Like it or not (and most Gopher Hockey fans don't) but the B1G hockey conference begins this season, and that means more Gopher games on the Big Ten Network. The BTN hockey schedule was just released, with 27 games to be shown on BTN alone, and at least 70 total on partners like ESPN News, ESPNU, and of course for Gopher fans, more games will be seen on FSN or FSN+ than anywhere else.
Here's the full schedule with all known times and TV slots:
10/11/2013 vs. Mercyhurst Mariucci Arena 7:00 p.m. CT FSN
10/12/2013 Consolation Game Mariucci Arena 4:00 p.m. CT FSN+
Champ Game Mariucci Arena 7:00 p.m. CT FSN+
10/18/2013 at Bemidji St. Bemidji, Minn. 7:37 p.m. CT FSN
10/19/2013 at Bemidji St. Bemidji, Minn. 7:07 p.m. CT FSN
10/25/2013 vs. Boston College Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM BTN
10/27/2013 vs. Boston College Mariucci Arena 1:00PM FSN
11/8/2013 at Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. 6:35 p.m. CT
11/9/2013 at Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. 6:05 p.m. CT
11/15/2013 vs. Minnesota State Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN+
11/16/2013 vs. Minnesota State Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN+
11/22/2013 vs. Minnesota-Duluth Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN+
11/23/2013 vs. Minnesota-Duluth Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN+
11/29/2013 vs. Wisconsin * Mariucci Arena 4:00 PM ESPNU
11/30/2013 vs. Wisconsin * Mariucci Arena 5:00 PM FSN
12/6/2013 at Michigan State * East Lansing, Mich. TBA FSN+
12/7/2013 at Michigan State * East Lansing, Mich. 3:00 PM FSN
1/3/2014 TBD Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN
1/4/2014 TBD Mariucci Arena TBA TBA
1/12/2014 at Penn State * University Park, Pa. TBA TBA
1/13/2014 at Penn State * University Park, Pa. TBA BTN
Hockey City Classic
1/17/2014 vs. Ohio State * TCF Bank Stadium 8:00 p.m. CT BTN
Hockey Day Minnesota
1/18/2014 vs. Ohio State * Mariucci Arena 5:00 p.m. CT FSN
North Star College Cup
1/24/2014 vs St Cloud State Xcel Energy Center 7:00 PM FSN
1/25/2014 vs. MSU/Duluth Xcel Energy Center TBA FSN
1/31/2014 vs. Michigan State * Mariucci Arena 8:00 PM BTN
2/1/2014 vs. Michigan State * Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN+
2/6/2014 at Wisconsin * Madison, Wis. 7:30 PM BTN
2/7/2014 at Wisconsin * Madison, Wis. 8:00 PM BTN
2/14/2014 vs. Michigan * Mariucci Arena 8:00 PM BTN
2/15/2014 vs. Michigan * Mariucci Arena 7:00 PM FSN
2/28/2014 vs. Penn State * Mariucci Arena 8:00 PM BTN
3/1/2014 vs. Penn State * Mariucci Arena 6:00 PM TBA
3/7/2014 at Ohio State * Columbus, Ohio 6:30 PM FSN
3/8/2014 at Ohio State * Columbus, Ohio 5:30 PM ESPNews
3/14/2014 at Michigan * Ann Arbor, Mich. 5:30 PM ESPNews
3/15/2014 at Michigan * Ann Arbor, Mich. 6:00 PM BTN
A couple of things that you'll notice have changed are not only the days, but the times as well. Yes there's a few Thursday, Sunday and even Monday(!) regular season conference games, as well as a few strange start times (400pm on a Friday against Wisconsin? Well sure, that's the opposite of a good idea!). I said it last year, and will keep saying it, but Gopher hockey fans have more and more in common with pro hockey fans as the people making the decisions care more about monetizing the game (Jim Delaney for the B1G, Gary Bettman in the NHL) than the history and tradition of it fans know and love. I didn't want Minnesota to leave the WCHA, nor do I like them playing at weird days and times to accomodate TV, but that unfortunately is the future of the great game of college hockey. As Gopher fans we've obviously never had an issue getting to watch them play on TV, but for most other schools this whole deal with BTN, as well as deals for other conferences with NBC Sports Network and others, IS a big deal because it's getting their schools televised much more than in the past, and it is giving college hockey a lot more exposure. But it doesn't mean I'm going to like it or embrace it, at least at first.
Ok, you can now get off my lawn, and we'll get back to talking about the schedule itself.
As of now five Minnesota games remain without a TV provider, but there's a pretty good chance all of them will get picked up. There's no way the two game series against Notre Dame in early November will go untelevised, and the same goes for the second game of the Mariucci Classic January 4th. Just looking at possible FSN commitments, the issue currently is that both the Wild and the Timberwolves both have 7pm starts that night, which is the time the Mariucci Classic would normally want that game. Would they play it at 4 or 5pm to make sure it gets on TV? Or do they just put it on an alternate Fox Sports Channel somewhere? The two other games both involve Penn State- one is Sunday, January 12 which is somehow the first, not second game of that series (yep the second game is a on a Monday night. The B1G, everyone!). Both the Wild and T-Wolves play at 6pm that night, so an afternoon game would be very possible there. The other Penn State game is Saturday, March 1 at Mariccui in a game already scheduled for 6pm. The Wolves have a game that night but the Wild don't, so I'm not sure what is keeping this one off of FSN+ (don't even say a Twins spring training game. Don't you dare). Before the BTN announcement this was actually listed on the Gopher Sports schedule as a game on NBC Sports Network, but that has since been removed.
In the end, not THAT much has changed for Gopher fans- you're still going to get to see THe Maroon and Gold on your television, it's just going to sometimes be on a different channel/day/time than you're used to. And against different teams. Fine, so a lot has changed but at least you'll get to see every game (or just about) on TV, and that's one thing that won't ever change. Which is more than you can say about the NCHC, as this TV deal is far superior to whatever TV deal they're getting. Remember how they all left the WCHA in ruin so they could get a "big" TV deal? Good luck with that.
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