The Minnesota Gophers 2021-22 men’s hockey season kicks off in just over 24 hours, and we finally, FINALLY on Thursday got the official TV and game times schedule for the season. The Gophers are in an enviable position in college hockey were almost all of their games will air on TV this season, something that Minnesota fans can definitely take for granted. With lone exception of this Sunday’s game against Alaska, 27 of the 28 games that the Big Ten controls for TV will air on TV in the Twin Cities. That’s pretty impressive in this day.
Of Minnesota’s 18 regular season home games, only one will not air on TV. This Sunday’s game against Alaska will only be available to stream on BTN+. The entire Big Ten schedule will air on either Bally Sports North/Plus, Big Ten Network, or ESPNU. Saturday’s season opener will air live on Fox 9+ in Minnesota and will be a simulcast of the BTN+ feed. The home non-conference games next weekend against Merrimack, and the Friday night home ends of the home-and-home series against St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth the following two weekends will air on Bally Sports North/ Plus.
As a reminder, streaming is available for all of the games that will air on Bally’s Sportds North/ Big Ten Network, and ESPN U.
Every televised game on the Big Ten Network can be streamed on the FOX Sports app . B1G+ ($$) will stream all of the games broadcast on the Bally Sports Regional Networks, in addition to all other non-televised games played in Big Ten arenas.
All games broadcast by the Bally Sports Regional Networks can also be streamed live on BallySports.com as well as the Bally Sports app when fans authenticate using their pay-tv credentials.
All games on ESPNU will also be available to stream on the ESPN App via connected devices.
As for the road non-conference games, it gets a bit more complicated. Don’t forget that the Big Ten and the U have zero control over the TV rights for non-conference road games. They literally can not control when and on what TV channel they will play these games. Unfortunately, despite the Gophers playing a pair of in-state Minnesota teams and North Dakota for four of those games, currently only one will be on TV locally in the Twin Cities unless you are one of the few that get the right cab Minnesota’s Saturday game at St. Cloud State will air on Fox9+ in Minnesota and it will be the St. Cloud State broadcast feed with Jim Rich on play-by-play.
However, if you want to watch the Gophers play UMD in Duluth or the series in Grand Forks against North Dakota, your options are much more limited. The UMD game will air locally in Duluth on My9, but is currently not slated for any type of simulcast in the Twin Cities. Previous games in Duluth have been negotiated to air on Fox9+, but as of now no deal is in place.
As for the North Dakota games, well unless you have Midco for your cable provider, you are just out of luck. Midco has the rights to North Dakota home games, and they do not like to give up those rights. The series in Grand Forks between these two teams did not air locally other than on Midco in 2017 and the game in Las Vegas in 2018 so it’s not likely anything will change this season.
Your other option is to purchase a monthly pass to NCHC.tv for $29.95 which will get you a stream of the NCHC road games. Unfortunately the UMD series and the North Dakota series are just over a month apart, so you would be forced to pay for two months if you want to watch all three games.
As for the lone other streaming series this year, when the Gophers head to Notre Dame at the end of January, that series will only be available to stream on Peacock Premium. NBC Sports Network is going away at the start of the new year, so all of Notre Dame’s hockey broadcasts are moving over to Peacock. The cost for a monthly subscription of Peacock Premium is just $4.99 so watching those two games won’t break the back, but its just one more service you will need to get used to going forward to watch college hockey.
One other note with the full game times being released is the increase in 5:00PM Saturday faceoffs for Minnesota at home. The Gophers slowly started increasing the number of 5 PM faceoffs back in 2019-20 (remember those normal days way back), and this year have gone fully in with four of them in 2021-22. Additionally, the Alaska Saturday game is a 2:30 PM start, and the final game of the season against Wisconsin is still TBD depending on TV rights. Thus only the Michigan game (6:30 PM) and the Penn State game (8:00 PM) will not be early starts this season on Saturdays.
The Gophers are planning on doing a lot of special things at home games this season that they originally had planned for their 100th anniversary season a year ago at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Look for more information to come, but the announcement of the All-Time Gopher teams, and special autograph sessions with Gopher alums through the decades were originally planned, and most likely will come back this year.
Come back a bit later for Part 2 of our Gopher Hockey season preview where we recap who is back and who is new on the ice this season for Minnesota, and predict just how we think this season will go.