NHL Awards Up 35% on VERSUS, Hit 15-year High on CBC

Though the NHL Awards remain a bit of cult event, even among the already niche level of hockey viewers, this year’s telecast showed signs of improvement.

Wednesday night’s Jay Mohr-hosted telecast, which aired live from Las Vegas on VERSUS, averaged 279,000 viewers in the states according to the network. That was up 35% from last year’s broadcast, which drew 206,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, CBC scored 914,000 viewers for the event, which airs on at least a one-hour tape delay in many markets. That was the highest the network had scored for the awards ceremony in 15 years. A total of 1,194,000 viewers tuned in across North America.

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Potential NHL on VERSUS Games For 2011-12

Look, The NHL on VERSUS will probably come back with some sort of different format for scheduling games when the television slates are released in August. Rather than 50-70 slots to fill (the first four years on the lower end and the last two on the higher) they have nearly 90, as NBC and VERSUS are required to air 100 games during the 2011-12 season and throughout the new contract. NBC will take 11 of those, which means VERSUS has about 89 slots to fill.

That means you may see a few more doubleheaders, possibly games on nights you haven’t seen them before, and other potential experiments. One would have to think the network will try a few things, and emphasize getting the quality game over whether or not it’s a night they televise on.

That said, until we have some sort of template, one is forced to continue to look at VERSUS’ Monday/Tuesday (and sometimes Wednesday) arrangement to see what games my grace the eyes of the hockey country this fall. I chose some from the schedule for various reasons (only game that night, only American game that night, and for posterity every Pens/Caps game that NBC doesn’t have) and now present them to you. Please, use the comments to predict some dates that will get the VERSUS treatment next season. REMINDER: This is not an actual schedule, or even as a qualified a guess as the NBC and CBC posts were yesterday, so do not take them as gospel. But enjoy the speculation nonetheless.

October 6
7:00
Philadelphia vs. Boston
10:00 Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver

October 13
7:00
Washington vs. Pittsburgh

October 31
7:00
San Jose vs. NY Rangers

November 7
7:00
NY Islanders vs. Boston
10:30 Los Angeles vs. San Jose

December 1
7:00
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

December 12
7:30
New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay

December 19
9:00
Philadelphia vs. Colorado

January 9
7:30
Vancouver vs. Florida
10:30 Washington vs. Los Angeles

January 11
7:30
Pittsburgh vs. Washington

January 25
7:30
Detroit vs. Montreal

February 6
8:00
Detroit vs. Phoenix

February 13
7:00
San Jose vs. Washington

February 20
7:00
Washington vs. Carolina

February 27
7:00
New Jersey vs. NY Rangers

March 5
7:00
Phoenix vs. Pittsburgh

March 12
7:00
Montreal vs. Buffalo

April 2
7:30
Washington vs. Tampa Bay
10:30 Edmonton vs. Los Angeles