Sportsnet, TSN finalize regional hockey schedules

The two networks will split coverage for most of Canada's teams – but after a big year for basketball and tennis, other sports are nipping at hockey's skates.
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Get ready for buds all day – hockey is back.

As of this week, Sportsnet and TSN have finalized their broadcast schedules for all six of Canada’s NHL teams.

The most recent post-season might have been a disappointment for some advertisers, as all Canadian teams being eliminated in the first round led to viewership dwindling throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It didn’t help that the Stanley Cup Final was played the same week as the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA Finals run – while the Raps dominated TV screens nationally, the final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues only registered in regional top-fives. The Stanley Cup Final was even bested by tennis this summer when Mississauga, Ont., native Bianca Andreescu’s final match in the U.S. Open drew a higher AMA than the hockey final.

But it wasn’t all bad news – last year, a record number of partners paired with the league during the playoffs, with new sponsors including Esso and Kruger. Additionally, the Canada-packed first round saw reach and AMA up year-over-year on Sportsnet. An average of 11.1 million viewers tuned in across Sportsnet and its affiliate broadcasters (such as OMNI and CBC), resulting in a 6% lift year-over-year, while reach was up 4%. Series featuring Canadian teams accumulated an AMA of 1.9 million.

Here are the details on the Canadian teams’ regional and national broadcast schedules.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Fresh off of signing GTA-bred wunderkind Mitch Marner, the Leafs will split their regular season between TSN and Sportsnet. Four pre-season and 26 regular season games will appear on TSN with the first airing tonight, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. (all times EST, unless otherwise stated), featuring a Battle of Ontario (Toronto versus Ottawa) matchup. TSN’s coverage of the regular season kicks off Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. TSN will also play host to a special afternoon game Nov. 29, a showdown versus the Buffalo Sabres at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. Play-by-play will be provided by Gord Miller and Chris Cuthbert, with game analyst Ray Ferraro and rinkside reporter Mark Masters. TSN’s hockey panel will be posted by James Duthie and feature Bob McKenzie, Jeff O’Neill and Dave Poulin. Radio station TSN 1050 will feature daily Leafs coverage and analysis.

Sportsnet will produce and broadcast a total of 56 games across pre-season and regular season (four pre-season, 52 regular season). All Sportsnet TV broadcast will also stream live on the Sportsnet Now and Sportsnet Now+ SVOD services. Pre-season coverage begins Friday, Sept. 20, while the regular season begins Tuesday, Oct. 2. Of Sportsnet’s regular-season games, 24 will be broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada, reaching viewers through CBC as well as Sportsnet and Citytv. HNIC coverage kicks off Oct. 5 against rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. John Bartlett will provide play-by-play, while Greg Millen will serve as game analysis. Ice level updates and interviews will be provided by Shawn McKenzie and Chris Johnston. On radio, Sportsnet 590 The Fan will broadcast 41 games, with post-game analysis of all 82 regular season games.

Ottawa Senators

Last year was a rough season for the Ottawa Senators, falling from a strong showing in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs to not appearing in the 2019 tournament. This year as the team hopes for a rebound, fans will split their attention between TSN and Sportsnet. TSN will broadcast four pre-season and 55 regular season games. Pre-season kicks off tonight at 5:30 p.m., followed by a second Battle of Ontario tomorrow (Sept. 18) at 7:30 p.m. The regular season kicks off Oct. 10 at 7:30 against Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues. Play-by-play is provided by Miller and and Cuthbert with Ferraro, Jamie McLennan and Mike Johnson providing analysis. TSN’s Ottawa bureau reporter Brent Wallace will deliver news and reports across all platforms. James Duthie will host TSN’s hockey panel with Darren Dreger and Bruce Garrioch. On radio, TSN 1200 Ottawa will deliver live coverage of all games, as well as tw0-hour pre-show games, intermission and post-game coverage.

Sportsnet has national, but not regional coverage for some of Ottawa’s games; they will air as part of six regular-season standard mid-week broadcasts starting Oct. 2 at 4 p.m., along with 19 Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts beginning Oct. 5 and one Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcast on  Oct. 27.

Winnipeg Jets

TSN will broadcast seven pre-season and 60 regular season games, with all broadcast games being available to TSN Direct subscribers. Pre-season on TSN kicked off last night with a matchup against the Edmonton Oilers, while regular season coverage begins Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. (CT). TSN’s coverage will be hosted by Sara Orlesky with play-by-play commentary from Manitoba native Dennis Bevak, alongside analyst and former NHL player Kevin Sawyer. Ken Wiebe will also contribute. Orlesky will also serve as a Sportcentre reporter. For radio, TSN 1290 will cover every single game, with pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage.

Sportsnet once again does not have regional rights to Winnipeg’s games but will provide national coverage for 22 games, including three standard mid-week games (beginning Jan. 8), 12 Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts (beginning Oct. 12) and seven Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcasts (beginning Oct. 6). The Jets’ HNIC broadcasts also include an afternoon broadcast on Feb. 8 as part of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.

Vancouver Canucks

Sportsnet’s more dominant in the west, where it has the exclusive broadcast rights to a number of teams including the Canucks. The franchise is entering its golden anniversary year with 82 regular season matchups starting Wednesday Oct. 2 (pre-season began last night). Within that Sportsnet-exclusive season are 15 appearances on Hockey Night in Canada, beginning Oct. 5. On television, play-by-play will be announced by John Shorthouse, with John Garrett providing analysis. Dan Murphy will host Sportsnet panels, while Iain MacIntyre will serve as a contributor. Canucks are also exclusive to Sportsnet on the radio, with Sportsnet 650 featuring play-by-play announcements by Brendan Batchelor and analysis by Corey Hirsch. 

Edmonton Oilers

The puck officially drops on Edmonton’s pre-season tonight on Sportsnet, while the regular season (consisting of 82 games) will kick off Oct. 2 against the Canucks. All 82 games are exclusive to the Rogers-owned Sportsnet West, with 10 being broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada. Additionally, seven match-ups will fall under the branded Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey banner, beginning Oct. 16. Play-by-play will be provided by Kevin Quinn, who is joined by game analyst Louie DeBrusk. Interviews and on-ice reporting will come from Gene Principe, with contributions from analyst Drew Remenda.

Montreal Canadiens

TSN and Sportsnet will split its coverage of the Habs as the legendary franchise gets ready to take to the ice. TSN will host four pre-season games starting Sept. 23 (with that game and the following game to be played against their rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs). TSN’s coverage officially begins against the Carolina Hurricanes Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. TSN will host 50 regular season games, with hosting duties split by Tessa Bonhomme and Glenn Sciiler. Insider Pierre LeBrun will also contribute. Bryan Mudryk will provide play-by-play commentary, with contributions from analysts Poulin, Mike Johnson and Craig Button. TSN’s Montreal bureau reporter John Lu will provide Habs reports for Sportscentre. English-language radio broadcasts are exclusive to TSN 690 Montreal.

Sportsnet holds national, but not regional rights to Montreal’s games and will broadcast 31 games in total, with seven being standard mid-week broadcasts (beginning Oct. 9), 21 Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts (beginning Oct. 5) and three Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcasts (beginning Dec. 1). The Habs’ HNIC coverage will also include an appearance in Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada Feb. 8.

Calgary Flames

After a solid regular and post-season, Calgary is back on the airwaves. Sportsnet also has the exclusive rights to all the Flames’ matchups during the regular season. With the franchise entering its 40th year, the season will consist of 82 games to be broadcast on linear TV, radio and live streaming. The season officially kicks off Oct. 3 against the Colorado Avalanches, who beat out the Flames in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Leafs devotees will see a familiar face if they tune in to the match, which will be broadcast at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West as well as Sportsnet Now and Sportsnet Now+, NHL Live and on radio at Sportsnet 960; former Leafs centre Nazem Kadri was traded to the Avs after nearly a decade with Toronto. The season will also include 15 appearances on Hockey Night in Canada and a Pacific Division match-up on Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada Feb. 8. Regional broadcasts will feature play-by-play announcer Rick Ball, game analysts Kelly Hrudey and Cassie Campbell-Pascall and reporter Ryan Leslie. On radio, Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias will serve as the play-by-play announcer and game analyst respectively, with Pat Steinberg on pre- and post-game analysis.