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NHL Center Ice Review
NHL® Center Ice® gives you all the games that you might miss from local and national coverage—just watch out for blackout restrictions.
The new season starts on January 1, 2021 so check back as we provide more updates on how to watch!
What you need to know about NHL Center Ice
NHL Center Ice airs any NHL games not already broadcast by NBC, CNBC, USA Network, or NHL Network. Almost all cable, satellite, or streaming services let you add NHL Center Ice so you can see all those sweet cheddar shots. You get up to forty out-of-market games a week, which is more puck juggling than even die-hards may be able to take.
You can think of it like this: NHL Center Ice gives you both NHL.TV and NHL Network, which is normally its own channel—and if you want NHL Network, you may have to add it to your cable or satellite in a sports package.
Some games won’t be in your market. Due to local and national coverage licensing, you won’t be able to see all of your team’s games—unless you get NHL Center Ice to round out your TV package coverage.
Can I add NHL Center Ice to my cable or satellite TV subscription?
You can add NHL Center Ice to just about every cable or satellite TV provider (we didn’t come across anywhere this wasn’t possible). And they’re all about the same price: between $130 to $160 for the season.
NHL Center Ice includes NHL Network (a 24-hour NHL-dedicated channel) and NHL.TV (the dedicated app and streaming network, which you can buy separately).
Can I just subscribe to NHL.TV?
NHL.TV is a web and mobile app (think NBA League Pass but for hockey) that allows you to watch every game by using an internet streaming service. You can buy this service separately, but it costs nearly as much as adding NHL Center Ice to your TV package.
*Blackouts and other restrictions apply.
If you’re not already subscribed to a cable service, then you may just want to go for NHL.TV and avoid the other costs of cable.
But if you’re smiling with your summer teeth all-year round for the NHL, then NHL Center Ice really is the best option—it fills in the gaps of your regular service.
Remember: To get the best coverage you’ll need NHL Center Ice along with NBC, CNBC, and USA Network.
How can I stream NHL Center Ice?
Through NHL.TV or the NHL app, you can view all the games included with your NHL Center Ice package.
NHL Center Ice supports
- iPod Touch
- Android phones and devices
How can I try NHL Center Ice before I buy it?
You can check out a free preview during the first few weeks of the NHL season—or if you’re a bit late to the game, after the All-Star Game. (Or in-between the season and the Olympics).
NHL Center Ice blackouts
Alright, listen up, you hosers: blackouts exist on NHL Center Ice and NHL.TV. That’s just the way the biscuit crumbles. But why?
Local markets need viewership both in and out of the arena. So if your favorite team is playing on NBC or NBCSN, then you won’t be able to watch via NHL Center Ice or NHL.TV.
The licensing agreements are meant to promote the local broadcasters while protecting them from becoming obsolete. Basically, everyone needs to make some cash, and the NHL and its affiliates are no exception—but maybe that money will help some hot dog vendors live their best lives, too.
Avoid blackouts with a VPN
Nothing’s worse than living in Denver and having all the Colorado Avalanche games blacked out. Luckily, it’s just like Dr. Ian Malcolm says, “Life . . . uh . . . finds a way.” As in we’ll find a way to watch our games no matter what.
If you’re like us and want to make absolutely sure you can watch every game, blackout or not, then you'll want a VPN.
VPNs give you an anonymous way to browse the internet, and you get to choose where your IP location is, meaning you can wheel around blackout games like a true beautician.
By setting your location outside of your region, you should be able to see if your team can make it to The Show while avoiding blackouts.
Other ways to watch the NHL
You can watch the NHL on the following networks:
- NBCSN (NBC Sports Network)
- NHL Network
Which means that you can use any of the following services:
All of the services above include NBC in their lowest price packages, but for some services like DIRECTV NOW, you’ll need an upgraded package or sports add-on to get NBC Regional Sports Networks.
Just remember, you’ll still have to pay for NHL.TV separately to catch every game for your favorite teams.
If you watch a lot of hockey, these services can be well worth it—you get a lot of NHL games for a relatively low price. And if all you watch is hockey, you’d be better off paying for NHL.TV alone (and using some VPN magic).
You can check out our breakdown of streaming service channels here.
If your team is out of market, e.g. you live in LA but love the Detroit Red Wings, then we’d say NHL Center Ice (along with NHL.TV) is worth it. It’s the apple you need so you can watch your team make it to The Show. You’ll want to check your blackout warnings on the NHL.TV website.
However, if you’re in market and you’re only going to miss a few games, then the cost might make you leave those games on the bench. Aside from the price, NHL Center Ice is what the most avid fans need.
Create and sign in to your NHL.com account. Then go to www.NHL.com/activate, find your paid TV provider (i.e. DIRECTV, Verizon Fios, etc.), log in on that page too, and then you’ll be good to go.