The University of Minnesota announced the Gopher Hockey TV Schedule and announced the game times for the 2015-16 season on Wednesday. Of the Gophers 35 games, at least 30 and possibly 31 will air on television in the Twin Cities with games on BTN, FSN, FSN+, ASN, and Charter Cable. The Full schedule is below, with additional comments.
||7:00||FSN+/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Oct 16||UMD||7:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Oct 17||@ UMD||7:00||FSN/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Oct 23||NORTHEASTERN||7:00||FSN+/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Oct 24||NORTHEASTERN||8:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Nov 6||@ NOTRE DAME||6:30||ASN|
|Nov 7||@ NOTRE DAME||5:30||TBD (PROB NBCSN/NBCSPORTS.COM)|
|Nov 13||@ MINNESOTA STATE||7:00||CHARTER|
|Nov 14||MINNESOTA STATE||7:00||FSN+/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Nov 27||ST. CLOUD STATE||6:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Nov 29||ST. CLOUD STATE||6:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Dec 4||OHIO STATE||7:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Dec 5||OHIO STATE||7:00||ESPNews/ WATCH ESPN|
|Dec 11||@ MICHIGAN||6:00||BTN/ BTN 2GO|
|Dec 12||@ MICHIGAN||7:30||ESPNews/ WATCH ESPN|
|Jan 1||UCONN (MARIUCCI CLASSIC)||7:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Jan 2||HARVARD/ FERRIS ST (MARIUCCI CLASSIC)||7:00||Live Stream|
|Jan 8||@ PENN STATE||5:30||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Jan 9||@ PENN STATE||2:00||Live Stream|
|Jan 15||MICHIGAN STATE||8:00||FSN+/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Jan 16||MICHIGAN STATE||7:30||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Jan 22||@ WISCONSIN||8:00||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Jan 23||@ WISCONSIN||7:00||ASN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Jan 30||BEMIDJI ST (NORTH STAR CUP @ XCEL)||4:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Jan 31||MINN ST./SCSU (NORTH STAR CUP @XCEL)||1:00/4:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Feb 5||PENN STATE||7:00||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Feb 6||PENN STATE (HOCKEY DAY IN MN)||4:00||FSN/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Feb 12||@ OHIO STATE||5:30||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Feb 13||@ OHIO STATE||6:00||Live Stream|
|Feb 25||MICHIGAN||7:30||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Feb 26||MICHIGAN||8:00||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Mar 4||@ MICHIGAN STATE||6:00||FSN+/ BTN2GO/FOX SPORTS GO|
|Mar 5||@ MICHIGAN STATE||6:00||Live Stream|
|Mar 11||WISCONSIN||7:00||ESPNews/ Watch ESPN|
|Mar 12||WISCONSIN||7:00||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
|Mar 17-19||BIG TEN TOURNAMENT @ XCEL||TBD||BTN/ BTN 2 GO|
TV Analysis Time!
So...the Gophers will have at least 30 of their 35 games aired on TV, with four and possibly five others livestreamed. The game in question is the Saturday night at Notre Dame game, which will either air on NBCSN, or will be streamed at NBCSports.com, and will be announced once Hockey East gets around to announcing their TV schedule. The channel breakdown for the Gophers games is thus:
Fox Sports North: 10 games
Big Ten Network: 9 Games
Fox Sports North Plus: 5 games
ESPNews: 3 Games
American Sports Network: 2 games
Charter Cable: 1 game
So first...the good news. With 15 games this season on either FSN or FSN+, the majority of Gopher fans should be able to watch almost all the non-conference games against the former WCHA foe schools. Nine of the 10 FSN games will be done by the Minnesota crew of Doug McLeod and Casey Hankinson/ Ben Clymer, while the game at UMD will be done by the UMD crew. I would assume at least four of the five FSN+ games will be called by the MN crew as well, with the fifth at Michigan State most likely being called by the FS Detroit Crew.
The nine games on BTN is a bit lower from previous years, which is not a surprise as it sounds like BTN was not doing well with thier hockey telecasts with the exception of Gopher games. In fact, the BTN is NOT doing the Friday night doubleheaders that they have done in previous years, meaning often only one game will be aired on Friday. They will still do a few Saturday games as well, in addition to the Thursday night game against Michigan at Mariucci Arena.
The three games on ESPNews will most likely see the return of John Buccigross to the airwaves...but we may get a Clay Matvick game in there too. As long as the tennis guy doesn't come back this season, I think Gopher fans will be OK. The crews for the two ASN games will be interesting to see considering they are both road games. I could see Matvick and or one of the other BTN guys getting the gig given the proximity to Chicago...but your guess is as good as mine. The one downfall to ASN, is that if it is like a year ago, the broadcasts were not in HD. They aired on Channel 23.2 in the Twin Cities, which is a HD over the air channel...but the broadcasts were just in SD. With both games on the road, we will have to wait and see what may happen this season.
Gopher fans who do not have cable will be out of luck to see the Gophers game at Minnesota State as well. Those of us with satellite will need to go to the bar to see that one unfortunately, but thems the breaks.
Live Stream Analysis Time!
First the good news. All the Gophers games that will air on one of the FSN channels or BTN with the exception of the at UMD broadcast done by the UMD crew will also be livestreamed for free on BTN 2 Go once again. However, there is a new streaming option for Gopher fans this season. All games airing on one of the FSN channels, INCLUDING the at UMD game will all be streamed on Fox Sports Go. Thus, if you are one of those people who don't get FSN+ in HD for some reason....you can still stream the game in HD for free.
Additionally, the at Wisconsin game that will air on ASN will also be streamed on BTN 2 Go...so if you can't get that channel you have an option. I do think the @ Notre Dame game on Friday that will also air on ASN will be available on NBCSports.com for streaming once the Hockey East TV schedule is announced....but we shall see. The Saturday @ Notre Dame game should be at the very least.
Now onto the questionable streaming options. The Gophers will have four games this year that will not air on TV and will be available via live stream only. Those games include the second night of the Mariucci Classic, and Big Ten Road games at Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State. The home stream will be the Mariucci Arena in arena feed, and if it is like last season, that game was available to stream for free from Gophersports.com. The other three Big Ten games will be the question. The games wil lbe produced by the home teams. Most likely like at Mariucci, it will just be the in arena feed. The question will be whether they will be available to stream for free, or with you need a pay service like BTN Plus to get the stream. From a quick glance at opponents websites, Michigan State does not have any details on streaming, Ohio State appears to have a pay service called BuckeyeVision (Make your Aggievision jokes now) and Penn State says it will provide streaming details at a later date. So that kind of sucks.
Game Time Analysis!
The one benefit of the departure of the BTN Friday night doubleheaders? A distinct lack of 8PM face-offs on Friday night in the Big Ten. Of the Gophers 23 home games at Mariucci Arena, 11 will be the usual 7:00 face-off. The Gophers will have just three 8:00 home face-offs this season, two on Friday's against Michigan and Michigan State, and the lone Saturday 8:00 start against Northeastern. The Gophers get two 6:00 face-offs in the Friday/Sunday series Thanksgiving weekend against St. Cloud State, and two 7:30 face-offs, the Saturday night Michigan State game, and the Thursday night Michigan game. The last irregular home face-off is the traditional early game, this year at 4:00 for Hockey Day in Minnesota
Unfortunately, the road schedule is still a lot of mixed times. A good portion of this has to do with playing opponents in the eastern time zone, and working around TV. There are two Friday 5:30 face-offs, one at Ohio State and the other at Penn State, with both those games being picked up by BTN. The last 5:30 start is the Saturday Notre Dame game which hopefully will be picked up by NBCSN. The lone other very weird start time is a 2:00 Saturday afternoon face-off at Penn State.
The Gopher schedule is still a bit of a jumble....but it could be a lot worse. The home games times vary a bit, but are all decent starts...no early Friday night games except for a pseudo holiday Friday. Minnesota will have at least 30 and maybe 31 of its games on TV. The rest of the Big Ten? Michigan--17, Michigan State--16, Penn State--12, Wisconsin--10, and Ohio State--9. 56 games are currently scheduled to be aired on TV involving at least one Big Ten Team. 30 of the 56 involve the Gophers. We are still the class of college hockey...and it shows. yes, you will have to look at the schedule to see what channel the Gophers will be on that night, but that's what we here at TDG are for. We will have game threads for all the games, and let you know where to turn your tv to see the Gophers go for a third straight Big Ten title.