nhl tv history:

Hockey History: The NHL’s 1952 TV Debut (Video)

It’s been 53 days since the last Sabres game.

The Kings beat the Devils last night in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final. There is no game tonite. No hockey, whatsoever. All that being said, today is a good day to dust off an old time capsule and watch a clip of the NHL’s Canadian TV debut.

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Gather 'round the Predicta, everyone.



A few observations:

  • How about those windswept players?
  • Grainy video or not, that Stanley Cup doesn’t look like it’s aged one day – truly a timeless trophy.
  • Frank “Sleke?” That’s almost as bad as a “Sabers” typo.
  • “Sleke” is among many other big time names: Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Hartland Molson, Terry Sawchuk, and lots more crammed into just 1:37.

American viewers would see hockey in their living rooms for the first time in 1956; CBS would showcase a game on Saturday afternoons. But it wasn’t long before the NHL and NHLPA screwed it up. From Wikipedia:

According to Sports Illustrated, the NHL dropped CBS because the NHL owners didn’t want the fledgling Players’ Association to gain a financial cut of the TV deal. This was despite the fact that CBS was at least at one point, getting better ratings than NBC’s NBA package from around the same period, especially in cities with NHL, minor-league, or major college (division 1 level) hockey clubs.

How about that? The NHL was lost to American TV viewers in 1960, and didn’t return until the ’66 playoffs on NBC. That Cup is timeless, but it would seem that “blackouts” are as well.

NHL vs. the NHLPA. Blackouts. Some things never change.

Still, it’s the good ol’ hockey game, which transcends time and the bickering of business. And we have at least 3 more games before the next Cup is engraved.

I hope you enjoyed the clip.

Go Sabres.

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