04/01/2008 3:00 PM
- From Chicago Blackhawks.com: (link)
For the first time in history, the Chicago Blackhawks will televise their entire 82-game regular season schedule and playoff games on both cable and free television.
In conjunction with their current agreement with Comcast SportsNet, the Blackhawks today announced a 3-year agreement with WGN Television that, along with the National Hockey League's network partners, VERSUS and NBC, will air all Blackhawks games – both home and away – for the next three seasons.
"Our fans want to be able to follow our team on a consistent basis from opening night through the playoffs," said Blackhawks Chairman W. Rockwell"Rocky" Wirtz. "That's why we are taking this step forward. Bringing Chicago Blackhawks hockey to our fans on both cable and free television will help us to continue the momentum and enthusiasm we have established this year. The combination of Comcast SportsNet and WGN-TV will give the Blackhawks two vehicles to expose both our young players and our seasoned veterans."
The agreement, negotiated by Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonough, is yet another step by the organization to generate more enthusiasm about the team's rich tradition and a promising future.
After assuming the role of chairman last fall, Mr. Wirtz moved swiftly to place a series of home games on television. He also appointed Mr. McDonough as the team's new president.
Under McDonough, the team brought back Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito to serve as ambassadors. Also, the team will hold its inaugural fan convention this summer.
"I am extremely happy for our fans on this proud day in Blackhawks history," said Blackhawks President John McDonough. "We are very fortunate to have great partners in Comcast SportsNet and WGN-TV as they help in our efforts to aggressively market this franchise."
WGN Television has committed to televising up to 20 games per season in HD. Comcast SportsNet will televise the remaining games in HD, less those chosen by the national television networks.
WGN Television had been the home of the Blackhawks during the 1960's and early 1970's. In fact, the last time the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, WGN-TV televised the clinching game back on April 16, 1961.
"WGN-TV and the Chicago Blackhawks both have a long, proud tradition as important parts of the Chicago professional sports landscape," said Tom Ehlmann, Vice President & General Manager of WGN Television. "We are excited to be reunited as partners once again with the Blackhawks, and thrilled to be able to televise these games to the loyal fans of this great franchise."
"I'm very proud of the years of comprehensive coverage our network has provided Chicago Blackhawks fans," said James J. Corno, President of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. "Today's announcement speaks volumes about the direction that Rocky and John are taking this team. This is truly a historic day in Chicago sports television history and we couldn't be happier about our expanded number of games, along with WGN joining us as the other local TV home for Blackhawks hockey."
The history of Blackhawks hockey on local regional sports television dates back to 1984 when Blackhawks games were televised on SportsVision. SportsVision later became SportsChannel which became Fox SportsNet and is currently Comcast SportsNet.