Road hockey rivalry and poker-faced players

Canada loves hockey. That much we know. We also love our NHL stars. Now CTV's specialty nets are adding some notable off-the-ice and online twists to our national sport.

TSN and OLN are blending hockey with online poker properties and street-level stick battles leading up to and into the New Year, and NHL players are being drawn into the programming mix in ways that might test even their skills.

OLN is digging into the hockey lovers’ pastime of taking the game to Canadian streets in Road Hockey Rumble. The Wednesday night series premieres on Jan. 10, starting at 8:30 pm ET/9:30 pm PT. The show has attracted appearances by NHL players looking to take their game to the road with hosts Calum and Mark. A website,, is in the works for weekly player stats, photos and behind the scenes videos. It promises elbow-to-the-face grit, trash-talking rivalry and street stops for games in cities across the country. Albertans face off against Saskatchewanians in Lloydminster, AB. In Toronto, the show pits players who’ve always lived there against those from other cities who moved there and hate it.

TSN’s bid for hockey-loving eyeballs involves sitting NHL players down around a poker table in the name of charity – and perhaps a slight attempt at capitalizing on the recent card craze through a partnership with one of the world’s largest names in online gaming. The seven-part series Charity Faceoff premieres on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1 pm and runs until the final round on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 3 pm, pitting 16 current and former NHL players against each other in a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament worth $100,000 to their charities of choice. The series also draws in Canadian-born actress Elisha Cuthbert (24, Lucky Girl), who helps viewers get a sense of the hockey players’ personalities through interviews. The NHL/ match-up was created and managed by TSN Events along with Toronto-based Segal Communications.