On a recent weekday afternoon, we were joined by NHLPA executive director Pat LaFontaine to chat about the impending release of the new free-to-air and cable-access TV service for NHL players.
LaFontaine was a guest on the “Power Lunch” segment of this week’s episode of the “Hockey Night in Canada” show, where the hosts are joined by several former NHL players, including Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews, and Ryan Kesler.
LaFontain explained that the NHLPA has been negotiating for the past several months with Verizon Wireless, the US wireless provider, about the service.
“We’re hoping they’re going to have it by March,” he said, “and then we’re going in the spring to try to get it on the air by the time it hits the airwaves in Canada.”
The NHLPA and Verizon were originally hoping to have a new service ready for the 2019-20 season, but the talks stalled after Verizon pulled out.
At this point, the NHL says the new service will arrive sometime in the summer of 2020.
The NHLPA will need to reach a contract with Verizon to get the service to air in Canada.
In a press release announcing the service, the team said that its members can sign up for the service starting March 2 and that “players will be able to receive the new online NHL Plus experience when it arrives.”
La Fontaine said the NHL has no idea when the service will be available.
“We don’t know,” he told The Hockey News.
“We’re waiting for Verizon to come up with a plan that works for us.”
While it may seem like a long time before the NHL can get this service rolling, the league said the new TV service will allow players to “see the game live” on their TVs, “view their favorite games on their devices, and watch NHL on the go.”
In an interview with NHL Network’s “Power Hour,” LaFontain said that this will be the first time that NHL players will be given access to the new streaming service.
The new service also allows the league to bring the game to more people, including the fans who have been clamoring for a free service.
“It’s going to be really great for the fans,” La Fontaine told the network.
“It’s the first game they’re really going to see live and they’re getting a chance to see it on TV, too.
The new service is coming to the NHL’s home video platforms, including its NHL Network.
If you are a subscriber to a cable provider or a wireless carrier, you will have access to NHL Plus when it is released.
For the first four weeks, you’ll be able access the service from the Verizon app, and for the next two weeks, it will be on the NHL website.
After that, the service won’t be available to the public.
I think it’s going be really interesting,” Lafontaine said of the NHL TV service.
“I think the fans will be excited, because it’s not going to just be the players who are going to get access to it, it’s the fans of the game and the fans around the league who are excited to see this.”
When the NHL released the NHL Premium channel in 2016, it promised fans access to more than just the regular season and playoffs.
The service offered a full slate of games, including a preseason edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With the NHL streaming service, LaFontains goal is to get more people to subscribe to the service as soon as possible.
This is going to help our fans in a big way, because they’ll be getting the content that they deserve.”