November 2, 2011

Hockey East, NBC Sports Network announce TV deal

by Andrew Merritt

Hockey East will get a boost in its national exposure this season, as NBC will broadcast a selection of the league’s games on its soon-to-be-rebranded Versus channel, the league announced Wednesday.

Included in the package are three regular-season games, one tournament quarterfinal game, both semifinals and the league championship game. The games are part of the network’s renovation of Versus, which will become NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2.

“This agreement will play a major role in our ability to stay in a leadership position in our sport,” Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna (Arlington, Mass.) said in a statement.

Hockey East’s games are part of a 16-game college hockey package Versus/NBC will broadcast this season. The first game to be broadcast will be a New Year’s Eve tilt in South Bend, Ind., between Boston University and Notre Dame, which joins the league in 2013.

BU will play two games on the network, as will Vermont. Boston College visits Vermont in an NBC game on Friday, Feb. 10.

“We are excited to be launching our first-ever college hockey package by building a destination on Friday nights on the NBC Sports Network with many of the preeminent brands in the sport,” said NBC Sports Group president of programming Jon Miller in a statement.

The games will be produced by the same team that produces NHL games for NBC and Versus.

Here is the schedule of Hockey East games to be broadcast on Versus/NBC Sports (all times Eastern):

Saturday, Dec. 31: Boston University at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 10: Boston College at Vermont, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 24: Boston University at Vermont, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9: Hockey East quarterfinal (teams, site TBA), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 16: Hockey East semifinals, TD Garden, 5 and 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 17: Hockey East championship, 8 p.m.