The press release is below.
CBS Sports Network has agreed to a multi-year agreement with the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, beginning in the 2013-14 season. CBS Sports Network will be the exclusive national television partner for the conference, which will feature eight of the nation's top college hockey programs. The announcement was made today by Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports Network, and Jim Scherr, Commissioner of the National.
The agreement calls for a minimum of 18 conference games, including the National's semifinal and championship contests. Currently six teams that will be in the new conference are ranked in the USCHO.com Top 20 poll.
"With top teams and passionate fan bases, the National is poised to be an elite college hockey conference, and we're thrilled to be the national television partner," said Weinberg. "College hockey has been a staple of our programming and we're pleased to expand our coverage and further serve fans with compelling and competitive conference action."
"We are delighted to be associated with the preeminent national broadcaster of college hockey," said Scherr. "It is our goal to be the premier single-sport conference in intercollegiate athletics and the unmatched exposure and production quality that will be provided by CBS Sports Network will contribute significantly to realizing that vision."
Currently, CBS Sports Network's comprehensive college hockey coverage includes action from Hockey East, ECAC, CCHA, WCHA and Atlantic Hockey.
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About CBS Sports Network:
CBS Sports Network, the cable channel of CBS Sports, features comprehensive sports programming. The Network covers more than 300 live games annually, showcasing 30 men's and women's sports, in addition to a variety of studio shows, documentaries and original programs. CBSSN's live programming is highlighted by college sports including, teams from the Mountain West, Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Patriot League, the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy, as well as Major League Lacrosse and National Lacrosse League. The Network also airs the weekday "Tim Brando Show" and is the new home of Professional Bull Riders (PBR).
CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers on Verizon FiOS Channel 94 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 643 (1643 in HD) and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 152. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.
About National Collegiate Hockey Conference:
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is the eight-school, Division I men's hockey conference that will start play in the 2013-14 season. The conference's member institutions are: Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University. Dating back to the year 2000, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference boasts four NCAA National Champions, 14 NCAA Frozen Four appearances, 12 conference regular-season championships and 10 conference tournament championships. All eight members were participants in the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship tournament in one or both of the last two seasons. Jim Scherr, former Chief Executive Officer of the United States Olympic Committee, is the conference's Commissioner.
The network isn't widely available like, say, ESPN, or even the Fox Sports regional networks. However, its hockey coverage, led by on-site talents like Matt McConnell, Ben Holden, Jim Paradise, and Dave Starman, is better than that of any other cable network currently airing college hockey. The broadcasts look good, and the talent are passionate and knowledgeable about the college game.
NBC Sports Network's production is probably a tick better, but its revolving door of announcers -- many of whom don't have a lot of familiarity with the college game -- brings the overall package down a bit.
From what I have seen so far, hockey coverage on Big Ten Network is almost laughable. The network didn't even bother to send game announcers to the UMD-Wisconsin game in Madison, having two guys instead call the game off TVs in Chicago, while a solo reporter handled intermission interviews in Madison. What I saw during the SCSU-Minnesota game Friday wasn't much more impressive, though at least the play-by-play guy and analyst were on site.