The new network wrestled the NHL Canadian cable package away from long-time holder TSN. From 1998–99 until 2001–02, Sportsnet aired Labatt Blue Tuesday Night Hockey to a national audience during the regular season and covered first-round playoff series not involving Canadian teams. On the day CTV Sportsnet went on the air, its first live sports event was an NHL opening-night telecast between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.
The national cable rights have since returned to TSN, though Sportsnet retains regional rights to five of seven Canadian-based clubs. In November 2013, Rogers announced a 12-year, $5.2 million deal to become the exclusive national rightsholder of the NHL in Canada beginning in the 2014-15 season; as a result, cable broadcasts of the NHL outside of its existing regional games will return to Sportsnet.