NHL Network is a television specialty channel devoted to the National Hockey League (NHL) and the sport of ice hockey that launched in the United States in 2007. The channel is also available in 1080i HD as NHL Network HD.
As a result of the agreement between the NHL and U.S. cable company Comcast that places NHL games on the NBC Sports Network (known at the time of the deal as OLN), the American version of NHL Network has been in development as a joint venture between the NHL and Comcast. The NHL Network in the United States currently shares some programming with its Canadian sister; the main differences are commercials and which live games the networks will air (for example, the Canadian version may show games televised on Versus, while the U.S. version airs the CBC feeds of Hockey Night in Canada games as well as TSN games). Live games are blacked out in the markets of the participating teams.
The league hired Ascent Media Network Services to manage and distribute the channel. A subsidiary of publicly traded Ascent Media Group, the company has offices in Stamford, Connecticut, from which it will maintain the network’s satellite signal, advertising insertions and other aspects of NHL Network.
NHL Network is one of four U.S. cable networks devoted to just one major sports league. NBA TV launched in 1999 with NFL Network following in 2003. Major League Baseball's channel, MLB Network, launched on January 1, 2009.
Comcast, who owns Versus, the current cable partner of the league, is also one of the largest operators of cable systems in the United States. The company was contractually obligated to have NHL Network on its systems by summer 2007 at the latest, so it would be available in the United States beginning with the 2007–08 NHL season. Both Comcast and the NHL had an option to end their contract after the 2006–07 season, which would have voided Comcast's obligation to launch a U.S. version of NHL Network, but opted to proceed with the launch.
Since its official launch in the United States, the NHL Network announced on October 8, 2007 its plans to begin airing that month through carriage agreements with Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable.  DirecTV has aired NHL Network on channel 215 since October 31, 2007. Going forward, any provider with NHL Center Ice is expected to place NHL Network somewhere on its system. Some of the providers offer NHL Network in high definition; all live games are broadcast in HDTV.
NHL.com announced on January 12, 2009 that AT&T U-Verse would begin carrying the channel.
On June 2, 2009 it was announced that NHL Network and Comcast have reached an agreement to carry the channel on the Digital Classic Tier, which will increase viewership from the currently estimated two million on the "Sports Entertainment" tier to over 10 million on its Digital Classic package.
In the international areas, the channel can be shown in Taiwan, starting in 2010.
- NHL on the Fly – NHL Network's signature show covers on- and off-ice NHL news with highlights, interviews and analysis. Airs nightly at 8:00 pm ET.
- NHL Tonight – (formerly NHL on the Fly: Final) covers on- and off-ice NHL news with highlights, interviews and analysis. Airs nightly at 10:00 PM ET or after each day's scheduled games are completed. The show made its debut on December 26, 2011.
- NHL Live! – A two-hour simulcast of the popular XM Satellite Radio show "NHL Live". Features interviews with NHL players and insight from NHL insiders like Bob McKenzie, Kevin Allen, and Ed Olczyk. Fans shape the content of the show by calling and e-mailing the studio to voice their opinions. Airs weekdays from 4:00-6:00 pm ET live from the NHL Store powered by Reebok in New York City.
- Top 10 – A countdown for anything hockey, from great performances to memorable moments.
- Frozen in Time – A look back at the NHL's greatest moments from players, teams, and special events.
- Classic Series – A collection of highlights from a past Stanley Cup Playoffs series.
- Vintage Games – A whole NHL game from the past aired in its entirety.
- Pioneers – NHL legends discuss their groundbreaking careers.
- National Hockey League – NHL Network's 75-game HD schedule features the best productions in the NHL with games on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Saturday games feature the acclaimed Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.
- NCAA Hockey – Live coverage of NCAA college hockey games on Friday nights.
- World Junior Championship – 10 countries battle for gold in the preeminent junior tournament of the year.
- Minor League Hockey – Live and tape-delayed coverage of American Hockey League (AHL) games.
- Memorial Cup – Champions of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), together with a host city, compete for the right to hoist the most prestigious title in junior hockey.
- ^ Comcast
- ^ NHL.com
- ^ NHL Network American Version Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic July 31, 2007
- ^ Media Week
- ^ Sports Business Journal
- ^ nhl.com
- ^ DishNetwork.com(Packages)
- ^ DishNetwork.com(CenterIce Package)
- ^ "AT&T U-Verse TV channel lineup scores NHL Network and NHL Network HD". NHL.com. January 12, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- ^ Comcast to Carry NHL Network on Digital Classic Tier, Broadcasting & Cable, June 2, 2009