'NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other' to offer behind-the-scenes look at the League's top stars
NEW YORK -- Five outdoor games, featuring nine different NHL teams, as well as the 2014 Sochi Olympics will provide the ingredients for must-see TV, according to the National Hockey League.
The NHL, along with the NHLPA and broadcast partners NBC and CBC, jointly announced the creation of an all-access television series entitled "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other" during a press event held Monday in Manhattan.
The series will feature an exclusive inside look at the involved teams and their star athletes as they play in regular-season games, the four 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games, the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver and the Olympics.
"We love the game, we admire the players and we want to take that and make it as big as we possibly can," NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said. "We want to make it big through the events we do. We want to make it big through the programming we do. It's not just enough to feed the core hockey fan, but we want to expose the sport to casual fans as well and continue to grow the game. That's been a huge part of the partnership with CBC and it's been a huge part of the NBC relationship."
Collins stressed that the NHL's participation in the Olympics is a major driving force behind the series. He called it a unique season for the NHL with the Olympic participation, the Heritage Classic and the Stadium Series games, so bringing the inside stories of the journey into living rooms across North America was a no-brainer.
The seven-part series debuts Jan. 22 on NBCSN and Jan. 23 on CBC (with a re-air Jan. 26 on Sportsnet in Canada).
Subsequent episodes will air in the United States on NBCSN on Jan. 29, Feb. 5, Feb. 27 (two-part), March 5 and March 12. CBC will air the one-part episodes one day after NBCSN but will also air the two-part episode on Feb. 27. Sportsnet will provide additional viewing opportunities on Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 23, March 2 (two hours), March 9 and March 16.
"We've been able to pull together really an all-star lineup of executive producers to tell the stories that are going to come out of 100 days and nights of shooting throughout this process, Collins said.
The series is being produced by Bristow Global Media Inc., headed by Julie Bristow, a former executive at CBC whose duties included overseeing production of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and creating and producing other top programming. Ross Greenburg, the former HBO Sports president and winner of more than 50 Sports Emmys, will serve as an executive producer on behalf of the NHL. Greenburg was executive producer of HBO's initial "24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic." Steve Mayer, the senior vice president and executive producer of IMG Productions is serving as an executive producer on the series as well.
"What's most important is we want to give that feeling to the viewer that they're inside, that they'll be in training rooms, meeting rooms and locker rooms, they'll be hearing from coaches, players will be miked on the ice, cameras will be low on the ice in arenas," Greenburg said. "We also want to bring to life these Stadium games and, obviously, Sochi because those are the big events. That will be the hinge point to this series as players look to those events, as they go from rivals to teammates to rivals, or from teammates to rivals to teammates."
Stadium Series games begin on Jan. 25, 2014, when the Anaheim Ducks face the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium (9:30 p.m. EST, NBCSN/CBC). The first of two Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium follows Sunday, Jan. 26 when the New York Rangers play the New Jersey Devils (12:30 p.m. EST, NBC/CBC). The Rangers battle the New York Islanders three days later on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Yankee Stadium (7:30 p.m. EST, NBCSN/TSN).
Following the NHL's participation in the 2014 Games, the Stadium Series finished in Chicago on March 1 when the Pittsburgh Penguins square off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field (8 p.m. EST, NBC).
"The players are excited to be a part of it," said Steve Webb, a divisional player representative for the NHLPA.
"They understand to grow the game we have to do things like this, we have to do things big, extravagant in a way where it creates attention and draws people in to watch our sport. Here you have an opportunity to get really in-depth behind the scenes with a lot of our greatest players. There are a lot of great storylines here that the players are excited to be involved in."