NHL in 2021: How to watch and stream hockey without cable

Heads up, hockey followers! The 2021-2022 NHL season is underway and whereas some issues on the ice stay the identical, there are massive modifications in the way in which you watch the video games at house.

The NHL is as fast-paced and action-packed as ever. Superstars Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers are lighting up the hockey world by pacing the league in factors, whereas Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals — now the fourth all-time main scorer in NHL historical past — is nipping at their heels. 


Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers put on Kevin Lowe’s quantity following his jersey retirement ceremony. 

Andy Devlin/NHLI by way of Getty Photographs

The on-ice storylines would possibly really feel acquainted, however how you can watch the video games on TV is completely different. Disney (ABC, ESPN and Hulu) and Turner Sports activities (TNT, TBS) will share protection of the NHL starting this season, and video games will now not seem on NBC networks. 

TNT will broadcast 50 NHL video games, together with the outside Winter Traditional, Stadium Sequence and Heritage Traditional. TNT may even air half of the Stanley Cup playoffs. ESPN or ABC will air 25 video games together with half of the playoffs and all the Stanley Cup Finals, whereas ESPN Plus and Hulu will stream 75 unique matchups. The NHL’s out-of-market streaming service, previously generally known as NHL.TV, strikes to ESPN Plus for no additional cost.

So what does all this imply for hockey followers desperately seeking to stream their crew’s video games? The excellent news is that you do not want cable to look at hockey this 12 months, but it surely nonetheless could be the simplest and least expensive selection relying on the place you reside.

Learn extra: NFL 2021: How to watch and stream football, RedZone this season without cable

Reside TV streaming providers vs. cable

Die-hard sports activities followers are beholden to regional sports activities networks, or RSNs, that carry the vast majority of the video games for his or her native crew. These RSNs are normally included in native cable packages, so most cable subscribers by no means have to fret about having access to the broadcasts on these channels: They’ll merely activate the TV and watch the sport. 

Wire-cutting hockey followers have a more durable path. Due to rights agreements, most live TV streaming services like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV do not carry many RSNs. DirecTV Stream is the exception. It has practically each RSN, significantly the Bally Sports activities channels (previously Fox Sports activities) supplied by Sinclair, however you will have to spring for its $85-a-month plan. 

Learn extra: DirecTV Stream review: Expensive, but the best option for streaming NBA and NHL

Finally, relying on location, getting a cable subscription that features ESPN, TNT and the native RSN(s) would possibly truly be cheaper and simpler than streaming — particularly if it is bundled with the house web you will probably be getting anyway. 

Whether or not or not you’ve gotten cable, ESPN’s stand-alone streaming service is nice for informal followers and is a must have accent for the zealots. It prices $7 a month or $70 a 12 months and reveals all out-of-market video games together with as much as 75 unique ESPN-produced telecasts per 12 months. The catch is that your native crew’s video games are blacked out after they seem on ESPN Plus. However, it is a large financial savings for long-time NHL.TV customers, because the all-access bundle used to price subscribers $145 a 12 months. 

Even higher for hockey followers, ESPN Plus simply reached a deal to indicate 130 Kontinental Hockey League video games — Russia’s prime hockey league — together with the playoffs and the Gagarin Cup finals. That is on prime of ESPN’s NCAA faculty hockey protection. That is plenty of hockey for somewhat greater than half the value of the previous NHL.TV bundle. 

In fact, Disney can also be planning to indicate unique video games on Hulu, so the $13.99 a month Disney bundle would possibly find yourself being an excellent higher purchase for hockey followers who additionally love TV and Disney/Marvel/Star Wars content material. 

Sadly, these seeking to simply get ESPN Plus to look at their native crew’s video games can be out of luck. Most followers are in-market, that means they observe the native crew, and RSNs have broadcast exclusivity within the area that they cowl. Which means native NHL video games are blacked out on ESPN Plus. 

In case you’re residing in Philadelphia for instance, you will not have the ability to watch Flyers video games on ESPN Plus. The identical goes for Rangers followers in New York, Bruins followers in Boston and so forth. The one method to watch most of these house crew video games in your house market is to get a service that has the native RSN, particularly NBC Sports activities Philadelphia, MSG or NESN. 

Providers like ESPN Plus use IP addresses to dam out video games in viewers’ areas — you will simply get a black display when you attempt to watch these video games. That is why ESPN Plus is right for informal followers who simply love a superb recreation, or superfans who wish to observe a number of of the groups primarily based in cities apart from their very own, aka out-of-market groups, however is much less helpful for followers of the native crew.

Read our full review of ESPN Plus.


DirecTV Stream: Finest for followers of the native crew at $85

For these decided to look at their native hockey crew and not using a cable or satellite tv for pc TV subscription, a reside TV streaming service is the very best wager. Whereas it’s dear, DirecTV Stream is the most suitable choice for most individuals, significantly these the place the native video games air on Bally Sports activities networks. 

Under is a chart of all the NHL groups in the US and their corresponding RSNs. 

Notice: Not one of the US-based providers carry the RSNs for the Canadian hockey groups. Which means followers of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks want to make use of ESPN Plus to look at all of the video games that aren’t both in your native RSN or on a US nationwide broadcast.

RSN availability by US crew and streaming service

Staff Community Title DirecTV Stream FuboTV YouTube TV Hulu Plus Reside TV Sling Blue
Anaheim Geese Bally Sports activities SoCal Sure No No No No
Arizona Coyotes Bally Sports activities Arizona Sure No No No No
Boston Bruins NESN Sure Sure No No No
Buffalo Sabres MSG Sure Sure No No No
Carolina Hurricanes Bally Sports activities South Sure No No No No
Chicago Blackhawks NBC Sports activities Chicago Sure Sure Sure Sure No
Colorado Avalanche Altitude Sure No No No No
Columbus Blue Jackets Bally Sports activities Ohio Sure No No No No
Dallas Stars Bally Sports activities Southwest Sure No No No No
Detroit Purple Wings Bally Sports activities Detroit Sure No No No No
Florida Panthers Bally Sports activities Florida Sure No No No No
Los Angeles Kings Bally Sports activities West Sure No No No No
Minnesota Wild Bally Sports activities North Sure No No No No
Nashville Predators Bally Sports activities South Sure No No No No
New Jersey Devils MSG Plus Sure Sure No No No
New York Islanders MSG Plus Sure Sure No No No
New York Rangers MSG Sure Sure No No No
Philadelphia Flyers NBC Sports activities Philadelphia No Sure Sure Sure No
Pittsburgh Penguins AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Sure Sure No No No
San Jose Sharks NBC Sports activities California Sure Sure Sure Sure No
Seattle Kraken Root Sports activities Northwest Sure Sure No No No
St. Louis Blues Bally Sports activities Midwest Sure No No No No
Tampa Bay Lightning Bally Sports activities Solar Sure No No No No
Vegas Golden Knights AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain Sure Sure No No No
Washington Capitals NBC Sports activities Washington Sure Sure Sure Sure No

Some key takeaways:

  • The RSNs above are sometimes solely out there to native subscribers. Discuss with the person service’s particulars under to search out out when you reside in a spot the place you possibly can obtain a specific RSN. 
  • DirecTV Stream’s $85-a-month Selection bundle consists of all the RSNs for hockey except for NBC Sports activities Philadelphia. Flyers followers hoping to catch a glimpse of Gritty must look elsewhere.
  • They may soar over to FuboTV, Hulu Plus Reside TV or YouTube TV which all carry NBC Sports activities Philadelphia, however followers of different groups will principally be out of luck. FuboTV solely presents 12 RSNs for hockey, whereas Hulu Plus Reside TV and YouTube TV solely have 4. Sling TV would not supply a single RSN.

One different be aware: In case you do not acknowledge the title of a few of these channels, don’t be concerned. As talked about, the Fox Sports activities RSNs have been rebranded as Bally Sports activities, as a result of the channels are now not owned by Fox however Sinclair, which has since partnered with on line casino group Bally’s and renamed them. 

NHL Community: It is nonetheless round, however prices additional and also you most likely do not want it

The NHL Community, run by the league, remains to be out there as a stand-alone station. This season the community will air 90 video games that can be thought-about nationwide for these out-of-market. Which means you’ll nonetheless have the ability to watch your native crew play in your RSN, however viewers across the nation will want the NHL Community as a way to watch the sport as it will likely be blacked out on ESPN Plus. Followers would possibly have the ability to avoid wasting cash in the event that they’re prepared to overlook out on the handful of video games on the NHL Community. 

The NHL Community is just not included in lots of fundamental streaming providers or cable packages and isn’t out there in any respect on Hulu Plus Reside TV and YouTube TV. In order for you it, chances are high you’ll pay additional for it. 

Many cable and streaming providers group NHL Community right into a multinetwork sports activities bundle. For instance, Sling’s Sports activities Further bundle prices $11 per thirty days on prime of a Sling Orange bundle and consists of the NHL Community together with 13 different sports activities channels like NFL RedZone. 

FuboTV consists of the NHL Community in its $8-per-month Fubo Further bundle. This may be bought alongside any of Fubo’s subscription choices, although Fubo Further is included within the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier. 

Lastly, Direct TV Stream customers can solely get the NHL Community in the event that they subscribe to the $95-per-month Final or the $140-a-month Premier bundle. 

DirecTV Stream is dear. It is the priciest of the 5 main reside TV streaming providers, but it surely’s additionally the one with essentially the most RSNs. Its least expensive, $70-a-month Plus bundle consists of ESPN, ABC, TNT and TBS. You may want to maneuver as much as the $85-a-month Selection plan to get any out there RSN. You should use its channel lookup tool to see which native channels and RSNs can be found in your space. The NHL Community is offered beginning on the $95-a-month Final bundle.

Finest choices for nationally broadcast video games

Except for DirecTV Stream, the percentages are lengthy {that a} reside TV streaming service carries the RSN in your native crew’s video games, which makes the opposite 4 providers higher bets for watching nationally televised video games. 

FuboTV prices $65 per thirty days and presents 12 RSNs for hockey. It additionally consists of ESPN, however not TBS — which could be an issue for some hockey followers. However you possibly can add the NHL Community for an additional $7 a month with the Fubo Further Package deal or pay for the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier that features Fubo Further. Try which local networks and RSNs FuboTV offers here.

YouTube TV prices $65 a month and presents 4 RSNs for hockey, together with all the nationwide broadcasts. Nonetheless, it lacks the choice to get the NHL Community. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which native networks and RSNs can be found in your space.

Hulu Plus Reside TV prices $65 a month and carries 4 RSNs for hockey together with ESPN, ABC,TBS and TNT, however not NHL Community. Click on the “View all channels in your space” hyperlink on the backside of its welcome page to see which native networks and RSNs can be found the place you reside.

Sling Blue at present lacks a single RSN to look at hockey. You possibly can, nonetheless, use Sling to look at some nationwide broadcasts. Sling TV’s Orange plan consists of ESPN and each plans supply TBS, however none of them provides you entry to ABC. The NHL Community is offered as a part of the Sports activities Further add-on, which prices $11 a month for both the Blue or Orange plan or $15 for the mixed Orange-and-Blue plan. The person plans price $35 a month every, and the Orange-and-Blue plan prices $50 a month. You possibly can see which local channels you get here.

Every reside TV streaming service presents a free trial, means that you can cancel anytime and requires a stable web connection. On the lookout for extra info? Try our live TV streaming services guide.

However what if I reside in hockey-obsessed Canada?

Oh, Canadians, we all know you like hockey and so does the NHL. Which means that you’re unable to take part within the league’s new cope with ESPN Plus. As an alternative, you’ll have to proceed to pay extra for a subscription to NHL Reside for your whole out-of-market video games. The service is providing early-bird pricing of $179.99, however count on that worth to leap an extra $20 as soon as the season begins. 

NHL Reside has a nifty tool that may assist you determine precisely what video games can be found in your area along with your subscription. 

Wire-cutters in Canada may additionally want Sportsnet NOW at $14.99 per month and TSN Direct at $19.99 per month to get their native video games. 

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/nhl-2021-how-to-watch-and-stream-hockey-without-cable/ | NHL in 2021: The right way to watch and stream hockey with out cable


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