Breaking down how to watch Habs on TV this season

STEVE FAGUY
THE GAZETTE

Until now, figuring out which TV channel carried a Canadiens game was simple: It’s RDS. Coast to coast to coast.

But in the aftermath of Rogers’s $5.2-billion deal with the National Hockey League, its sub licensing of French rights to TVA Sports, and RDS’s new regional-only deal with the Canadiens, it’s become a lot more complicated. Canadiens games will be broadcast on as many as six channels in English and two in French. And for fans outside the Canadiens’ broadcast region (eastern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada), RDS’s 60 Habs games will be blacked out.

For fans in the Canadiens region:

The good news for you is that this is the first season that all 82 regular-season Habs games will be broadcast in English. They’ll air on Sportsnet East, City Montreal, Sportsnet 360, CBC and possibly other channels.

To help you with what TV channel the game is on, we produced this calendar, which appeared in Saturday’s Gazette:

Habs calendar

There’s also this three-page printable Habs calendar:

Printable Habs calendar

And here’s a map of the Canadiens broadcast region:

habs-map

For fans in the rest of Canada:

Habs fans west of Belleville and Pembroke, Ont., where the team’s broadcast region ends, are already raising hell. A petition has been started to demand things change back to the way they were, but that’s not realistic. Instead, those fans will have to shell out for the premium NHL Centre Ice TV service or NHL GameCentre Live online/mobile streaming service, which costs up to about $200 a season (though Rogers is offering a special deal for both to get just the RDS Canadiens and Senators games for $60 for the season).

Regional blackouts, which the other 29 NHL teams have had to deal with for years, are complicated. Even Rogers Media president Keith Pelley told the CRTC last month the company had difficulty explaining it even to its own staff.

We wish we could tell you that there’s some trick to watching all 82 Habs games from Toronto or Vancouver, but there isn’t. (At least not legally.)

The good news is that 40 of those 82 regular-season games, and all playoff games, will be televised nationally in English by Rogers. They include all the games against the arch-rival Leafs and Bruins, and all games on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. In French, 22 of the 82 regular-season games and all playoff games will be televised nationally by TVA Sports. They include all Saturday night games and the season opener next Wednesday.

And there are some tricks to bring that number up. Games against the team of your region will be broadcast there, so fans in Saskatchewan will see as many as 44 Habs games when you take that into account. On top of that, many TV providers offer NHL Centre Ice on free preview in October, so you’ll get a few games that way. And the biggest freebie is that Rogers offers NHL GameCentre Live free for its cable and wireless data subscribers until Dec. 31. If you can take advantage of all of that, you can get all but about 23 regular-season games on TV or online without paying extra.

To help you out figuring out which games are blacked out and where they’re on TV, we have a printable calendar of the games for out-of-region fans that you can download here:

Printable Habs calendar

For fans in the U.S.:

Only 13 Canadiens games will air nationally in the U.S. this season — two on NBC Sports Network and 11 on the U.S. Version of the NHL Network. Without Centre Ice, you’re stuck with that, plus when the Canadiens play teams that broadcast in your region.

For all fans in Canada:

If paper isn’t your thing, we’ve also produced a custom calendar of the Canadiens’ regular-season schedule that you can download and add to your  iPhone, Google Calendar or other calendar program of your choice. Click on the link below to download the file and then import it into your calendar program.

habs-tv-schedule (right click and click save as)

(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)

Spin the dial to find Habs, by Brendan Kelly of The Gazette

Angry Habs fans may flock to Cherry-free TVA, by Brendan Kelly

Strombo doesn’t hide allegiance to Habs, by Brendan Kelly

Steve Faguy’s Fagstein blog

47 Comments

  1. Corio says:

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  2. Habitant in Surrey says:

    From: Scott MacMillan
    VP, NHL Integration, Rogers

    http://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/forums/forumtopicpage/board-id/PVR_settop_boxes_remotes/thread-id/19065/page/2

    The NHL French Package
    It’s available approx. West of Belleville, ON – and is meant to give people in that area access to the games that RDS used to broadcast nationally, but now only broadcast within the Habs & Sens broadcast territory (this represents 111 games – 60 Habs, 54 Sens – they play each other in 3 of these, hence 111)

    It’s $59.99 for the full regular season (doesn’t include Playoffs)
    It’s available as a TV product (like NHL Centre Ice) – you can call anytime to have it added to your TV subscription as it’s available now.

    It’s also been made available to other TV providers across the country…I’m not 100% sure if all have decided to carry it yet or not, best to call and ask.

    It’s ALSO available as an Internet product (like Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE) – however at the start of the season, it won’t yet be available for purchase, so we’re allowing people to access the games for FREE until it is.

    You’ll access the games the same way you would any other game in Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE – by downloading the NHL app or going to NHL.com, clicking on the game you want to watch and choosing the French feed. During the FREE period, these particular games will not require you to login to watch.

    A couple other notes –
    The above mentioned games are ALSO included in the FULL Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE and NHL Centre Ice products, so no need to buy both if you’re already getting the full product.

    Also RGCL does include Playoffs, NHL All-Star Game, all out-of-market games, all Nationally televised games, and most in-market games (depending on where you live, all 1230 regular season games may be available within RGCL)

    You don’t need to be a Rogers customer to buy any of these (notwithstanding that other TV providers can choose not to carry the Centre Ice products) – you don’t buy RGCL or the Internet version of the NHL French Package through your TV provider – rather visit http://www.rogers.com/NHL to get RGCL now (you’ll notice that if you’re a Rogers Internet or Rogers Wireless Data customer, you’ll get RGCL for FREE until Dec 31, but anyone else can still buy it)

    It’s alot to digest, but hopefully that helps.
    ——————————————————————–

    http://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/forums/forumtopicpage/board-id/PVR_settop_boxes_remotes/thread-id/19065/page/2

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Steve, I am only reproducing this information from Scott MacMillan
    VP, NHL Integration, Rogers.

    I have no idea how accurate the availability in the fans specific provinces or towns.

    If available to all, this is good news.

    If not, … 🙁

    🙂

  3. Hstands4Hockey says:

    Oh, once again we here about the mysterious $60 package that gives access to French language regional broadcast.

    I have called every cable and satellite provider in the GTA (slight hyperbole) and not one has any clue what I’m talking about when I mention this. I have not heard of one person successfully accessing this package.

    The only thing even close to an explanation was one guy on this board claiming it will be available Oct 6th, but no source even hints at this that I’ve seen.

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

    • BramScott says:

      I live in Brampton and was able to order this package form Bell Satellite TV. I ordered by using the http://www.bell.ca website and using their ‘live chat’ feature. I told the rep I would like to purchase the French Language Centre Ice package. The rep told me it was available for $60 and then transferred me to anothor rep to complete the purchase. Only took about 5 mins or so to complete the transaction.

  4. AJSmith says:

    Thanks for the breakdown for us US viewers. It seems about the same as last year, though because I had been a Center Ice subscriber in the past, I didn’t realize the Canadiens were shown on quite so many National NBC broadcasts. They’ve done a much better job in the last couple years. And certainly, I can watch them anytime they visit Boston, provided I can stomach listening to Jack Edwards. I was fortunate to grow up in the Adirondacks where we’d get Hockey Night in Canada/CBC and CTV as part of our basic local cable package! I miss that…

    http://www.AJSmith.net

  5. Frank2468 says:

    This is what I was told by Rogers Management Center. I have the French Variety Package which includes TVA and TSP2H. I was was going to cancel my French Variety Package since I was getting blackout on RDS. I was told to keep my French Variety Package and starting Jan 2015 I will be able to see all 82 games on either these 2 channels along with Sportsnet and FX and so on. Until Jan 2015 comes around Rogers gave me the Sports Pak for free until the end of December. So I will see what happens in Jan if I don’t get to see all the remaining games I will tell Rogers to jump in to Lake vaffuncul* and go with Bell. Yes I know I will be in the same boat with Bell but at Least after over 20 years with Rogers they will lose me as a customer and I won’t buy the Center Ice Package either and won’t watch the games. I know what I’m about to suggest is going to be like peeing against the wind but I would suggest all of Hab fans in Canada in blackout regions not buy and packages and only watch whats free on TV. To get the message across we have to hurt Rogers and the NHL where it hurts most the pocket book. If all customers in the blackout region cancel the French Variety Package and don’t purchase the Sport Pak maybe the message will get across. A disgruntled Hab fan living in Leaf Nation. I’d rather put sticks in my eyes then watch the Leafs.

    • Fagstein says:

      Leaving aside the fact that you need Centre Ice to watch out-of-region games and whatever the “Rogers Management Center” is probably won’t change that, there are not 82 games after January.

      The expectation is that most fans won’t buy NHL Centre Ice. Consciously not buying it probably won’t make a big difference.

  6. CHasman says:

    I live in North West B.C. and I thought I was screwed for watching the Habs this season. (Especially since I have Bell) but Bell does have the 60 game Habs (and Sens) package ($60) which I have signed up for (no pre season, starts Oct 8). I can also get TVA sports but I won’t because I have to buy the entire French package for $15 a month. I get all the City channels and CBC so I should be covered for most of the games. On the other hand I have friends on regional cable coverage who are getting RDS (not blacked out) but no HD. I don’t know how that is working and it might not be when the regular season starts.
    So all in all it is a wacky system but I will be watching the Habs without paying too much at $1 a game. I don’t care about not getting the games in English though which might bother some fans.

  7. KLM says:

    Looking for some clarity on the City TV broadcasts. Will these be limited to the City TV Montreal stations or will they be broadcast on the other regions as well (e.g. City TV Toronto)? If not, does anyone know if City TV Montreal is available for a Toronto Bell cable subscriber?
    Thanks.

    • Fagstein says:

      Saturday and Sunday night City broadcasts are national, airing on all City stations. The five that are listed as “City Montreal” on our calendar or “CITYM” on the NHL schedule are regional games and should be blacked out in other regions.

      City Montreal is available on Bell Fibe in Toronto, on channel 279 or 1279 in HD. You may need to buy a time-shifting package to get it.

      • KLM says:

        Thanks Steve. So still not a solution if you buy a time shifting package including City Montreal, as I’m assuming the games will be blacked out on this channel if you’re outside of the Canadiens broadcast region.

  8. Peter Young says:

    I’m reliably informed that there are fans who have no trouble following the Canadiens in every game through free online streaming, which has now reached the quality of a high definition telecast if you have a broadband connection of sufficient speed and a big enough computer screen and if you find the right feed among the many that are offered.

    Its legality might be in question, but there are those who feel that as long as greedy cable and satellite companies and the NHL force people to pay for what they don’t want to watch in order to see what they do want to watch or don’t allow fans to watch all their team’s games, then all is fair.

    As for the present situation, it appears from the comments on these blogs that some people are signing up for things they’re not sure will give them what they want. They might rely on these online feeds until things become clearer. Don’t panic buy; that’s what these parasitic companies want, among other despicable things.

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      Long Live The Stream !!! 🙂 …and, I’m not talkin’ ‘Game Centre’

    • Hstands4Hockey says:

      This is the conclusion I’ve made as well. F these guys I’m just going to stream.

      ——————————————————————–
      Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
      @Hstands4Hockey

  9. Habitant in Surrey says:

    I had no intent to mention the Rogers NHL Habs Petition today during the game, but I was away for the past 2 days and just read Steve Faguy’s (Fagstein) previous thread.

    Lots of useful information for Us out west of Quebec mesmerized by the convoluted dog’s breakfast determining where We may watch Habs’ games this season.

    Steve has a respectable blog that covers media issues, but I was very surprised He referred to The Petition as being ‘unrealistic’ wanting to ‘keep things the way they are’.

    As a journalist I am surprised Steve obviously did not read the premise of the Petition, because it clearly is not asking to ‘keep things the way they were’.

    During the game is not the best time to go into detail, only to clarify to Mr. Faguy and anyOne else not clear on it’s purpose, the Petition is a format to express the frustration and unhappiness of the effects of the Rogers NHL agreement for Us out west. The reduction, and convoluted access, plus it is making the cost for a great many Fans prohibitive.

    At no time do the Petition argue to live in the past, but it makes the argument for a less complicated access across Canada, and most importantly it argues there is zero justification for the application of the NHL’s black-out rule in Canada.

    All those objectives are realistic.

    Anyway, I won’t go on longer, except to say I’m disapointed in Steve Faguy not taking the time to read the premise of the Petition on Our site http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds

    Sorry for the interruption.

    Chris

    _______________________________________________________

    Please read and sign the Rogers NHL Habs Petition at; http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds

    • Fagstein says:

      The words “keep things the way they are” are nowhere in my story. What are you quoting from?

      I’m not arguing that the current system is the better one. I’m saying the likelihood of the NHL and Rogers renegotiating their $5.2-billion deal (and having to renegotiate with Quebecor and Bell as well) because of predictable frustrations of hockey fans is just about nil.

      You can express your disapproval all you want, but the likelihood of this prompting changes beyond what has been announced remains unrealistically slim.

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        Quote, Steve Faguy (above story): “Habs fans west of Belleville and Pembroke, Ont., where the team’s broadcast region ends, are already raising hell. A petition has been started to demand things change back to the way they were, but that’s not realistic. ”

        Steve, one can accept what is wrong and keep quiet about it, or one can express their objection and displeasure.

        Being you are in Montreal unaffected as we are out west, you are of an understandably indifferent mindset.

        The petition is a means for us out west to express our frustration and displeasure whether it results in any change or not.

        Personally, myself, and the 3, 061 who have signed the petition need a medium to vent. All of us are customers of cable.

        Rogers PR is hyping what wonderful change and improvements their deal has realized for hockey fans across Canada. The petition is calling them out that that claim is a load of malarkey.

        Rogers Sportsnet will not change without criticism. If you read my premise I pointed out I am not expecting Rogers to turn-around on a dime for us, but with persistence in time they will.

        I respect your opinion that this is not realistic, but I and others will do every thing we can to prove you wrong Steve.

        If not, at least we tried and did not meekly accept this crap from the NHL (black-out rule) and Rogers (reduced convoluted cost-prohibitive) without speaking-out, like some.

  10. stibby says:

    For those in the US with Center Ice, you can sync your TV with Montreal radio broadcasts. Last season I discovered Sirius 164 Attitude Franco, which will interrupt its normal music program with the 98.5 fm broadcasts during all Habs games. I have picked up a lot of French by doing this! Since it is almost a minute behind the TV you need a DVR to pause the game so that the radio catches up. It sounds like a pain but it’s not that bad. Much better than getting stuck listening to Jack Edwards! Also if you don’t have Sirius you can download the Cogeco app which also plays the 98.5 broadcast with Martin McGuire and Dany Dube. Hope this helps those of you in the US looking for other options.

  11. howiemorenz7 says:

    What of RDS’ on-line offering? I thought I could get their regional games on-line for $50 or something … (from Toronto)

    AND THANK YOU for your work on this.

    Maroons Suck. #7 foreva.

    • Fagstein says:

      RDS’s deal with the Canadiens does not include online streaming rights. Those belong to Rogers, which offers them through NHL GameCentre Live (except in the Canadiens’ region).

      There is now no way to legally stream regional Canadiens games online in French in Montreal, unless I missed something.

  12. Dreed says:

    I gave up being able to watch Habs games from Toronto years ago. When I first moved here in 1980, the games were broadcast on Radio Canada, but that stopped sometime in the late eighties. Since then the only games available were those against Toronto on Saturday.

  13. Habs55 says:

    All this blackout nonsense, which many of us have been enduring all of our lives as Habs fans in The Rest of Canada, is B.S. If you really want to watch all the Habs games, just go online and you’ll find them, usually the other team’s broadcast, but you can find them. No wonder TV is dying a slow death. However, if the genius’ at Rogers and the NHL would sell each game for $1 (ever heard of ITunes?), as single games, and not a package, they’d make a few bucks from fans like me. How difficult it that to figure out. Ever heard of Netflix? $7.99 a month, not $79.99 or whatever my cable bill is. GEEEZ!

  14. Mondou6 says:

    So…Wait…If you’re in Montreal, can you stream all the Habs’ games live on the CBC website?

    I hope so, because I need to figure out how to best spoof my location. 🙂

  15. frontenac1 says:

    Hola Amigos! Just got back from my Irish Walkabout and trying to shake off the jet lag with some fine Ardbeg single malt I picked up in duty free. First time I get to see Les Boys this season. I’m starting to fade. Time for some high octane rockets. Vas-y Les Boys! Saludos!

  16. Shackles says:

    As a resident of the National Capital region and not a politician, the only benefit that I am entitled to is getting all 82 games televised. Great things can happen when you keep your expectations low.

  17. habsfan0 says:

    The best explanation of getting Habs games here in the GTA:
    A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

  18. Alex says:

    Hockey is upon us, it is good to be back visiting HIO.

    I am excited for the game tonight, will be attending with some buddies and I’m glad to see we’ll be icing a strong lineup. I’ll definitely have my eyes on Tinordi tonight, he has struggled so far this preseason but I would like to see him go back to keeping his game simple. IMO, if Tinordi does that, makes simple and safe plays and sticks to his own game, plays solid in his own end and throws the body he will be good. It looks like he’ll probably go down to Hamilton to start the season, but I would like to see him show well and get his confidence up.

    I’m also looking for Thomas and De La Rose tonight. I haven’t seen either play in person yet, it will be nice to see how they do when you can see their game away from the camera.

    Should be a good one, lets hope we take a W against the detestable Sens! Go Habs Go!

  19. Slackman says:

    And Strombo is one radical dudebro

  20. krob1000 says:

    Anyone else have scrambled brain from trying to figure out waht Habs are up to or going to do. I change my mind daily (sometimes multiple times daily)….not sure how MB and MT are going to do all of this but this next year or two so is going to be crazy…could see a lot of changes.

    • Habfan17 says:

      I was listening to the radio earlier and I forget who the NHL personality was, but he said that based on Tokarski’s playoff and success at other levels, they think the Habs should wait until the end of all camps and then see if they can move Budaj. It was well thought out, he mentioned that Budaj is a great compliment to Price, however, it is better to move him now rather than potentially lose him for nothing as a UFA next summer. He went on to say that he does not believe Tokarski will make it through waivers, then the Habs will have lost two assets for nothing. His salary is cap friendly too.

      For those who want to use Markstrom, he has not been great and his salary is too high. Tokarski on the other hand has a very cap friendly salary and he has done very well!

      As far as what will happen with Boullion, Bournival, Tinordi and Beaulieu, your guess is as good as mine!

      Habfan17

  21. Slackman says:

    So if I am not mistaken, in Montreal, I can watch (in French) the first 22 games on TVA sports and the rest (60) on RDS?

  22. PK says:

    That printable Habs schedule at the bottom of the article will be useful over the course of the season … where to find the games etc.

    >>>> Les Canadiens sont là
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    “Une équipe de hockey sur glace de l’île de Mont-Royal va gagner la Coupe de Lord Stanley à 24 reprises dans le 20e siècle et trois fois au cours du 21e siècle.”

    – Nostradamus, 1552

  23. JohnInTruro says:

    Brett Lernout with 4 points in his first 6 games, off to a great start. Scherbak should be back on the ice for the Bronco tonight. Fucale has been getting shelled early!

  24. wildwilly says:

    TSN and MT are reporting “big news”… Any idea what it is?

  25. dr. schmutzdeker says:

    yo…(way to go Strombo)

    • GrosBill says:

      “The only people who freak out that a Habs fan is hosting Hockey Night in Canada are all the Leafs fans who’ve only had Toronto-centric coverage for the last 60 years.” – Strombo

  26. GrosBill says:

    Happy Friday.


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