Bring Hockey Night in Canada to the United States

Puck the Media on the NHL Network cutting away too soon from CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada:

“…for viewers in the United States, that was not the case. Within less than 60 seconds of the game’s end, we were abruptly sent to NHL On the Fly, which gave hardly any recap from Brian Duff and Mike Johnson and moved on with the typical show they had been doing for NHL Network viewers in Canada, no doubt more likely tuning into, you know… Freaking Hockey Night in Canada! It was confusing, disappointing, and flat-out unacceptable, and here’s why:

Steve Lepore then goes on to make his case on his blog.

But I don’t think he goes far enough. So here’s my case.

HNIC is a national treasure in Canada. Yet most American hockey fans are shut off from it.

  • Not only does NHL Network US cut away too quickly/frequently, but a HNIC game is no longer guaranteed to be the NHL Network US Saturday night game. We (US viewers) have already been without the late HNIC game for years… NHL Network runs On The Fly now at 10pm. And with that we also miss out on After Hours, Kelly Hrudey and everything else.
  • HNIC deserves the same treatment as ESPN’s Monday Night Football. TSN gets Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski… so why doesn’t the US get the sport of hockey’s premiere coverage? Agree or disagree with Coach’s Corner, but everyone watches it.
  • The quality of coverage HNIC puts together is unmatched. Versus/NBC can’t touch it’s level of production. Just something as simple as watching the 6:30pm warmup show and live on-ice lead-ins to each of the 7pm games builds a level of excitment that no one else duplicates. Top to bottom, the whole night should be available to the US market.
  • HNIC’s produced pieces like Elliotte Friedman’s Inside Hockey are regularly the best in the business. The simple fact that most US hockey fans don’t know who Elliotte Friedman is should be a warning sign. He is what Peter King is to the NFL and Freidman’s Monday column is as must of a must-read as King’s is.
  • And even HNIC’s on-ice coverage is regularly better. Something as simple as having their cameramen follow the game better goes a long way to the US viewer who has “can’t follow the puck” problems.

As a US resident and NHL fan, I demand better access to HNIC. I shouldn’t have to go online to catch up on what I missed on Saturday night.

Make Saturday night as important to some US families as it is to Canadian ones.

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