TV Answer Man, I read your article about NHL TV shifting their games to ESPN+ so does that mean that NHL Center Ice isn’t available anymore either on satellite and cable? — Tom, Newport Beach, California.
Tom, you’re right. ESPN+, the streaming service for the sports network, this season will offer more than 1,000 out-of-market NHL games. Disney, which owns ESPN, purchased the rights from the NHL earlier this season. This has permitted the league to close NHL.TV, which started five years ago. (See our article, Does ESPN+ Really Have 1,000 NHL Games? for more details.)
So if NHL.TV is history, what about NHL Center Ice, you ask? That’s the league’s out-of-market package for cable and satellite operators.
Well, the NHL Center Ice plan is alive and well. In fact, it’s available this year for as little as $59.99, which is less than half the price in previous full seasons. (The NHL reduced the price so it’s competitive with ESPN+ which is available for $69.99 for one year.)
Pay TV providers that offer the NHL Center Ice plan include Dish, Verizon, Charter Spectrum, Comcast and DIRECTV, among others. Like ESPN+, Center Ice offers up to 40 NHL games a week with both home and away broadcasts when available. (If you’re interested in order, consult your on-screen guide, or call your cable or satellite operator.)
The 2021-22 NHL season starts with Tuesday’s opening night matchups between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, and Seattle and Vegas.
Tom, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann