Are you looking to watch hockey by streaming the NHL instead of paying for cable each month?
Good news! It’s entirely possible to accomplish this without paying the cable or satellite company a dime.
In this article, I’ll walk you through all the ways that you can cut the cord and remain as big a hockey fan as ever.
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NHL: National vs. Regional Broadcasts
If you’re a National Hockey League fan, you probably know there are a couple of different ways to watch the league’s games.
The NHL airs games on channels such as NBC and NBC Sports Network that are considered “national broadcasts” in the United States. In Canada, which is home to seven of the league’s teams, national broadcasts air on channels like CBC, TSN and Sportsnet.
If you want to watch these games without cable or satellite, you’ll need a live TV streaming service that offers these channels as a part of the subscription. YouTube TV offers these channels as a part of its base package for $64.99.
(Note: Beginning with the 2021-22 NHL scheduled to begin this fall, national broadcasts of games will switch from NBC networks to ESPN and Turner networks. This is part of a new broadcasting rights deal. This may change the live TV streaming service that is best for you to watch hockey.)
If your favorite team isn’t playing in a game that airs nationwide, you’re likely going to find it on a regional sports network (RSN). These channels can be a little trickier to find on live TV streaming services, but I’ll walk you through them later in this article.
How To Watch Your Local NHL Team Without Cable
If you live in the local broadcasting market for your favorite team, you will need access to the regional sports network that airs your favorite team in order to stream their games without paying for cable or satellite.
The availability of these channels on live TV streaming services varies from market to market. Unfortunately, you may find yourself limited to just one or two streaming services that carry the channel for your local team.
I have compiled a handy guide to help understand which RSN you’ll need in order to watch hockey games for your local team. I’ve also included streaming services that offer those channels (information current as of the date of this writing).
|NHL Team||Regional Sports Network||Live TV Streaming Options|
|Anaheim Ducks||Bally Sports SoCal||AT&T TV|
|Arizona Coyotes||Bally Sports Arizona||AT&T TV|
|Boston Bruins||NESN||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|Buffalo Sabres||MSG||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|Calgary Flames||Sportsnet (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Carolina Hurricanes||Bally Sports South||AT&T TV|
|Chicago Blackhawks||NBC Sports Chicago||AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV|
|Colorado Avalanche||Altitude Network||AT&T TV|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Bally Sports Ohio||AT&T TV|
|Dallas Stars||Bally Sports Southwest||AT&T TV|
|Detroit Red Wings||Bally Sports Detroit||AT&T TV|
|Edmonton Oilers||Sportsnet (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Florida Panthers||Bally Sports Florida||AT&T TV|
|Los Angeles Kings||Bally Sports West||AT&T TV|
|Minnesota Wild||Bally Sports North||AT&T TV|
|Montreal Canadiens||Sportsnet AND TSN (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Nashville Predators||Bally Sports South||AT&T TV|
|New Jersey Devils||MSG||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|New York Islanders||MSG||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|New York Rangers||MSG||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|Ottawa Senators||TSN (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Philadelphia Flyers||NBC Sports Philadelphia||AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh||AT&T TV, fuboTV|
|San Jose Sharks||NBC Sports California||AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV|
|Seattle Kraken||Root Sports Northwest||AT&T TV|
|St. Louis Blues||Bally Sports Midwest||AT&T TV|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Bally Sports Sun||AT&T TV|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Sportsnet (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Vancouver Canucks||Sportsnet (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
|Vegas Golden Knights||AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain||AT&T TV|
|Washington Capitals||NBC Sports Washington||AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV|
|Winnipeg Jets||TSN (Canada)||-Canadian TV-|
As you can see on the chart above, many cord cutters are limited to just one or two streaming services that offer their team’s regional sports network.
Most of these regional sports networks have apps and websites you can use to stream your local teams. However, access to the live streams of these channels usually requires login credentials from an approved cable or live TV streaming service.
ESPN+: Stream Out-of-Market Regular Season Games
If you don’t live in the local market for your favorite NHL team, your best path to streaming the league without cable is going to be ESPN+.
This service allows you to stream non-nationally televised and out-of-market NHL games as part of a subscription product that also gives you live access to games from other professional and college sports. ESPN+ costs $5.99 per month, or you can buy it as part of a bundle with Hulu’s on-demand product and Disney+ for $13.99 per month.
During the 2020-21 regular season, the NHL offered a subscription service called NHL.TV that provided streaming access to out-of-market games, but this is going away because of the new broadcast deal with ESPN.
This is actually good news, though, because the subscription price for ESPN+ is cheaper than NHL.TV.
It is worth noting that the change from NHL.TV to ESPN+ will not alleviate the blackout restrictions placed on in-market streaming.
If you live in the local broadcast area for the game you’re trying to stream, you’ll need to access the regional sports networks I discussed above.
How To Stream the Stanley Cup Playoffs
The Stanley Cup Playoffs, which conclude with a Eastern vs. Western Conference clash in the Stanley Cup Final, air on a variety of NBC-backed networks for the 2020-21 season.
NBC, NBC Sports Network, USA, CNBC and the NHL Network will air games from the 2020-21 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
You can access all of these channels except the NHL Network on YouTube TV’s base package for $64.99. If you want access to the NHL Network (which should only air a handful of first-round playoff games), you can pay for add-on sports packages with either fuboTV or Sling TV.
As the NHL playoffs progress, the two networks that will air the majority of the games are NBC and NBC Sports Network.
The Stanley Cup Final, which is a best-of-seven series, should air games on a combination of these two channels.
This information will change for the 2021-22 NHL season, as playoff broadcast rights will shift from NBC channels to both ESPN and Turner channels.
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