ESPN, Turner Sports To Drop the Puck in October To Begin Special NHL Seasons
The upcoming NHL schedule begins next month, and it’ll be a special occasion for ESPN, who hasn’t televised professional hockey since 2004, and Turner Sports, who will embark on their inaugural season. For the former, a season-opening doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 12 will pit the Pittsburgh Penguins against the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET and the first-year Seattle Kraken against the Vegas Golden Knights at 10 p.m. ET. The latter will start the following day, Wednesday, Oct. 13, with a doubleheader of their own including the New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at 10 p.m. ET.
ESPN Welcomes Back the NHL After 17 Years
The 2021-2022 season will showcase 103 exclusive regular season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC. In addition, more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+. Beginning October 12, ESPN, ESPN+ and Hulu become the destination for Tuesday night hockey throughout the regular season. ESPN+ and Hulu will also showcase an exclusive game every Friday night until January, then every Thursday night for the remainder of the regular season. ABC will regularly carry Saturday games beginning in February.
Opening week on ESPN+ will feature the Minnesota Wild taking on the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, October 15. Momentum continues into the second week of the season beginning Tuesday, October 19, when the Colorado Avalanche and former first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon travel to the nation’s capital to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. On Friday, October 22, the Boston Bruins will travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres in a divisional matchup. A historic Saturday night in Seattle caps off the second week of the regular season on ESPN+ and Hulu when the Seattle Kraken take the ice in Climate Pledge Arena for the first time in franchise history against their border rivals, the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, October 23.
Each Tuesday in 2021, October 19 through December 28, ESPN+ will host at least one exclusive matchup with highlights including the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the St. Louis Blues on November 30, the New York Rangers versus the Colorado Avalanche on December 14, the Washington Capitals versus the Philadelphia Flyers on December 21 and the 2021 Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 28.
Additional Friday game highlights include the Colorado Avalanche versus the Seattle Kraken on November 19, the New York Rangers versus the Boston Bruins on November 26 and a Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin matchup on December 10 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
ESPN+ continues its premier slate in 2022 with Tuesday and Thursday night matchups through the remainder of the 2021-22 regular season. Highlights include: Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, January 4, Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, January 6, Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins on Thursday, January 20, Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, March 8, and the new-look Florida Panthers with Joe Thornton take on the San Jose Sharks on March 15 as Thornton returns to San Jose after spending 15 seasons as a Shark. In a Thursday night doubleheader on March 24, the St. Louis Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.
In April, ESPN+ will feature the following match ups: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers on Thursday, April 7, the Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, April 19, the Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, April 25, as the only NHL game that day, and a Connor McDavid-Sidney Crosby showdown between the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, April 26. The final game of the ESPN+ schedule will feature the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the New York Islanders on Thursday, April 28, in a rematch of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals.
Click HERE for a full list of exclusive games being played on ESPN+ and Hulu.
TNT Gets Set for First Hockey Foray
The NHL on TNT’s weekly schedule will include exclusive coverage on 25 Wednesday nights throughout the season – including 15 doubleheaders. Starting in Spring 2022, the network will add seven weeks of Sunday afternoon telecasts for March and April.
TNT will be the home of the NHL’s marquee outdoor games this season:
- The 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic will showcase the St. Louis Blues against the Minnesota Wild at Target Field – home of the Minnesota Twins – on Saturday, Jan. 1. The event will continue the tradition first established in 2008 of hosting regular season outdoor games at the start of the New Year. The start time of the game will be announced at a later date.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning will visit the Nashville Predators in the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. This year’s outdoor game will be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans.
- The 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will return this season on Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. Emanating from Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, the outdoor game will feature two teams making their first appearances: Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Buffalo Sabres, who are also the first non-Canadian team to participate in the event.
Overall, the network will showcase many of the top teams and leading NHL stars, including six appearances by the Oilers and five appearances by the Avalanche, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Kraken, Lightning, Penguins, Rangers, and Wild.
Announced earlier this year, Turner Sports’ multi-year NHL agreement will include crowning a champion through its exclusive live coverage of the Stanley Cup Final on TNT in three of the next seven years; half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year (half of the Conference Finals, First and Second Round games); and expansive digital and highlight rights for Bleacher Report, House of Highlights and additional platforms.
Click HERE for more highlights of the NHL on TNT’s first season.