Tuesday, February 14th, 2012


Stories throughout day to explore hockey’s 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 – Feb. 14, 2012 – NBC Sports will once again celebrate hockey in the United States with the second annual “Hockey Day in America” presented by McDonald’s this Sunday from Noon-6 p.m. ET on NBC. Immediately following “Hockey Day in America,” 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 “The Program” that changed the game forever for the U.S. hockey elite, NBC Sports will weave the stories of America’s 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: It’s a “Friday Night Lights” 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 “The Program’” 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., program’s 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 Sports’ 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 ‘Doc’ 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.

Sunday’s 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)

“Hockey Day in America” is part of “Hockey Weekend Across America.” Launched by USA Hockey in 2008, “Hockey Weekend Across America” 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 “Hockey Day in America.” Coverage of last year’s 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).