CBC To Take Hockey Clinics Across Canada

Parents, players and coaches involved in minor hockey are once again invited to be part of the ultimate hockey clinic experience with coaching greats and CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA personalities in partnership with Hyundai Auto Canada. Hyundai Hockey Nation will occur over weekends between November 2011 and January 2012 in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Participants can register online exclusively at http://www.cbcsports.ca/hockeynation.

Hyundai Hockey Nation features a series of fun and highly informative clinics, available free to players of all skill levels. The clinics will be run by one of Canada’s foremost hockey trainers, Ron Davidson, working with local minor hockey associations. Davidson, a member of Canada’s hockey team at the 1980 Olympic Games, is the author of Play Better Hockey, a book focused on skills development.

Joining Davidson at select clinics will be veteran NHL coach Pat Quinn, who was behind the bench for the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, L.A. Kings and Philadelphia Flyers over the course of his career. He coached Team Canada to Gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the 2008 World Under-18 Championship and the 2009 World Junior Championship.

“Hyundai Hockey Nation is all about delivering a truly remarkable and valuable hockey experience,” said John Vernile, Vice President of Marketing at Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “It’s not every day that children can learn valuable skills from some of the best professional hockey instructors in the world. The program also connects minor hockey coaches with a team of world-class professionals to learn how to develop the strategies and tactics to help kids play better, smarter and safer hockey.”

Hyundai Hockey Nation gets underway in Halifax on the weekend of November 18-20. Each camp starts on Friday night with a coaching symposium that will provide valuable insight for coaches ranging from practice planning and management to in-game strategy and execution. The focus shifts to the kids on Saturday and Sunday with interactive on- and off-ice clinics offering hands-on coaching instructions and drills for the registered players. Each event will be open to all community residents.

Hyundai Hockey Nation event schedule:

Date City Location

Nov 18-20 Halifax, NS BMO Centre

Nov. 25-27 Montreal, QC Centre Civique Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Dec. 9-11 Ottawa, ON Ray Friel Recreation Complex

Dec. 16-18 Toronto, ON Downsview Arena

Jan. 6-8 Winnipeg, MB Max Bell Arena

Jan. 13-15 Calgary, AB Acadia Recreation Centre

Jan. 20-22 Edmonton, AB Millwoods Recreation Centre

Jan. 27-29 Vancouver, BC South Surrey Arena

At Some Point, There Needs to Be a ‘Red Zone’ Type Channel For Big Hockey Nights

During my time at the Sports Business Journal’s Sports Media & Technology Conference in New York last week (more on that later in this week) I spoke to Marc Sokol, Executive Vice President of NeuLion, the company that has brought you the miracle of GameCenter Live (another thing I will get to later in the week). The most interesting thing I took away from our chat was that, when I posed to him what the “next big thing” might be for this sort of technology, he wasn’t really certain. One of the ideas he mentioned to me, however, was one that I’ve been pondering – and a few other folks I converse with fairly regularly have been thinking about – for quite some time: an NHL edition of the NFL Red Zone channel.

Now, I work at an NFL stadium that hosted a primetime game last night, so from around 5 p.m. ET on, they had the Red Zone channel on all of their big screen TVs. The thing basically redefines everything you thought watching football on television could be. Even if you have a rooting interest in one of the teams playing on Red Zone (which I did) you don’t necessarily feel like you’re missing anything essential. That said, it’s way better when you’re not following a team on a football Sunday. I’ve become way more interested in teams I used to not care about since the channel was invented. It’s a sugar-rush for the ADD generation, and loses everything that bores me about football.

So there’s got to be a way we can do this for hockey, right? Here are three separate proposals:

1. An actual ‘NHL Power Play’ Channel/app. A channel that simply cuts around to every NHL game each night when the game either hits a power play, the last few minutes of the period or game, cutting to highlights in between. No analysts, just a host to direct traffic from game to game. There is an obvious logical problem to making it happen: hockey doesn’t play enough games every night. Well, only do it on nights when there are seven games or more to make it feasible to have enough material for a long night of hockey. This may not be do-able as a television channel, but what about as an app for tablets and on the internet, as an addendum for NHL Game Center Live? You can buy it, stand-alone for say … $70, or get it for $20 if you buy GCL.

2. Do it only on Saturdays, on NHL Network. Give up the 7 p.m. ET Saturday night game on NHL Network, which doesn’t really do anything for anyone when it isn’t a Hockey Night in Canada game anyway. Use the formula I mentioned, and go from 7 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. ET with NHL Power Play, or just a Red Zone-ified NHL On the Fly. Promise no analysts or chatter until possibly the late games, just a host. You can still show Coach’s Corner and Satellite Hotstove during the intermissions, and even wrap-up with After Hours, the HNIC post-game. That way, NHL Network can still air games on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Saturday nights will be devoted to this, and possibly the last week of the season or on NHL Trade Deadline day.

3. Add it to NHL Center Ice. Center Ice currently has this awkward channel way down the dial where they’ll show four games at a time in little boxes (sort of like what you can do on Game Center Live). Replace this channel with Power Play. Hell, you don’t even need a host for it, just whip people around to the games, let them know where they’re going and why they’re going there (show the penalty or display it as a graphic) and let everyone enjoy the hockey.

I’m curious to see which, if any of these, you folks would be interested in. Please leave your opinion in the comments. For now, back to watching hockey the old way, with just two channels and one showing highlights of every game. We’re all so spoiled sometimes.

Your NHL National TV Schedule For the Week of November 14

Monday, November 14

Buffalo vs. Montreal, 7:00 p.m. ET, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Kenny Albert
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Tuesday, November 15

Colorado vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS/TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Color: Brian Engblom
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Wednesday, November 16

Carolina vs. Montreal, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

New Jersey vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Thursday, November 17

Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network (US)

Saturday, November 19

Philadelphia vs. Winnipeg, 3:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

Detroit vs. Los Angeles, 4:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network

Washington vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC (Airs nationally, except in Quebec)
Play by Play:
Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Andi Petrillo

NY Rangers vs. Montreal, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC (Airs in Quebec)
Play by Play:
Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Cassie Campbell

Chicago vs. Edmonton, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Scott Oake