With the 2015/16 NHL season almost upon us, I thought I would update the ways of viewing for fans of the sport in the UK.
As I’ve said in previous articles, it’s no secret that there are lots of ways to watch using unlicensed streams online but I’m going to focus on the legal ways you can legally pay to watch the NHL in the UK. There is also the HockeyStreams website, which is by invite only at this point.
First up is the channel named “Premier Sports” which I’ll refer to as PS for the rest of this article.
They broadcast on SKY channel 428 in HD,Virgin channel 551 and TalkTalk channel 526.
The channel is also available online in HD through the Premier Player.
Viewers in Northern Ireland can view Premier Sports via Setanta Sports 1 in that territory.
Visit http://www.setanta.com/ie for more information.
PS show around 15 games per week, though it should be noted not all of these are live broadcasts, with some delayed by a few hours, others until the following day.
Their coverage for the first nine days of the season is as follows:
Thu 08 Oct New York Rangers @ Chicago Blackhawks Live
Thu 08 Oct San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings Live
Fri 09 Oct Edmonton Oilers @ St. Louis Blues Live
Sat 10 Oct Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings Live
Sat 10 Oct Arizona Coyotes @ Los Angeles Kings Live
Sun 11 Oct Tampa Bay Lightning @ Buffalo Sabres Delayed
Sun 11 Oct Philadelphia Flyers @ Florida Panthers Delayed
Sun 11 Oct Anaheim Ducks @ San Jose Sharks Delayed
Mon 12 Oct Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators Live
Mon 12 Oct Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins Live
Tue 13 Oct Florida Panthers @ Philadelphia Flyers Live
Tue 13 Oct Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks Live
Tue 13 Oct Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres Delayed
Wed 14 Oct Montreal Canadiens @ Pittsburgh Penguins Live
Wed 14 Oct Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings Live
Thu 15 Oct Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets Live
Thu 15 Oct Boston Bruins @ Colorado Avalanche Live
Fri 16 Oct Nashville Predators @ New York Islanders Live
Fri 16 Oct Minnesota Wild @ Arizona Coyotes Live
“NHL Tonight” is also listed as being part of the package.
There are no hard and fast rules as to which games they show every week or any way of knowing which teams will be featured. You take that risk that you may only see your team’s games a handful or less times a month. PS have no control over which feed of the selected game will be shown either.
In the past PS have broadcast the iconic Hockey Night in Canada but for at least the duration of the rest of this television deal, they will not show HNIC for the following reasons which they have listed on their website:
“There are 2 reasons.
The first being we do not want to be tied into showing Canadian teams during primetime Saturday games.
The second reason is we no longer have the shared fibre access across the Atlantic with Rogers Sportsnet. This means we would have to bring in 7 hours of programming every weekend ourselves using satellites at a cost of around £250,000 per season. This would also not include rights for the programming from CBC. Again this makes HNIC totally unfeasible this year vs. the number of subscribers actually willing to pay for that extra content.”
Intermission coverage is down to the host broadcasters allowing them to be viewed overseas and are not down to PS, as they themselves refuse to pay the extra to show these which when you consider the “alleged costs” of doing so is unfeasible in monetary terms.
PS finally broadcasts in HD after many false promises in the past.
The channel costs £11.99 per month SD, £12.99 for HD, with a 2 months minimum contract. A £8 connection fee also applies. Alternatively, you can opt for a 12 month season which saves you around £50.
Free access to the online Premier Player and 7 day Catch-Up service also form part of your subscription.
For those that might want just online coverage, details can be found at http://www.premierplayer.tv regarding information on pricing and service requirements.
All game broadcast live (and at times delayed) on PS, are blocked from being shown LIVE on the NHL online service “Game Centre Live”, as this is the only way for PS to protect the investment they have made in broadcasting NHL games via their channel. This included playoff games, the Winter Classic, All-Star Games, any other classic games and the Stanley Cup Final.
A totally understandable protection for them to have, if not frustrating for those who only wish to pay for the NHL’s online service.
It would be impertinent of me not to mention that PS don’t just broadcast NHL hockey but also EIHL, CHS and GB Men’s games in IIHF World Championships.
It has to be said that PS coverage of NHL has been far from perfect. I’ve heard so many stories of subscription issues and terrible customer service, of which I’ve endured the latter.
Many times the feeds are of poor quality or cut out totally, with them blaming everything from the weather to the NHL, but never taking responsibility themselves, an issue I’ve had with the company from day one.
Undoubtedly there is nothing like watching a game on your TV set but those issues and the cost have to be balanced out against the possible issues.
The other option available is to subscribe to NHL’s Game Centre Live online service which I’ll refer to as GCL for the remainder of the article.
GCL is a online subscription service offering streaming video of live out-of-market games.
Prices as per the email sent out to last years subscribers are as follows:
“”“We are pleased to notify you of the annual automatic renewal of your subscription to the NHL GameCenter LIVE All Access Yearly Package. Your NHL GameCenter LIVE All Access Yearly Package is priced at last year’s full season price- only USD $99.99 for the entire year ($15 lower than the 2015-2016 regular full yearly price)”
In addition, we are now offering monthly packages – only $19.99 per month. If you prefer the NHL GameCenter LIVE™ All Access Monthly Package simply (click link). If you do so, you will be charged $19.99 for each month of the 2015-2016 NHL season and your NHL GameCenter LIVE All Access Monthly Package subscription will automatically renew annually at the prior season’s regular full monthly price.
There is no action required for you to continue your current subscription. Unless you select the All Access Monthly Package or cancel your subscription before 12:01AM ET on October 1, 2015, the payment card you have on file with us will be charged USD $99.99 on or about October 1, 2015, and your subscription will automatically renew annually at the prior year’s regular full price (USD $114.99 for 2015-2016). Please note additional taxes, such as sales taxes or value added taxes, may apply in certain jurisdictions. For example, sales taxes will be charged in NE and TX, and VAT taxes will be charged in European Union countries. Please contact the applicable taxation authority for details. To update your credit or debit card information, simply (click link).”””
2015-2016 NHL GameCenter LIVE™ Features
Watch either the home or away team’s broadcasts
Watch games on a variety of supported devices ***
On-demand full length and condensed replays
Follow the action from multiple games at once with Mosaic® view and picture in picture
Access to live stats and play by play from the NHL GameCenter™
Download the free NHL® app and get access to live game video, radio, highlights and more by linking your NHL GameCenter LIVE™ account to your Android phone or tablet.
Download the free NHL® app on your iPad®*, iPhone® or iPod touch® and sign in with your NHL GameCenter LIVE™ account for access to live game video, radio, highlights and more. *iPad 2 or newer required for video content.
Access the NHL® app on your Apple TV® and sign in to watch live games, post-game replays, on-demand video highlights and more.
The Roku streaming player lets you access your NHL GameCenter LIVE™ subscription on your TV—without a PC. Watch your favorite team or catch action from around the league, live or on-demand.
The NHL® app on Xbox 360 and Xbox One brings you live games, replays, classic games and videos from the NHL VideoCenter, plus controller-free entertainment with the power of kinect.
PS3™ and PS4™
The PS3™ and PS4™ video game systems instantly stream hockey so you can watch the action like never before.
Download the free NHL® app from Google Play (Android phones and tablets) or the App Store (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), and then sign in with your NHL GameCenter LIVE™ username and password to access live games and replays. You may sign in from the “Settings” section of the app or when prompted.
You may use your NHL GameCenter LIVE™ subscription to watch games through several gaming consoles and Internet-connected devices compatible with your television.
Subscribers who have an Apple TV, Roku, Sony PlayStation®3, Sony PlayStation®4, Sony PlayStation®Vita, or Xbox 360 may use the NHL® application on these devices to sign in and watch live games with a valid subscription. Select Sony TV, Blu-Rays and Home Theater devices enabled with Bravia Internet Video also offer live games through the NHL® app.
NHL GameCenter LIVE™ subscribers may sign in to watch live games and replays through the NHL® app on Android tablets and iPads.
Simply download the free NHL® app from Google Play (Android) or the App Store(iPad). You can visit the “Settings” section of the app to sign in with your existing NHL GameCenter LIVE™ username and password to access live games and replays.
Non-subscribers may also upgrade to an NHL GameCenter LIVE™ subscription through the NHL® app on iPad and Android tablets. If you make a purchase directly through the apps (on iPad, it will be using your iTunes account), you will have access to live games on your tablet alone, unless you complete the process of creating a username and password that will enable you to sign in online and on other supported devices.
Note: Any purchase of NHL GameCenter LIVE™ made using an iTunes account on iPad or Apple TV is subject to Apple’s refund policy. Any purchase of NHL GameCenter LIVE™ made using Google Play on an Android Tablet is subject to Google’s refund policy.
watch on Mobile devices
watch on other devices
E-mails are in the process of being sent out as of 18th September 2015.
Although not thoroughly advertised it appears NHL Vault is still available for just under five dollars a month. Features full and condensed replays from the current season and archived games since 2007/08. Big thanks to Kim McGreal for the heads up. https://gamecenter.nhl.com/nhlgc/secure/vaultsignup?intcmpid=nhl.com:gcl:newlgnpgvaultbtn
Contacting NHL GCL Support
For those outside of the US the telephone number is +1-407-708-1356, between the hours of 9am to 2am ET.You can also submit your question online by visiting the online Customer Support Page or by using the Live Chat feature. This is available at the GCL signup page which I will put a link to later in the article.
On GCL you have the ability to watch live games, replay at your convenience which can either be the full game or a condensed version.
Home or Away broadcasts or available for the majority of games, alternate camera angles, multi-game views, live rewind, restart or pause a game and slow motion.
There may also be other new features the NHL are working on or have not announced yet as per the new working relationship with MLB as I recently wrote about.
It should be noted that there is no HNIC full coverage but the games are shown and intermissions are again at broadcasters discretion. I’ve seen games where intermission coverage is provided on the away feed but not the home. It’s varied and if you get the intermission coverage it’s accepted as a bonus.
Games that are broadcast by PS are blacked out on GCL. These are generally available to view 24 hours after they have finished on PS.
Let’s not beat around the bush though, as we know there are means and ways around this issue that I won’t post here. I would say however, that bragging about it to the NHL or on the Facebook page of PS, is not particularly brave or clever. The NHL does have the power to revoke your subscription should you violate the terms of the contract you sign in buying GCL, which although they are highly unlikely to do, why give them any cause to do so or upset PS viewers in the process?
Personally I love the NHL GCL package and I think it offers incredibly value for money as you’re able to watch whatever games you wish to, at your convenience, bar the blackouts.
Approximately a little under £70 for every game of the NHL is unbeatable, less than £1 per game for just the team you support.
Goes without saying you need a computer/device in good working order and a reliable broadband service but in my experience, GCL has proved superior to PS in terms of reliability of service.
The GCL signup link is below and at the foot of the page is an FAQ section which is very expansive as well as the option of contacting them about any queries you may have.
NHL GCL signup page:
Currently not available as of September 19th but due to be online next week.
However you spend your money this season, I hope you enjoy the 2015/16 NHL season and the thrills and spills our great game has to offer.