Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/18/05 at 01:48 PM ET
OLN, a television leader in action and adventure sports, and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced that OLN will be the new national cable television home for the NHL. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, OLN will televise at least 58 regular-season games. These games will air consistently on Monday and Tuesday nights and be exclusive to the network. OLN will carry the NHL All-Star Game exclusively in the US and will provide wall-to-wall coverage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including exclusive Conference Final action and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. OLN will kick off NHL coverage beginning with the Rangers-Flyers match-up October 5, the first day of the new season. OLN and the NHL will bring television viewers closer to the ice by leveraging the League's new telecast enhancements -- increased behind-the-scenes access, microphones on the players and coaches, netcams and in-game interviews. The partnership between OLN, Comcast and the NHL will redefine the sport for hockey viewers. More action on video on demand (VOD), in HDTV and online will create an experience like never before, including: * VOD game highlights and library footage of hockey's greatest moments with full fast-forward, rewind and replay capability; * HDTV game coverage in a crisper, faster-moving, more exciting game for hockey fans every week; * Online streaming of two live games per night (subject to local blackout), broadband highlights, commentary, and library footage; * Round-the-clock coverage on the NHL Network, to be launched in the US in the future; and * Comcast will have the ability to carry and/or syndicate additional games on Comcast's regional sports networks where it has the consent of the local team and team's rights holder. "We are entering into a great partnership with the NHL. Hockey is excellent, exclusive programming for OLN and will be a marquee sport for the network. We are proud to be the new national television home of the NHL when the puck drops on October 5," said OLN President Gavin Harvey. "Adding hockey to our lineup when the NHL returns to the ice with a fresh season, new energy, new players and a new attitude adds tremendous value to OLN and builds upon the momentum of our other premier sports programming like the America's Cup and The Tour de France." "We recognize and appreciate that Comcast is making a tremendous investment in the NHL and that hockey will be a priority on OLN," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "This multifaceted partnership with OLN and Comcast creates exciting opportunities for our fans and for us, and we look forward to a terrific relationship in the years ahead." The NHL revised its schedule format, to emphasize divisional and conference rivalries, and implemented a number of changes that will reduce the number of play stoppages while heightening hockey's action, flow, offense and excitement. The attacking zone has been enlarged, and the goaltenders have been limited -- not only in the size of the equipment they will be allowed to wear but also in the areas of the ice where they will be allowed to play the puck. As well, the introduction of the shootout as a tiebreaker, featuring hockey's most exciting play, the breakaway, will ensure that every contest has a winner. "Comcast's leadership and innovation in delivering integrated sports and other entertainment on HDTV, VOD and on the Internet is being met with rave reviews from our customers. We will use this experience to bring the NHL to hockey fans in ways that they have never seen before," said Jeff Shell, President of Comcast Programming for Comcast Corporation. Additional details about the OLN television schedule, hockey commentators, HDTV and VOD schedules will be released as details become available.
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