NHL on television in the 1950s
Hockey Night in Canada began airing on Saturday nights on CBC Television in 1952. National coverage of the NHL in the U.S. was limited to Saturday afternoon regular season games on CBS, running for four seasons from 1956–57 to 1959–60.
In the 1952–53 season, CBC began televising Hockey Night in Canada as a simulcast to the radio calls, joining the games in progress either 30 minutes or 60 minutes after the opening faceoff. Until 1961, the CBC was the only operating television network in Canada. Not only that, it was likely that not all Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens playoff games were televised in the early years, including to their local markets.
CBC's coverage of Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 1954 Stanley Cup Finals were joined in progress at 9:30 p.m. (approximately one hour after start time). Meanwhile, CBC joined Game 6 in at 10 p.m. (again, one hour after start time). Game 7 was carried Dominion wide (nationwide) from the opening face-off at 9 p.m. Since Game 7 was played on Good Friday night, there were no commercials (Imperial Oil was the sponsor).
Game 4 of the Montreal-New York Rangers playoff series was not the potential clincher, nor was it played in Montreal. Therefore, there was a possible chance that the game wasn't going to be televised.
CBS first broadcast National Hockey League games for four seasons from 1956–57 to 1959–60. CBS aired games on Saturday afternoons with Bud Palmer serving as the play-by-play announcer and Fred Cusick provided color commentary, pregame, and intermission interviews for the first three seasons. In 1959–60, Cusick moved over to play-by-play while Brian McFarlane came in to do the color commentary, pregame, and intermission interviews. The pregame and intermission interviews were done on the ice, with the interviewer on skates. No playoff games were televised during this period, and all broadcasts took place in one of the four American arenas at the time.
As previously mentioned, CBS covered the 1956–57 season on Saturday afternoons, starting on January 5. For the next three years, CBS continued airing games on Saturday afternoons starting on November 2, 1957, October 18, 1958 and January 9, 1960.
CBC's telecast of Game 7 of Toronto-Boston playoff series at Boston Garden joins just before the start of the second period. Bill Hewitt and Foster Hewitt were simulcasting on Toronto's CKFH and CBC Radio, and one of them welcomes the television audience.
- Bob Wilkin (July 3, 1956). "Television Coverage For Ten NHL Contests Sports Here and There". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 16.
- Bob Wilkin (August 2, 1956). "Bruins Eye TV, Rookies, Ponder Starting Switch". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 10.
- Bob Wilkin (September 19, 1956). "Boston Bruins To Try 7:30 Starting Time For Sunday's Exhibition". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 11.
- Bob Wilkin (February 14, 1957). "Bruins Tie for Second Place; Play Exhibition Game at Barrie Tonight". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 10.
- "CBS Increases Hockey On TV". Hartford Courant. May 23, 1957. p. 19A.
- "Hockey Captures New Fans With Televised Games". Hartford Courant. United Press. December 22, 1957. p. 6D.
- Bob Wilkin (March 7, 1957). "Harvard Clinches Ivy League Hockey Title, Downs Princelon Tigers, 5-1". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 10.
- Bob Wilkin (January 8, 1957). "Bruins Get Mohns Back But May Lose Jack Bionda". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 10.
- Don Page (March 5, 1960). "Sportslook". Los Angeles Times. Times Mirror Company. p. B5.
- Fred Cusick (2006). Fred Cusick: voice of the Bruins. Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 9781582619811.
- Bob Wilkin (November 22, 1957). "Habs in 1957-58 Debut On Television at Boston". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 16.
- Kreiser, Friedman, John, Lou (1996). The New York Rangers: Broadway's Longest Running Hit. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 133. ISBN 9781571670410.
- "First NHL Contest Telecast Nationally Saturday Afternoon". Christian Science-Monitor. January 4, 1957. p. 12.
- "National Hockey Loop Lists Televised Games". Hartford Courant. October 16, 1959. p. 35.