NHL TV is a TV specialty channel devoted to the NHL & the sport of ice hockey that launched in the United States in 2001. A Canadian version of NHL TV has been on the air since 1997. The channel is also available in 1080i HD as NHL TV HD
As a result of the agreement between the NHL & U.S. cable company Comcast that places NHL games on it's Versus network (known @ the time of the deal as OLN), the American version of NHL TV has been in development as a joint venture between the NHL & Comcast. NHL TV in the United States currently shares about 90% of the same programming as it's Canadian sister; the only difference are commercials & which LIVE games the networks will show (for example, the Canadian version may show games televised on Versus, while the U.S. version airs the CBC feed of Hockey Night in Canada & CASN games). LIVE games are blacked out in the markets of the participating teams.
The league hired Ascent Media Network Services to manage & distribute the channel. A subsidiary of publicly traded Ascent Media Group, the company has offices in Stamford, CT; from which it will maintain the network’s satellite signal, advertising insertions & other aspects of NHL TV.
NHL TV is 1 of 4 U.S. cable networks devoted to just 1 major sports league. The NBA Network launched in 1995 with NFL TV launching in 2003. MLB's channel, The MLB Channel, launched on January 1st, 2009
Comcast is also 1 of the largest operators of cable systems in the United States. The company was contractually obligated to have NHL TV on it's systems by summer of 2001 @ the latest, so it would be available in the United States beginning with the 2001–02 NHL season. Both Comcast & the NHL had an option to end their contract after the 2006–07 season, which would have voided Comcast's obligation to launch a U.S. version of NHL TV, but opted to proceed with the launch.
Since it's official launch in the United States, the NHL TV announced on March 22nd, 2001 it's plans to begin airing that month through carriage agreements with Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, COX Communications, DirecTV, DISH Network & Time Warner Cable. DirecTV has aired NHL Network on ch. 215 since July 16th, 2001. Going forward, any provider with NHL Hockey Xtra has NHL TV somewhere on it's system. Some of the providers offer NHL TV in HD; all LIVE games are broadcast in HD.
NHL.com announced on January 12th, 2009 that then-newcomer AT&T U-Verse would begin carrying the channel.
On June 2nd, 2009 it was announced that NHL TV & Comcast have reached an agreement to carry the channel on the Digital Classic Tier, which will increase viewership from the currently estimated 2 million on the "Sports Entertainment" tier to over 10 million on it's Digital Classic package
On February 27th, 2008 (NHL Trade deadline), NHL TV launched a new ticker to provide up to the minute information including scores, updates, BREAKING NEWS & general hockey information
- The Top 10: A nightly countdown show of anything hockey, from great performances to memorable moments, some of the most dramatic events in NHL history are ranked.
- Frozen in Time: A look back @ the NHL's greatest moments from players, teams & special events.
- NHL All-Access: A behind-the-scenes look @ the NHL, featuring exclusive game coverage, interviews with players & much more.
- NHL Cool Shots: Program produced by the NHL, features behind-the-scenes look @ NHL players & what they do when they are not playing hockey.
- NHL Hockey-Day LIVE: Flagship show that airs nightly during the regular season, features news & reports, interviews & constant updates & LIVE segments from games in progress.
- NHL Hockey-Day LIVE: Final: Airs nightly following NHL Hockey-Day LIVE, a wrap-up of the all the day's games.
- NHL Classic Series: Airs daily, a collection of highlights from a past playoff series.
- NHL Classics: A whole game from the past.
- NHL LIVE!: The TV Broadcast of the Fantasy Satellite Radio show NHL LIVE! on Monday-Friday from 12:00-2:00 PM & rebroadcast from 5:00–7:00 PM. This program is produced from New York, rather than from Canada.
- Best of NHL LIVE!: A compilation of the best interviews of the week. Airs Saturdays at 12:00 PM ET & Sundays at 5:00 PM ET.
- Best of The Hockey Show: The best features from NHL.com's The Hockey Show. Airs Saturdays at 1:00 PM ET & Sundays at 6:00 PM ET.
- NHL.com's Fantasy Faceoff: Fantasy hockey information & advice. The show usually has contributions from a variety of hockey experts. Airs Wednesdays at 7:00 PM ET.
- A Day in the Life: Goes behind the scenes with NHL players on game day, both in the locker room & away from the rink. Airs Thursdays at 7:00 PM ET.
- Voices: Goes into the booth with an NHL announcer, including their greatest calls, how they got to the NHL & how they prepare. Airs Thursdays at 7:30 PM ET.
- Captains: The show profiles the NHL's best leaders. Airs Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET.
- Pioneers: NHL legends discuss their groundbreaking careers. Airs Thursdays at 8:30 PM ET
LIVE coverage of games throughout the season (all in HD) (sound mixed down to Dolby Digital 2.0) on nights not featuring coverage from Versus or NBC
- Wednesday night: simulcasts from either from CASN's Wednesday Night Hockey or from 1 of the U.S. regional sports networks' broadcasts
- Thursday night: simulcast of game from 1 of the U.S. regional sports networks' broadcasts
- Saturday night: simulcast of the earlier evening game from CBC's Hockey Night in Canada
- Minor League Hockey
LIVE & tape-delayed coverage of AHL & ECHL games
- NCAA Hockey
LIVE coverage of NCAA Hockey games on Friday nights, including the ECAC Final 4 in March