Friday, September 17, 2021

Hockey Streaming for 2021-2022

If all goes as planned, this will be the first time in the past three seasons that the National Hockey League will play a full schedule. Last season, the NHL scheduled a shorter season of 56 games for the 31 teams in the league. The previous year, the season was stopped after around 70 games were played (some played more, some played less) due to the pandemic. The playoffs were held without fans well after the season was normally over.

This year, the NHL is trying to get back to normal. An 82 game season is scheduled for the 32 teams -- the Seattle Kraken start play this year -- and the league has changed broadcasters. For the last ten years, NBC carried NHL games. Streamers were able to watch the playoffs on Peacock TV. But not this season.

Disney/ESPN and Turner Sports will carry NHL games starting this year as part of a seven-year agreement. ESPN+ will carry several games, as will Hulu. TNT and TBS will also carry games. The networks will alternate Stanley Cup finals, with the Disney side carrying this season, and the Turner side carrying next season's finals, and so on.

This year, that's good news for hockey fans, as streamers have more access to the Disney sports channels that are carrying NHL games. ESPN+ and Hulu are both available as standalone packages, meaning for as low as $7/month, you can watch several NHL games, plus the playoffs. Turner channels, TNT and TBS, don't currently offer standalone packages. Right now, the cheapest streaming package that includes TNT and TBS is Sling TV at $35/month. YouTube TV and Hulu+Live TV are $65/month, and DirecTV Stream is $70/month.

If you really want all of it, your best bet may be Sling TV Blue ($35) and ESPN+ ($7) for $42/month, as it would get you the NHL games on the Disney sports channels, as well as the games on Turner Sports channels.

Perhaps Turner networks will be available to sports fans for a better price in the future. Whether a standalone Turner Sports app -- I like that idea -- or a package that includes TNT and TBS programming, something with streamers in mind would be good. In the meantime, there are at least ways of including NHL games in your Streaming Life.

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