That channel will become NBC Sports Network Jan. 2, the day of the NHL Winter Classic. Three days prior, on New Year's Eve, it will broadcast its first-ever college hockey game. That game, between host Notre Dame and Boston University, is the first of 16 scheduled games on the channel this season.
The press release from Versus/NBC Sports Group appears below.
The NBC Sports Group will air 16 live college hockey games this season on NBC Sports Network, including four from the Hockey East Tournament (one Quarterfinal, both Semifinals and the Final). This season’s schedule, which marks the first time that the NBC Sports Group will air college hockey games, was developed through partnerships with numerous collegiate hockey associations and universities.Of note here ...
The coverage begins on VERSUS, which will be rebranded as the NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, on Saturday, December 31, when No. 4 Notre Dame hosts No. 12 Boston University at 7 p.m. ET. The remainder of this season’s schedule, which includes a game each Friday in primetime starting in January, will be seen on NBC Sports Network. The schedule culminates with live coverage of the Hockey East Tournament with a Quarterfinal game on March 9, as well as both Semifinals and the Final on March 16 and 17, 2012, respectively, from TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
“We are excited to be launching our first-ever college hockey package by building a destination on Friday nights on the NBC Sports Network with many of the preeminent brands in the sport,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports Group.
Additional regular-season highlights include No. 4 Notre Dame hosting No. 3 Michigan on Jan. 20; No. 9 Yale facing Harvard on Jan. 27; and a Feb. 10 doubleheader featuring No. 1 Boston College traveling to Vermont and No. 8 Denver hosting No. 5 Minnesota.
The college hockey telecasts will be produced by the same Emmy Award-winning team that oversees all of the NHL games for the NBC Sports Group, led by Sam Flood, Executive Producer for NBC Sports and VERSUS.
The NBC Sports Group also recently announced a multi-year deal with Notre Dame to have their home games televised on the NBC Sports Network beginning with the 2013-14 season, when the school joins Hockey East.
NBC Sports Network’s College Hockey Schedule (all times ET, subject to change):
DATE GAME TIME
Saturday, Dec. 31 #12 Boston University at #4 Notre Dame 7:00 p.m. (VERSUS)
Jan. 6 Dartmouth at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 #14 Minnesota-Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20 #3 Michigan at #4 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 #9 Yale at Harvard 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 Cornell at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 #1 Boston College at Vermont 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 #5 Minnesota at #8 Denver 10:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 Dartmouth at #9 Yale 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 #12 Boston University at Vermont 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 #15 North Dakota at #8 Denver 10:00 p.m.
March 2 #8 Denver at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.
Hockey East Tournament
March 9 Quarterfinals 7:30 p.m.
March 16 Semifinals 5:00 p.m. and 8 p.m.
March 17 Finals 8:00 p.m.
All rankings based off USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine 2011-12 Men’s College Hockey Poll #5 (October 31, 2011).
Sam Flood, who does a wonderful job on NBC's NHL broadcasts and took over the Versus games last year when Comcast and NBC finalized their merger, is overseeing these broadcasts. This will not be small-time, public-access caliber television. This is one of the best groups you'll find in North America, and they're going to do a good job on these games.
Unlike in 2013-14, when they start doing Notre Dame home games, they are all over the map here. It's a Denver-heavy schedule when it comes to the WCHA, but UMD makes an appearance Jan. 13 at Nebraska-Omaha, and it's nice to see them doing games out of places like Houston Fieldhouse (RPI), Ingalls Rink (Yale), and Gutterson Fieldhouse (Vermont).
With the addition of this NBC Sports Network game, UMD has three road games televised this season for satellite users, with two of them on national TV. Friday's game at Denver will be on Root Sports Rocky Mountain (fed to My9 for those in Duluth who don't have satellite). The Friday night game at Wisconsin (Dec. 9) will be on Big Ten Network, too. In addition, the Feb. 10 home game with North Dakota will be on CBS Sports Network.