NBC Sports to Air NHL Doubleheader on Hockey Day in America

For the first time in recent memory, and perhaps ever, the NHL will have a chance to show off it’s sport with a doubleheader on national, broadcast TV.

NBC Sports announced it’s coverage today for Hockey Day in America, which will feature an NHL doubleheader, all hosted from McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Chicago’s Millenium Park. From there, NBC will share stories about various displays for love of the game around the nation – from the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minnesota, to celebrity hockey in Los Angeles, to inner-city hockey in Washingon – to celebrate the sport.

After a half an hour of pre-game coverage, NBC will then show three games regionally in the early window, with staggered start times. All viewers will begin the day at the same game at 12:35 PM ET before they get moved to their regional game at no later than 12:45 ET. The early games have not had an exact start time chosen, nor which commentators will call each game, but they’ll be Detroit/Minnesota, Philadelphia/NY Rangers, and Washington/Buffalo.

Later in the day, at 3:30 PM ET, NBC will air Pittsburgh/Chicago nationally, the latest start time for an NHL regular season game on NBC in two years or so. That game will be called by the NHL on NBC’s lead broadcast team of Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury.

In addition to that, VERSUS will be airing the Heritage Classic, live from Calgary, at 6:00 PM ET, giving hockey fans an unprecedented triple-header, broadcast nationally and with all the bells and whistles. It’s something that I don’t think has happened in my lifetime, and I can’t imagine happening any prior time in history. February 20th will be an exciting day, cheers to NBC and VERSUS for giving their all for puckheads.

The complete NBC/NHL press release is after the jump.

NEW YORK – January 19, 2011 – The NHL and NBC Sports will celebrate America’s passion for hockey with the inaugural “Hockey Day in America” presented by McDonald’s on Sunday, February 20.

With six hours of coverage (Noon-6 p.m. ET) – which will include four NHL games – hosted from McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago’s Millennium Park, NBC Sports will tell the stories that demonstrate this country’s affinity for hockey – from hockey parents who chauffeur pee wees to practice before sunrise to the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minnesota, played by amateurs amidst arctic temperatures, to ‘celebrity’ hockey played by actors and producers in Los Angeles to inner-city hockey in Washington, D.C. that has made a difference in the lives of countless children and young adults.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people around the United States who have laced up skates, have chased a puck around a rink and have enjoyed some of the same feelings of freedom and exhilaration that our players do,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “‘Hockey Day In America’ honors that common bond, and NBC Sports will bring the celebration to life.”

“Hockey Day in America” is part of “Hockey Weekend Across America.” Launched by USA Hockey in 2008, “Hockey Weekend Across America” is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the game and those involved at all levels and to expose hockey to new audiences.

“By broadcasting events such as the Winter Classic and Stanley Cup, we have had a front-row seat to the extraordinary passion our country has for hockey,” said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer. “‘Hockey Day in America’ provides us an opportunity to explore and celebrate the depth of the relationship between Americans and this special sport.”

NBC Sports will broadcast four NHL games featuring eight teams from some of the most avid U.S. hockey markets. The first three games will be broadcast regionally with staggered starts. All viewers will begin the day with the same game before some viewers are taken to their regional game. The staggered starts allow for live look-ins of the other regionalized games during intermissions. The fourth game, Pittsburgh at Chicago, will be broadcast nationally. All games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com.

NBC Sports’ “NHL Game of the Week” broadcast team of Mike “Doc” Emrick, (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (game analyst), Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) and Mike Milbury (studio analyst) will call Pittsburgh at Chicago.

The three regional games are Detroit at Minnesota, Philadelphia at New York Rangers, and Washington at Buffalo. Exact start times and commentators for the regional games will be announced at a later date.

“Hockey Day in America” schedule (all times ET):

Noon “Hockey Day in America” coverage begins

12:35 p.m. First regional game begins

12:40 p.m. Second regional game begins

12:45 p.m. Third regional game begins

3:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Chicago (national)

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

One Response to NBC Sports to Air NHL Doubleheader on Hockey Day in America

  1. Branden says:

    Surprised Boston isn’t in this and NY is..

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