List of NHL outdoor games broadcasters

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The following is a list of NHL Winter Classic, Stadium Series and Heritage Classic broadcasters, including those in Canada and in the United States.

The first NHL Heritage Classic was played in 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens.[1] Although the Oilers had suggested the idea of hosting an outdoor game as early as the mid 1980s,[2] the genesis of the 2003 event was the "Cold War" outdoor game played two years prior between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.[3] One year later, NBC Sports Executive VP Jon Miller pitched the idea of an annual outdoor television event to the NHL in 2004 "but they didn't find the concept workable."[4] In December 2006, Miller found an ally in then NHL Executive VP/Business & Media John Collins, who embraced the idea.[5][6] The first Winter Classic was held January 1, 2008, between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The game had an NHL-record crowd of 71,217 fans in attendance. The success of the 2008 NHL Winter Classic led the NHL to schedule a second one for 2009, held at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, on January 1, 2009, matching the Detroit Red Wings against the Chicago Blackhawks. That game had the highest American television ratings of any hockey game in 33 years. The success of the 2009 NHL Winter Classic has solidified "the Classic" as an annual event from then on. The Winter Classic was officially made a permanent part of the NHL schedule through at least January 1, 2021, as part of the league's television contract with the NBC Sports Group. The Winter Classic is also broadcast in Canada by the league's TV partner there too.

Unlike the annual Winter Classic games, Heritage Classic games have been held infrequently.

For the 2013–14 NHL season, the NHL introduced three other outdoor games known as the Stadium Series. The 2014 Stadium Series will be held in Los Angeles, California, New York City and Chicago, Illinois.

American television[edit]

Year Network Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Ice level reporters Studio host Studio analysts
2015 Winter Classic NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire Liam McHugh Mike Milbury and Keith Jones
2014 Heritage Classic NBCSN Gord Miller Brian Engblom Kathryn Tappen Anson Carter and Keith Jones
2014 Stadium Series (Chicago) NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick Liam McHugh Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick
2014 Stadium Series (New York) NBC (Rangers–Devils)
NBCSN (Rangers–Islanders)
Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick Liam McHugh Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick
2014 Stadium Series (Los Angeles) NBCSN Dave Strader Brian Engblom and Jeremy Roenick Russ Thaler Anson Carter and Jeremy Roenick
2014 Winter Classic NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick Liam McHugh Mike Milbury and Keith Jones
2012 NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Darren Pang Bob Costas Mike Milbury
2011 Heritage Classic Versus (now NBCSN) Dave Strader Andy Brickley Brian Engblom Bill Patrick Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick
2011 Winter Classic NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Darren Pang Bob Costas Mike Milbury
2010[7] NBC[8] Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Darren Pang Bob Costas Mike Milbury
2009 NBC Dave Strader Eddie Olczyk Pierre McGuire and Darren Pang Bob Costas Mike Milbury
2008 NBC Mike Emrick Eddie Olczyk Darren Pang Bob Costas Mike Milbury

Notes[edit]

  • There was no separate American live telecast of the 2003 Heritage Classic. ESPN, the American rights-holder at the time, was already committed to broadcasting college football on its channels during that day. American viewers who wanted to watch the game live could view the Canadian CBC broadcast on NHL Center Ice.[13]
  • In 2008, some NBC affiliates decided instead to air the game on secondary channels often used for weather service. Therefore, in some markets, fans with a satellite service carrying DirecTV or DISH Network were unable to watch the game. Despite this, and competing with broadcasts of college football bowl games (this was particularly noted in the Detroit, Michigan market, usually a strong market for hockey ratings, where the Wolverines were playing in the Capital One Bowl), the game garnered a 2.6 rating and 5 share, the highest rating for a regular season NHL game since 1996, and the highest share since Wayne Gretzky's final game in 1999,[14] in a near tie with second-place CBS' 2.7 rating for Gator Bowl coverage.[15] The production earned a 38.1 rating in Buffalo and 17.7 rating in Pittsburgh, to lead all markets.[14]
    • NBC had an airplane flying overhead to provide bird's-eye views of the rink, including a live webstream from its camera throughout the game.[16] The announcers stood in a constructed perch on the penalty box side of the rink, in front of the stadium stands.
  • In 2009, Dave Strader filled-in for Mike Emrick[17] on play-by-play for NBC because Emrick had come down with laryngitis.
    • On January 3, 2009, the NHL reported that the overnight television ratings had increased 12% over the 2008 game. Nationally, the game had 2.9 overnight rating and a 6 share. In Chicago, Thursday's game drew a national high of an 11.8 rating and 21 share, with Detroit second at 10.5 and 21 (this despite that yet again, a Michigan-based team was playing in the Capital One Bowl opposite the Winter Classic—this time the Michigan State Spartans). Other above-average markets included Buffalo (whose 10.1 rating/20 share was comparable to Detroit's), St. Louis (5.3/10), Pittsburgh (4.4/8), Denver (4.2/10), Providence (3.5/7), Indianapolis (3.4/6), West Palm Beach (3.3/6), and Orlando (3.2/5).[18] Each overnight ratings point equals about 735,000 TV homes.[19] On January 12, the final ratings figure was announced. There was an average of 4.4 million viewers of the game on NBC, and this was the largest since the February 23, 1975 match between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers.[20]
  • The 2012 game was played on January 2 since January 1 landed on a Sunday.

Canadian television (English)[edit]

Year Network Play-by-play Colour commentator(s) Ice level reporters Studio host Studio analysts
2014 Heritage Classic CBC Jim Hughson Kelly Hrudey Glenn Healy and Cassie Campbell-Pascall Ron MacLean Don Cherry, P.J. Stock, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman
2014 Stadium Series (New York) CBC (Rangers–Devils)
TSN (Rangers–Islanders)
Jim Hughson
Mike Emrick
Craig Simpson
Eddie Olczyk
Glenn Healy and Cassie Campbell-Pascall
Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick
Ron MacLean
Liam McHugh
Don Cherry, P.J. Stock, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman
Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick
2014 Stadium Series (Los Angeles) CBC Mark Lee Kelly Hrudey Scott Oake Ron MacLean Don Cherry, P.J. Stock, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman
2014 Winter Classic CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson Glenn Healy, Scott Oake and Andi Petrillo Ron MacLean Don Cherry, P.J. Stock, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman
2012 CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2011 Heritage Classic CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2011 Winter Classic CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2010 CBC[21] Jim Hughson Craig Simpson Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2009 CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson and Greg Millen Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2008 CBC Jim Hughson Craig Simpson and Greg Millen Elliotte Friedman Ron MacLean Don Cherry
2003 CBC Chris Cuthbert Greg Millen and Glenn Healy Scott Oake Ron MacLean Don Cherry

Notes[edit]

  • The CBC television broadcast of the 2003 Heritage Classic set the record for most viewers of a single NHL game with 2.747 million nationwide. This was the first NHL game broadcast in HD[22] on CBC.
    • Despite the overwhelming popularity of the original Heritage Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers in 2003, the popularity of the Winter Classic in Canada is low and declining. On Canada's CBC Television network, the Winter Classic has lower ratings than its weekly regular season telecasts Hockey Night in Canada. This has been attributed to the lack of Canadian teams in any of the Winter Classics and has led to a revival of the all-Canadian Heritage Classic.
  • In 2011, the seven hour delay on the CBC broadcast schedule caused the classic to be completely preempted in the province of Ontario. The network's coverage of the NHL that night began with the Battle of Ontario at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa at 7:00 p.m. ET, and broke away to the Classic outside Ontario. The CBC truncated the broadcast after two hours in Alberta to show the Battle of Alberta at Rexall Place in Edmonton in its entirety.[23]
  • TSN simulcasted NBCSN's coverage of the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Rangers and the Islanders.
  • There was no separate Canadian live telecast of the 2014 Stadium Series game in Chicago. CBC instead broadcast the Toronto Maple Leafs–Montreal Canadiens game being played at the same time.

Canadian television (French)[edit]

Year Network Play-by-play Colour commentator(s) Ice level reporters Studio host Studio analysts
2014 Heritage Classic RDS Michel Y. Lacroix Norman Flynn
2014 Winter Classic RDS Michel Y. Lacroix Norman Flynn Renaud Lavoie
2012 RDS Michel Y. Lacroix Denis Gauthier Renaud Lavoie Claude Mailhot Jocelyn Lemieux
2011 Heritage Classic RDS Pierre Houde Benoît Brunet Joel Bouchard Alain Crête Mario Tremblay
2011 Winter Classic RDS Michel Y. Lacroix Denis Gauthier Renaud Lavoie Yanick Bouchard Jocelyn Lemieux
2010 RDS Michel Y. Lacroix Norman Flynn Renaud Lavoie Yanick Bouchard Bob Hartley
2009 RDS Pierre Houde Benoît Brunet Chantal Machabée Alain Crête Michel Bergeron, Joel Bouchard and Jacques Demers
2008 RDS Pierre Houde Yvon Pedneault Chantal Machabée Alain Crête Benoît Brunet, Michel Bergeron and Jacques Demers
2003 RDS and SRC (simulcast) Pierre Houde Yvon Pedneault

Finnish television[edit]

Year Network Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Ice level reporters Studio host Studio analysts
2011 Nelonen Pro 1 Antti Mäkinen

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, Tom (2003-11-21). "Old-time hockey as Oilers, Canadians play in first outdoor NHL game". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-11-19.  – via Highbeam (subscription required)
  2. ^ Dolezar, Jon A. (2003-11-14). "The great outdoors". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  3. ^ "It's Nice Outside—Oilers Stage Heritage Classic". Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. Archived from the original on 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  4. ^ Wyshynski, Greg. “Chatting with NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood about Winter Classic, cable cam for hockey, Mike Milbury and HBO '24/7'”, “Puck Daddy,” December 21, 2010
  5. ^ Brink, Bill. “Winter Classic is a cool concept”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 26, 2010
  6. ^ Dowbiggen, Bruce. “How hockey found its signature moment”, The Globe and Mail, December 30, 2010
  7. ^ Your Announcers and Open Thread For the 2010 Winter Classic
  8. ^ Milbury Off Winter Classic Coverage?
  9. ^ Springer, Steve (1991-08-27). "Ice in Desert? It's No Mirage Hockey: Kings, Rangers play in Caesars Palace parking lot tonight.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  10. ^ Huskey, Melody (2008-12-31). "Kings No Stranger To Outdoor Game". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  11. ^ "Beezer on Winter Classic (video)". Blue Shirts United. 2011-12-22. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  12. ^ "Kelly Hrudey: Bonus Clip From MSG's Vault (video)". MSG. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  13. ^ "NHL's outdoor epic on ice for U.S. broadcast". USA Today. 2003-11-21. Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  14. ^ a b "TV ratings bonanza for Winter Classic". Associated Press. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  15. ^ Zelkovich, Chris; McGran, Kevin (2008-01-03). "'Ice Bowl' proves to be hot ticket for league, NBC". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  16. ^ "NBC Sports to broadcast first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history on New Year's Day". NBC Sports. 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2008-02-16. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Emrick to miss Bridgestone Winter Classic". NHL.com. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  18. ^ NHL WINTER CLASSIC ON NBC DELIVERS BEST REGULAR SEASON OVERNIGHT IN NEARLY 13 YEARS. NBC press release. 3 January 2009.
  19. ^ Kuc, Chris (January 3, 2009). "Winter Classic draws impressive ratings". Chicago Tribune. 
  20. ^ "Wings' game draws largest TV audience in 33 years". Detroit News. January 12, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ HNIC Has the 2010 Winter Classic Covered
  22. ^ CBC Sports HDTV to make debut
  23. ^ Canadian Press (December 31, 2010). "Winter Classic moved to Saturday night". CBC Sports. Retrieved January 2, 2011.