic on this unique and ground-breaking initiative,” says Scott Moore, Executive Director, CBC Sports and General Manager, CBC Media Sales and Marketing. “Together we will be bringing an experience to Canadian hockey fans that has never been done before. This is a Canadian first and a very exciting time for television and hockey in Canada.”

“Panasonic is at the forefront of 3D innovation, leading the charge on developing technology for both industry professionals and everyday Canadians,” says Ian Kilvert, General Manager, Corporate Brand Management, Panasonic Canada Inc. “Panasonic’s state-of-the-art Professional Full HD 3D Camera is poised to take Hollywood by storm, and our award-winning Full HD 3D VIERA televisions, and recently launched Consumer 3D Camcorder are bringing the 3D experience home. With our expertise and cutting edge products, it makes sense to partner with the CBC to help bring the first-ever 3D hockey viewing experience into Canadian living rooms.”

Jeremy Roenick Joins Battle of the Blades as a Judge

Announced today at CBC’S BATTLE OF THE BLADES press event held at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, NHL fan favourite Jeremy Roenick joins the hugely popular hit series as a permanent judge. Starting this Sunday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. Roenick will join head judge Sandra Bezic as the critical voice, judging the eight formidable pairs of female figure skaters and ex-NHL hockey players competing to win the hearts and votes of Canadians nationwide.

Throughout Roenick’s 20 year professional hockey career he scored 1216 points in 1,363 games playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. A favourite of hockey fans and teammates alike, Roenick was awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy (MVP) and Yanick Dupre Memorial (Class Guy) team awards. His brash and honest assessment and reputation for speaking from the heart as well as his experience as an analyst for NBC during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and 2010 Stanley Cup Finals are sure to result in a season full of entertaining and controversial sound bites from the judging booth.

Bezic and Roenick, joined by a rotation of celebrity guest judges, will score the pairs using the 6.0 system. Following the live performance show viewers nationwide have the opportunity to vote. The two pairs with the lowest number of votes will compete the following evening in the official Skate Off during the live BATTLE OF THE BLADES results show on Monday nights at 8 p.m. The judges then determine which pair deserves a second chance to continue on in the intense competition and which pair will hit the bench.

Canadians nationwide can vote by mobile phone text message, web or phone after each Sunday performance show until 2 a.m. ET on Monday mornings. Text voting costs 15¢ per text message. Proceeds (after carrier costs) from text message votes will go to the voted for pair’s charity. For more vote information, please visit http://www.cbc.ca/battle. In addition to videos and behind-the-scenes photos, the site offers viewers the opportunity to become fans of their favourite pair and track each participant’s activities as they strive to win the competition.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES is the brainchild of Kevin Albrecht, with development by Sandra Bezic. BATTLE OF THE BLADES executive producers are John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby and Kevin Albrecht. It is produced by Insight Productions in association with CBC Television. BATTLE OF THE BLADES airs live on Sunday and Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC Television.

New VERSUS NHL Promo

NHL To Embrace Streaming in Local Markets, on Mobile Devices

From John Ourand of Sports Business Journal:

The NHL believes it has a game-changer in convincing regional sports networks to embrace in-market streaming of live games — by extending the rights to mobile devices.

NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said the league is close to an agreement that would have many of its 24 U.S.-based teams launch in-market streaming of live games on both broadband and wireless platforms, marking a potential sea-change in the way fans can view local game telecasts.

Fox Sports Net, which holds the rights to 13 teams, is the one closest to agreeing on a deal allowing in-market live streaming to both broadband and mobile devices, sources said. Comcast SportsNet, which holds the rights to four teams, also is talking to the league.

A deal with either RSN heavyweight instantly would make the NHL’s in-market streaming efforts much broader than other leagues’ offerings. MLB, for example, has only two teams operating an in-market service; the NBA has just one team with concrete plans to stream games in its coming season.

Four Good and Four Bad Things HBO Can Do For the NHL

Its been kind of difficult to form a real opinion on 24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. Not because I don’t care, because largely there’s not a real argument against it. I mean, so what if they make it all-Crosby/all-Ovechkin all the time? You’re getting an inside look at what could be the Gretzky and Lemieux of this generation in their prime. The NHL wishes it could’ve gained that kind of exposure back them. The Great One and Le Magnifique did not even appear on network TV until 1991!

In the end, this could be something that NHL TV nerds like myself point to as a turning point for the sport on the small screen. It could also be sort of a hot mess. Anywho, here’s a list of some things that can go right and some things that can go wrong.

Good

1. Shine a Light on the Personalities Beyond Ovechkin/Crosby

Look, we all know that Sid and Alex are the calling cards here. They are likely the only reason HBO even had interest in doing this in the first place. They can cite “Rivalry” all they want, but fact is, without these two, there really is no rivalry. Regardless, the Jets season of Hard Knocks focused on a ton of players that I didn’t really give a crap about, and turned them into intriguing, three-dimensional personalities. The power of HBO: Where even Mike Rupp can seem interesting!

2. Create More Interest in the Winter Classic

The Winter Classic didn’t quite take a step back last year, but it certainly didn’t go forward. The NHL now needs to create more of a hype machine around the event now that the initial thrill of “OMG! Hockey Outdoors in a [sport] stadium!” has worn off. This, along with a cycle of features on VERSUS and promotion on NBC, will create an unparalleled buzz for an NHL event that hasn’t been seen since the Glowing Puck.

3. Loosen the NHL Up

Doesn’t it feel like the NHL has a bit of a bug up it’s ass sometimes? Let’s have a little fun, show these guys as the twentysomething millionaires they are. Show a little bit of the nightlife that the single fellas are living. Obviously not to the point where were seeing things we shouldn’t be seeing NHL players do that isn’t being leaked by Deadspin … but let’s see Ovie dancing with some hot young socialites out in the DC nightlife.

4. Maxime Talbot, Unplugged

More of this:

Bad

1. Make it all about the Foul Language

In the wake of the flap between Rex Ryan and Tony Dungy about the fact that Rexy uses awful, dirty words that harm no one, unlike Dungy, who openly preaches anti-gay beliefs and tries to resuscitate the careers of dog murders, there will likely be a buzz of what will and won’t be uttered on TV by some of the players. I imagine it won’t be a big deal, and it shouldn’t be. I’d expect we hear some four-letter bombs from Bruce Boudreau. Just don’t turn this into all of that.

2. Make it all about Crosby/Ovechkin

For obvious reasons.

3. Make it all about Bruce Boudreau

Boudreau is an intriguing guy. He could very well be the Rex Ryan character in all this. But he works best in small doses, and one can tend to get tired of him. Make sure there isn’t an overdose of the man they call “Gabby”. Make sure you balance it out with some Disco Dan Bylsma, even if he may not seem anywhere near as interesting, or have a book out, or a ton of commercials out.

4. Try and Put Things in Terms of Other Major Sports

If there’s one thing hockey fans loathe, it’s when they’re condescended to and told – in an attempt to draw non-fans to hockey – about the way things go in hockey as a metaphor for like, football or something. Liev Schriber doesn’t need to tell me the Penguins are like [NFL team] or the Capitals Bruce Boudreau is like Rex Ryan or anything like that. Just don’t talk down to us, and show us some great footage, and we’ll be on good terms.

Your Morning Music Song

We’re back. As back as we can be. Some stuff to post today. Enjoy it.

Bettman: 24/7 an Opportunity for “Hockey Fans and Sports Fans” to Get to Know NHLers

It’s clear that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sees the debut of 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic as a huge coup for the league.

Speaking in a press conference with the NHL’s COO John Collins - who Bettman said was “responsible” for the idea – and HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg, Bettman said that 24/7 would be “an absolutely fantastic opportunities to bring hockey fans and, in fact, all sports fans an opportunity to see our players and see our game in ways that they’ve never been able to do it before and in ways that perhaps no fans of any sport have ever been able to do it before.” Greenburg added that allowing HBO cameras into a regular season sports locker room was “unprecedented access.”

What will the series provide an insight into? Greenburg promised to “bring you into the team meeting rooms, into the locker rooms, the planes on chartered flights, at home, everywhere these players, coaches, assistant coaches go during this four week stretch. That is at the heart what this 24/7 series is all about, to bring you, the viewer, access you’ve never been given before so you understand what it takes to be a professional athlete and compete at this high level.”

So … will the players adapt to HBO not having to abide by the FCC’s standards and practices for “foul language” on television too? Greenburg: “every once in a while you might hear a little salty language with a little Canadian or Russian flair to it.” How does Bettman – the commissioner who suspended Sean Avery for making a sex joke – reconcile this? He says that “If this is going to be authentic, it needs to be authentic and guys aren’t going to be scripted” but noted that “My guess is, before we air the first show, we see what we have, there will be the appropriate reviewing and critiquing and warnings of who should be watching it.” Greenburg added that HBO has total editorial control, though that won’t go as far as strategy and injuries.

Bettman and Greenburg both alluded to the fact that Heinz Feild’s conversion to set up for the Winter Classic will also be a part of the series “There’s a third team involved as we go to the run?up in the Winter Classic, that’s going to be the NHL crew that’s in the process of converting Heinz Field into a hockey rink. There probably will be some footage of the Steelers coming off the field and the crew immediately going on to begin the conversion that has to be done in record time to get A quality ice ready for a regular-season game.”

In the end, the show might not be as good if not for what Bettman called “both the Capitals and Penguins from the top down, ownership, president, managers, players, coaching staffs, have been across the board excited and supportive of this project”

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