NBC Sports Celebrates ‘Hockey Day in America’
By: Karen Hogan, Associate Editor
Friday, February 17, 2012 - 11:35 am

This weekend, the NBC Sports Group will celebrate the game of hockey across the U.S. with the second-annual “Hockey Day in America.” NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network will combine to present nine hours of hockey coverage, including five NHL games, beginning at noon on Saturday.

The NHL action begins on NBC Sports with three regional matchups: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, San Jose at Detroit, and St. Louis at Chicago. Puck drop for the three games will be staggered, with the Penguins and Sabres facing off at 12:35 p.m. ET, the Sharks and Red Wings at 12:40 p.m., and the Blues and Blackhawks at 12:45 p.m. At the conclusion of all three games, the NBC Sports national audience will see the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins take on the Minnesota Wild at 3 p.m.

Liam McHugh, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire, and Mike Milbury will host the broadcast from the Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink in downtown St. Paul, MN, providing live pregame and early-game intermission coverage for all three matchups. As each regional game ends, viewers will be taken to another until all three are final. At that point, Olczyk (analyst) and McGuire (Inside the Glass analyst) will join Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play) in the Xcel Energy Center for the nationally televised Bruins-Wild game.

NHL action continues Saturday evening on NBC Sports Network, with a nationally televised contest between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens at 6 p.m.

The Game at All Levels
In addition to a chock-full slate of NHL programming, the NBC Sports Group will present several features that showcase the passion for hockey in the U.S. Prior to the three regional matchups, the puck drops for Roseau High School and Warroad High School, two Minnesota small-town teams from near the Canadian border that have produced a large crop of NHL and Olympic talent.

The Peacock will also shine the spotlight on Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey, a team-funded program for the physically challenged. Participants of all ages travel from across Florida — some journeying up to six hours — to be part of this successful community program.

Concluding NBC Sports’ pregame coverage will be a feature on “The Program,” which was established in 1996 by USA Hockey to provide a viable domestic alternative for elite American hockey players who might otherwise opt for Canadian junior teams. The Program, which also focuses attention on improving American results in international play, has played an integral role in the growth and success of U.S.-born hockey players.

Hockey Weekend Across America
“Hockey Day in America” is part of USA Hockey’s “Hockey Weekend Across America” initiative, which was launched in 2008 and is dedicated to celebrating hockey at all levels and exposing new audiences to the game.

The NHL will be engaging audiences through its social-media platforms throughout the weekend, encouraging fans to follow @NHL and @USAHockey on Twitter, use the hashtag #HWAA and #HockeyMeans to join the conversation, and “Like” the NHL and USA Hockey’s Facebook pages for event-related updates. NHL.com will provide on-the-ground reports from St. Paul.

Last night, USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrea joined NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL Network’s NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman for a discussion of the state of hockey across America. On Sunday, NHL Network concludes the weekend’s coverage by re-airing the special tribute to the NHL’s highest-scoring U.S.-born player, Mike Modano.

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