EXCLUSIVE: VERSUS to Air the 2011 World Hockey Championships

Were a little sketchy on the details and games that will be shown, but this is pretty big news. A VERSUS network spokesman confirmed to Puck the Media that the network will be airing select games from the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships, held this year in Slovakia, from April 29 – May 15.

The network has no schedule set as of now, but one would have to think a primary focus will be Team USA, which will feature many NHL players who are not participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which VERSUS will also be covering wall-to-wall during these two weeks, which tend to coincide with the Conference Semi-Finals. The participation of NHL players has been a lightning rod for controversy recently. However, don’t expect there to be any conflicts with any potential Stanley Cup games that would air on VERSUS, as the tournament is held in Slovakia, which has a seven-hour time difference with the east coast of the US.

The United States is competing in Group C, with Sweden, Norway, and Austria. Their games are as scheduled (All times ET):

  • Sunday, April 30 – vs. Austria, 9:15 AM
  • Tuesday, May 2 – vs. Norway, 9:15 AM
  • Thursday, May 4 – vs. Sweden, 1:15 PM
  • The Gold Medal Game takes place on Sunday, May 15 and would be at 1:30 PM ET.

In the past couple of years, the World Championships have bounced around between NHL Network and Universal Sports. There’s a chance the latter may still be involved with the tournament. In fact, it’s entirely possible the agreement to get games on VERSUS is a product of the NBC/Comcast merger, as NBC of course maintains ownership of Universal Sports. Regardless, it’s a solid coup for VERSUS, as they continually mark their territory as the home for important hockey, both in the NHL and abroad.


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