This week, I'll have a couple of posts devoted to college hockey. While ESPN is actively trying to make baseball the next big college sport, there are a few networks invested who think college hockey can advance beyond its current niche in the northeast and the midwest.
The reasoning for that thinking? Major realignment and new TV agreements. The Big Ten (Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Wisconsin) has formed a hockey conference that will begin play this season with action on BTN, NBCSN as well as two ESPN networks (ESPNU and ESPNews). The newly-formed NCHC (a group of midwestern/western schools including powerhouse North Dakota) has an 18-game schedule on CBS Sports Network.
For today, we're going to focus on Hockey East (expect at least one more NBCSN-related college hockey announcement tomorrow) who will be, through the network's relationship with Notre Dame, likely the biggest part of NBC's commitment to college hockey. A good portion of Notre Dame's home schedule will air on the network, but the league will also have some of its other high profile schools (BC, BU) get exposure.
NBCSN will air five games from the conference (again, aside from Notre Dame) this season, and has officially extended their television agreement with the conference through the 2014-15 season. NHL play-by-play voice Dave Strader and Boston Bruins radio play-by-play man Dave Goucher will call Hockey East action with analyst Ken Hodge.
The rest of NBCSN's college hockey slate will be released over the next couple of days, but for now, here's the handful that will air from Hockey East that don't involve folks cheer, cheering for old Notre Dame.
2013-14 Hockey East on NBCSN schedule
|Oct. 25, 8 p.m. ET||UMass vs. Maine|
|Nov. 1, 8 p.m. ET||Northeastern vs. Boston College|
|Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET||North Dakota vs. Boston University|
|Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET||Boston University vs. UMass|
|Feb. 14, 7 p.m. ET||Boston University vs. New Hampshire|
@LetsPlay_Hockey 21 actually. 3 games on NBCSN...WMU@ND Friday, NoDak@BU 11/22 & CC@Wisco 12/13
That is some kind of bullshit schedule. UMass-Maine? Literally no one cares. BU gets 3 games? they're going to stink this year. Meanwhile preseason #1 Lowell isn't listed.
@smclaughlin9 does Notre Dame have proven hockey ratings or are they hoping football crowd starts to care with new conference?
@twolinepass Also some Big Ten and ECAC, but I know that's of less interest.
@twolinepass NBCSN's also gonna announce a load of ND games later this week on a separate deal.
@Carleese44 hmm it doesnt
@Carleese44 i'll have to run that one by the trophy case and see if it checks out.
@FrozenFriar Notre Dame has money. Not sure how their ratings compare to other big college hockey schools.
@twolinepass and my moment of victory ends.
@smclaughlin9 will be interesting to see. Great first (I think?) article on EEI earlier this week, too
@FrozenFriar Thanks! First college hockey article for them, yes.