North Dakota/Denver Draws Best College Hockey Audience of the Season for NBCSN

Now here’s another interesting way that college hockey is different from the professional game: a 10 p.m. ET game out-drew a 7:30 p.m. ET game Friday night on NBC Sports Network.

The Denver/North Dakota night cap on NBCSN drew 86,000 viewers on Friday night, for a game that started at 10 p.m. ET. Not only is that better than the game that aired before it, it’s the top college hockey numbers for NBC this season, according to the numbers I’ve found throughout this season. North Dakota is an extremely well known program as hockey schools go, so this is no surprise.

The aforementioned early game, Boston University vs. lowly Vermont, was less impressive, scoring 38,000 viewers.

(Source: @TVSportsratings)


Your Announcers and Open Thread For Tonight’s College Hockey Doubleheaders

Ohio State vs. Miami (OH), 6:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Net
Play by Play: Eric Frede
Color: Dave Starman
Reporter: Shireen Saski

Boston Univ. vs. Vermont, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Net
Play by Play: Ron Vaccaro
Color: Ken Hodge

Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, 8:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Net
Play by Play:
 Ben Holden
Color: Jim Paradise

North Dakota vs. Denver, 10:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Net
Play by Play:
 Gord Miller
Color: Kerry Fraser 

Yale-Harvard Gives NBC Top College Hockey Numbers

College Hockey on NBC Sports Network drew it’s best numbers on record with two historic programs and one historic rivalry.

Yale-Harvard on Friday, January 27th drew 82,000 viewers. Still a small number, but the best available on record for the network’s college hockey coverage to date, which began on December 31. The previous high on record was 74,000 for Michigan-Notre Dame the week before. The game grew in big numbers from it’s lead-in, CNBC Sports Biz: Game On!, which drew just 18,000 viewers. NHL Overtime, which followed the game and was live from Ottawa at the NHL All-Star Game, drew 42,000 viewers.

College Hockey on NBC Sports Network Available Ratings

January 6 – Dartmouth vs. RPI, 38,000 viewers
January 20 –
Michigan vs. Notre Dame, 74,000 viewers
January 27 –
Yale vs. Harvard, 82,000 viewers

(Source: The Voice of TV

Updated NHL and College Hockey Ratings for the Week of January 16th

Monday, January 16

6:00 NBC Sports Talk – 29,000 viewers
NHL Live – 57,000
Dallas vs. St. Louis – 238,000
NHL Live 66,000
NHL Overtime – 42,000

Tuesday, January 17

6:00 NBC Sports Talk 52,000
NHL Live 24,000
Nashville vs. NY Rangers – 224,000
NHL Live 120,000
12:00 NHL Overtime 23,000

Wednesday, January 18

6:00 NBC Sports Talk – 10,000
NHL Live 107,000
Buffalo vs. Chicago – 466,000
NHL Live 168,000
NHL Overtime – 49,000

Friday, January 20
NBC Sports Talk – 15,000
CNBC Sports Biz: Game On! – 8,000
Michigan vs. Notre Dame – 74,000
NHL Overtime 34,000

(Source: The Voice of TV)

College Hockey Starts Slow on NBC

Despite a production outfit that is top notch and NHL caliber announcers, college hockey has begun as a bit of a tough sell on NBC Sports Network.

The game between Dartmouth and RPI on Friday, January 6th on NBCSN drew just 38,000 viewers. There are no numbers available from the New Year’s Eve battle between Boston University and Notre Dame, so these are the first figures we’re able to look at. The game still nearly tripled it’s lead-in (a new episode of Darren Rovell’s CNBC Sports Biz: Game On – 13,000) and considering the somewhat dubious timeslot and competition from other college hockey games going on at the time, there’s some positives to be taken from all this.

Here’s United States of Hockey’s Chris Peters on What You Need to Know Before VERSUS Launches Into College Hockey Tomorrow

Editor’s Note: I really don’t know much about college hockey. Or junior hockey, for that matter. I get into the Frozen Four and World Juniors, but that’s the limit. But the NCAA game takes a big step forward tonight, aligning itself with the same television network as the NHL (VERSUS/NBCSN) for a 16-game package that includes the Hockey East semi-finals and finals. So, to catch a Puck the Media reader up on what they’ll be watching, I enlisted the affable and talented Chris Peters, of the solid United States of Hockey site. Enjoy.

When NBC announced that it would carry a number of college hockey games on VERSUS/NBC Sports Network, the enthusiasm felt by college hockey fans nationwide was palpable. With regular-season college hockey on basic cable and on the network that carries NHL broadcasts, the NCAA game has been granted unprecedented exposure and a chance to reach a wider audience.

Previously, college games were only available on premium channels like Fox College Sports, CBS College Sports and ESPNU, which are often part of extended sports packages and therefore not available to the vast public. So here I am on Puck The Media to give you an idea what college hockey is all about and also to give you a glimpse in what you can expect out of the VERSUS/NBC Sports Network coverage of NCAA Division I college hockey.

Just to catch you up on the general stuff, college hockey features many drafted prospects and a host of players that will sign with NHL teams as undrafted free agents. Players like Jake Gardiner (Wisconsin), Stephane DaCosta (Merrimack) and Craig Smith (Wisconsin), currently in the NHL, were playing on college teams just last season. So the level of hockey you’ll see is pretty good. College hockey also offers some of the best in-game experiences like pep bands, rowdy student sections and really unique facilities. NBC Sports Network will be visiting a whole bunch of different college arenas as part of its 16-game broadcast schedule for NCAA hockey.

On New Year’s Eve, hockey fans will get a really outstanding matchup on the inaugural college hockey broadcast on VERSUS. No. 6 Notre Dame will take on No. 9 Boston University in a battle of a pair of teams that have been among the NCAA’s elite for the last several years. However, both teams’ lineups are slightly depleted for various reasons. Notre Dame is without leading scorer T.J. Tynan and top-four defenseman Stephen Johns, currently playing with Team USA at the World Junior Championship. Boston University also has defenseman Adam Clendening skating with the U.S. However the Terriers also suffered two losses that were both high profile and permanent.

Corey Trivino, the team’s leading scorer is in a mess of serious legal trouble and was dismissed from the team just a few weeks ago. Shortly after, Charlie Coyle, a first-round draft choice and currently skating with the U.S. at the World Junior Championship, announced that he’d be leaving BU for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. So that’s two of the Terriers’ best players that are gone. While both teams have depleted rosters, there are still plenty of reasons to watch the New Year’s Eve tilt between a pair of college hockey’s elites.

Notre Dame’s new building, the Compton Family Ice Arena opened just a few months ago and has become one of the premier facilities in the NCAA. Both teams have two of the best coaches in college hockey in BU’s Jack Parker and Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson. A total of 17 players drafted into the National Hockey League will play in the game, not including the players currently at the World Juniors. Among the draft picks playing on New Year’s Eve, Notre Dame’s Riley Sheahan, who was a first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2010. These are two hockey teams that are going to make a legitimate push in the postseason and should provide some very exciting hockey. Both have great speed and skill up and down the lineup, even with some of the best players missing.

As for the rest of the NBC Sports Network’s schedule, there’s a wide variety of games that will be on display, as every Division I conference, but one, will have games on the network.

Among the highlights on this year’s schedule:

Jan. 13 – Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha

The defending champion UMD Bulldogs are again atop the national rankings. Since an early-season sweep at the hands of rival Minnesota, the Bulldogs have been rolling. In fact, they haven’t lost a game since and now boast a 10-2-2 (yes, there are ties in college hockey) record. UMD features one of the best players in college hockey in Jack Connolly, the nation’s leading scorer. Nebraska-Omaha will offer a good test for the Bulldogs, but UMD is the one with the chance to show the nation why it’s number one.

NHL Prospects to Watch:
UMD: Connolly (undrafted), J.T. Brown (undrafted), Caleb Herbert (MTL);

UNO: Andrej Sustr (undrafted), Josh Archibald (PIT), Terry Broadhurst (undrafted)

Jan. 20 – Michigan at Notre Dame

It’s a down year for the Wolverines, who are currently unranked, but rankings hardly matter in a rivalry game. Michigan and Notre Dame have played some classics over the years, even when Notre Dame wasn’t exactly a national power. It’s two of the biggest name schools in college hockey and it should be good entertainment, for what will likely be the best chance for NBC Sports Network to bring in some decent ratings.

NHL Prospects to Watch:
UM: Jon Merrill (NJ), Chris Brown (PHX), Phil Di Giuseppi (2012 Draft Eligible)

ND: Anders Lee (NYI), Riley Sheahan (DET), T.J. Tynan (CLB)

Jan. 27 – Yale at Harvard

Well, it’s Yale at Harvard. So there’s the draw. Yale has been one of the best teams in the ECAC for the last few years, while Harvard has been experiencing some adversity in the standings. Either way, it’s two of college athletics’ oldest rivals going head to head in front of a national audience. If only for the tradition, this one’s worth taking in.

NHL Prospects to Watch:
Kenny Agostino (PIT)

Danny Biega (CAR), Max Everson (TOR), Steve Michalek (MIN)

Feb. 10 – Minnesota at Denver

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers are back in a big way after a few down years, thanks in large part to losing players to pro hockey. Currently at No. 2 in the country, the Gophers have some of college hockey’s best players, especially Florida Panthers first-rounder Nick Bjugstad. Denver is no slouch either, currently ranked No. 15 in the country. There is a litany of pro prospects on the Pioneer’s roster and they should challenge in the post season. This game is the second half of a double-header on Feb. 10, and is definitely the headlining act. This has the potential to be NBC Sports Network’s most entertaining game.

NHL Prospects to Watch:
UM: Nick Bjugstad (FLA), Kyle Rau (FLA), Erik Haula (MIN), Zach Budish (NSH);

DU: Jason Zucker (MIN), Drew Shore (FLA), Scott Mayfield (NYI), Nick Shore (LA)

March 17 – Hockey East Championship Game
We won’t know who the final two teams will be in the Hockey East championship, but anytime you have a conference title on the line, you can expect a spirited battle. No matter who plays in this final, it’s going to be a good game and there’s likely to be a lot of pro prospects hitting the ice.

College hockey is an exciting brand of the game. If you’re an NHL fan that’s never experienced college hockey, this is a great opportunity to do so. Any of the 16 televised contests on VERSUS/NBC Sports Network will offer some form of entertainment. Hey, it’s more hockey on TV, so who on earth would complain about that? Oh, right. No one.

Eddie Olczyk to Call VERSUS’ Inaugural College Hockey Broadcast

VERSUS is using it’s top NHL analyst for their debut covering the college game.

Eddie Olczyk will be the color analyst for VERSUS’ broadcast of Boston University-Notre Dame on Saturday night, the first college game in the network’s history. He’ll work with play-by-play man Steve Schlanger. Olczyk has two sons currently playing college hockey.

VERSUS is airing a package of NCAA games this year, largely on Friday nights, from every conference, including the semi-finals and final of the Hockey East tournament.

2011-12 Remaining College Hockey National Television Schedule

This will only be for games on the ESPN family, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network and, of course, NBC Sports Net, and not counting regional networks (ROOT, FSN, FCS, etc.). Does not include conference tournaments.

November 5
North Dakota vs. Minnesota (BTN)

November 13
Boston University vs. Boston College (CBSSN)

November 18
Boston College vs. Notre Dame (CBSSN)

December 2
Boston College vs. Boston University (CBSSN)

December 9
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Wisconsin (BTN)

December 10
Michigan vs. Michigan State (BTN)
Boston University vs. Maine (CBSSN)

December 31
#11 Boston University vs. #7 Notre Dame (VERSUS)

January 6
Dartmouth vs. RPI (NBCSN)
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Western Michigan (CBSSN)
RIT vs. Wisconsin (BTN)

January 7
Notre Dame vs. Minnesota (BTN)

January 13
Michigan vs. Ohio State (BTN)
Western Michigan vs. Notre Dame (CBSSN)
#1 Minnesota-Duluth vs. Nebraska-Omaha (NBCSN)

January 20
Michigan vs. #7 Notre Dame (NBCSN)

January 21
Air Force vs. Army (CBSSN)

January 27
#17 Yale vs. Harvard (NBCSN)
St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota (BTN)

January 28
Maine vs. Boston University (CBSSN)

February 3
#16 Cornell vs. RPI (NBCSN)
Providence vs. New Hampshire (CBSSN)
St. Cloud State vs. Wisconsin (BTN)
RIT vs. Air Force (CBSSN)

February 4
Miami vs. Michigan (CBSSN)

February 10
Michigan vs. Michigan State (BTN)
#3 Boston College vs. Vermont (NBCSN)
North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth (CBSSN)
#2 Minnesota vs. #13 Denver (NBCSN)

February 17
Dartmouth vs. #17 Yale (NBCSN)
Notre Dame vs. Miami (CBSSN)
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Colorado College (CBSSN)

February 24
Ohio State vs. Miami (CBSSN)
#11 Boston University vs. Vermont (NBCSN)
Michigan State vs. Notre Dame (CBSSN)
#19 North Dakota vs. #13 Denver (NBCSN)

March 2
#13 Denver vs. Nebraska-Omaha (NBCSN)
Vermont vs. Boston College (CBSSN)

March 3
Vermont vs. Boston College (CBSSN)

CBS Sports Network Has #1 v. #3 in College Hockey Tonight

CBS Sports Network drops the puck for its ninth season of college hockey coverage on Friday, Oct. 14 (7:30 PM, ET) as *No. 3-ranked Denver takes on No. 1-ranked Boston College. Play-by-play announcer Eric Frede and analyst Dave Starman call the game, with Shireen Saski reporting. The Network provides live pre-game coverage from Boston College’s Conte Forum to preview the night’s action and discuss college hockey news from around the country.

Throughout the season CBS Sports Network will air a series examining the state of college hockey and the major issues facing the sport. The series features a candid roundtable discussion with influential college hockey figures, including Boston University coach Jack Parker, Denver coach George Gwozdecky, former Notre Dame coach and Toronto Maple Leafs Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin and Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi. Adam Zucker hosts and is joined by Starman.

CBS Sports Network will air 23 college hockey games this season showcasing every team ranked in the top 10 of the USCHO Poll, as well as 15 of the nation’s top 20 teams. The Network again features comprehensive Hockey East action, as well as CCHA, WCHA, ECAC and Atlantic Hockey contests.

For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to

VERSUS College Hockey Deal Gets Closer For Friday/Saturday Night Games From Every Conference

From College Hockey News:

Versus, the television network owned by Comcast, is closing in on multiple agreements to air college hockey games this season.


Versus, which is soon re-branding itself as NBC Sports Network, has already been home to the NHL for the past six seasons.


The Versus package will not be a national deal, per se. It was not negotiated with College Hockey Inc. or the Hockey Commissioners Association. That is impossible given all of the deals confererences have separate Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) and teams have with other local channels.


But Versus is intending to reach agreement with all five current Division I leagues to air games on Friday or Saturday nights. Some of those deals have already been finalized. Versus is expected to make an announcement of its broadcast package once all of the deals have been completed.