There are two very obvious ways of watching ice hockey: in-person or on TV. They are very different experiences.
By turning up to a game, you’re showing everyone that you are a part of the hockey community. You get to benefit from the environment and the perspective of a fan in the arena. You can join in with all the chants and even throw your own heckles. You can grab a grotesquely expensive hot dog and warm beer from the overpriced cafeteria. And if your team lost, at least there’s the pub to look forward to.
Taking the whole family to a game is a great activity too. There’s things for kids to do such as ‘chuck-the-puck’. Many clubs also support local initiatives in the community so by purchasing tickets you contribute to the team’s (expensive) operating costs.
Watching hockey from home on your TV gives you a fantastic view. You’ve got multiple camera angles, a clear view of the whole ice and still the same sounds from the arena. So, why bother going to a game?
Unfortunately, watching hockey on TV just isn’t the same. Sure, you get better views, but you miss out on much of the excitment.
Plus, watching hockey can be expensive. EIHL games are often shown on FreeSports (which is a free-to-air TV channel), but if you want to watch NHL games you’ll be looking at handing over £19 every month for NHL.TV or £12 for NHL coverage on Premier Sports, but there’s no guarantee you’ll see the games you want to.
Most NIHL teams do not broadcast their games (some do).
Oh, and did I mention that the earliest NHL games start is 7pm Eastern time? That’s usually 12am for us. It might make sense to choose an Eastern Conference team as these games start earlier. You might have to watch your game the next morning.
So, in short:
- If you can, support your local team in-person.
- Some NIHL teams offer live coverage (Milton Keynes).
- All EIHL games are broadcasted on FreeSports.
- To watch NHL games, either purchase NHL.TV or Premier Sports (Sky or Virgin Media required).