NHL to Launch Digital Net


The National Hockey League will launch a digital network later this year on
both U.S. cable and satellite systems as part of renewed carriage agreements for
its 'NHL Center Ice' out-of-market package.

Both In Demand L.L.C. and DirecTV Inc. will distribute The NHL Channel, a
joint venture between the league and Canadian-based telecommunications companies
The Sports Network Inc. and Insight Sports.

While the network airs 24 hours a day in Canada, where it was launched
earlier this year, it will run on a more limited basis in the United States, In
Demand and DirecTV executives said.

The network is the second professional-league-dedicated cable channel
following the launch of the National Basketball Association's NBA TV two years

The channel will offer a myriad of NHL-based fare including documentaries,
player biographies, classic contests and instructional programming.

NHL senior vice president of television and media ventures Doug Perlman said
the channel will help to build the NHL brand while promoting the out-of-market
package, which offers about 35 games weekly.

'It will provide more exposure for our players and our fans, which can only
enhance the popularity of the game, as well as the Center Ice package,' Perlman