America celebrates Canadaâs favorite game with three regional and one national NHL game Sunday, Feb. 19, on NBC. At 12pm ET, viewers will see either the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Buffalo Sabres, the San Jose Sharks at the Detroit Red Wings (who are looking to extend their record home winning streak) or the St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks. Then at 3pm ET, the Boston Bruins at the Minnesota Wild game will air nationally. Then Hockey Day in America wraps up in the evening with the New Jersey Devils at the Montreal Canadiens at 6pm ET on NBC Sports
NBC SPORTS CELEBRATES HOCKEY ACROSS THE U.S. WITH SECOND ANNUAL âHOCKEY DAY IN AMERICAâ
Stories throughout day to explore hockeyâs influence and impact in America
Nine hours of NHL coverage includes three regional games at Noon ET plus Bruins at Wild at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, followed by Devils at Canadiens at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
NEW YORK â Feb. 14, 2012 â NBC Sports will once again celebrate hockey in the United States with the second annual âHockey Day in Americaâ presented by McDonaldâs this Sunday from Noon-6 p.m. ET on NBC. Immediately following âHockey Day in America,â NBC Sports Network will present the New Jersey Devils at the Montreal Canadiens at 6 p.m. ET to conclude a nine-hour NHL block of programming across the broadcast and cable platforms of the NBC Sports Group.
From legendary high school hockey rivalries to the physically challenged who drive for hours to play their favorite sport to âThe Programâ that changed the game forever for the U.S. hockey elite, NBC Sports will weave the stories of Americaâs affinity for hockey into and around its coverage of four NHL games (three regional and one national), which will include interviewing and highlighting U.S. players. Among the stories scheduled to be told on Sunday:
Roseau High School vs. Warroad High School: Itâs a âFriday Night Lightsâ atmosphere whenever Roseau (population 2,633) and Warroad (1,781) meet in Minnesota high school hockey. Considering their relatively small populations, the two schools near the Canadian border have produced a disproportionately large number of NHL players. Neal Broten is one of three brothers from Roseau to play in the NHL, and he also was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. Warroad boasts a similar crop of NHL and former Olympic players.
Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey: Through the Lightning Foundation, Tampa Bay was the first in the NHL to fund a community sled hockey program for the physically challenged. The program is so successful that numerous NHL teams have emulated it with participants of all ages traveling from across the state of Florida, some traveling up to six hours, to take to the ice with the Lightning sled hockey team.
The Program: Arguably nothing has had a greater impact on the growth and success of American-born hockey players as âThe Programââ enacted in 1996 by USA Hockey. The National Team Development Program was founded with a dual goal: to provide a viable domestic alternative for elite American players who might otherwise opt for top Canadian junior leagues, and to improve U.S. results in international play. Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane is one of the Ann Arbor, Mich., programâs many success stories. At the Vancouver Games, the U.S. won a silver medal by fielding the youngest roster in the tournament, complete with seven NTDP alums, including Kane.
Liam McHugh, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury will anchor NBC Sportsâ live pre-game and early-game intermission coverage from the Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink in downtown St. Paul, Minn. Olczyk (analyst) and McGuire (Inside the Glass analyst) will then move inside to join Mike âDocâ Emrick (play-by-play) for the call of Bruins-Wild.
Calling the early games on NBC will be Gord Miller (play-by-play) and Ray Ferraro (Inside the Glass analyst) for Penguins-Sabres; Ken Daniels (play-by-play) and Darren Pang (Inside the Glass analyst) for Sharks-Red Wings; and Dave Strader (play-by-play) and Brian Engblom (Inside the Glass analyst) for Blues-Blackhawks. John Forslund (play-by-play) and Andy Brickley will call Devils-Canadiens (Inside the Glass analyst) for NBC Sports Network.
Sundayâs games on NBC and NBC Sports Network:
Noon-3 pm ET
NBC Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres (regional)
NBC San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings (regional)
NBC St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks (regional)
3-6 pm ET
NBC Boston Bruins at Minnesota Wild (national)
6-9 pm ET
NBCSN New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens (national)
âHockey Day in Americaâ is part of âHockey Weekend Across America.â Launched by USA Hockey in 2008, âHockey Weekend Across Americaâ is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the game and those involved at all levels and to expose hockey to new audiences.
NBC Sports experienced ratings success last year with the inaugural âHockey Day in America.â Coverage of last yearâs national game, Penguins-Blackhawks, which went head-to-head with the Daytona 500, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years (1/14/06, three-game regional on NBC, 2.0 million).