Why I'm a big fan of the NHL Network
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to sports channels these days, the popular ones all seem to be run by the professional sports leagues themselves.
Channels like the NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA TV all have solid viewership and are innovative when it comes to sports programming. In terms of these three particular channels, no one does it better than the NFL Network as they have tons of original programming, a large number of hosts, show a ton of NFL Films's-related documentaries and highlights and so much more.
When it comes to our sport, the NHL Network seems to have more detractors than actual fans. The people who do not league the league's television outlet will complain about its lack of original content, how some of the hosts are on a nightly basis, and the fact that it does not do enough to promote both the league and the game of hockey.
Well, I am here to tell you that I am actually a huge fan of the NHL Network. I live in the US and have been a viewer since the 2007-08 season and I watch it every single day and night without any kind of hesitation.
For starters, I believe that they have many well-rounded hosts. In my opinion, Kevin Weekes is the best there is as he brings fans terrific content with great analysis, a ton of passion, knowledge from a former player, and interesting tidbits from around the game.
They also have great hockey folks like EJ Hradek, Brian Lawton, Mike Rupp, Scott Stevens, Alex Tanguay, and many others who do an excellent job of providing unique perspectives and analysis when it comes to our favorite sports. While it is a rotating casts of hosts and former players, they all do a consistent job of providing solid content night in and night out.
Secondly, one of the best things that they do is when they use a former player (s) and host to show a certain goal or save was made using their makeshift rink in the studio. Together, the host and the former player (s) provide solid analysis, examples, and really do a good job explaining to the viewer why a certain play or save was able to be completed.
Another thing I like about the NHL Network is that there is definitely room to grow the Network. It would be great to see them have more programming, more live games, better off-season content and may be even the use of more hockey writers and bloggers to provide reports, analysis and opinion.
Believe me, I know that this will not be a popular piece. With that said, however, I'm a fan of the NHL Network, and not just because our Cave was featured on the channel!
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.