The Second-Best Way to Watch an NHL Game

While I love watching the Caps on TV, I enjoy watching other NHL games as well. In the past I’ve had NHL Center Ice, which provides basic functionality but not much else. I was never a huge fan of it because there was always a dearth of HD games, at least through Verizon FIOS. So when I heard that NHL GameCenter was available via the PS3, I was intrigued.

From the press release:

All PS3 users in North America and Canada can download the NHL GameCenter™ application for free. This means users that do not have a subscription to NHL GameCenter LIVE can still have access to a wide range of NHL® content through the NHL GameCenter application, including features such as post-game highlights, team schedules, standings, player stats and full NHL scoreboard.  

NHL GameCenter LIVE™ subscribers can stream game broadcasts in HD by downloading the NHL GameCenter application from PlayStation Network on their PS3 system. In addition to offering live hockey games (subject to blackouts), NHL GameCenter LIVE also allows subscribers to watch full-length and condensed replays of the current season games they missed (48 hours after they air, no blackouts) and relive NHL history with unlimited access to over 800 classic games from NHL Vault™.  

Additional features of NHL Vault™ include: 

  • Classic Games: Relive historic hockey moments from classic games dating back to the 1960s.
  • Condensed Games: Catch up on games you missed with 10-12 minute extended highlights.
  • Game Archive: Watch full length replays of all games since the 2008-2009 season.

I tried it out, and all I can say is, WOW! The features are almost overwhelming; you can pick the home or away feed for a game, fast-forward to the highlights, watch vintage games…there’s just so many options. You’ll never be bored again. It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday? Watch the 2011 Winter Classic or a Habs game from the ’70s! Another feature I like is that many of the broadcasts are exactly what you’d see in that city. Frankly, I’m amazed at just how bad the commercials are in St. Louis.

The awesomeness of NHL GameCenter also includes the NHL GameCenter app, which I just downloaded. There’s a free version and a paid version, though the free version has a surprising amount of features. It’s an easy way to keep up with all the games that are going on.

As always, the Caps games are subject to blackout restrictions if you use the service in the DC area, but you can watch the game or the highlights the next day through the service. To download the application, go to the “Media & Apps” category in the Playstation Store from your PS3 and launch it from the TV/Video Services icon of the XMB. The free version is available, and the paid version costs $159 for the season and includes NHL Vault.  Below are some screen shots of the PS3 application. If you’re looking for a fun, informative way to watch a game, this is it!


Disclaimer: I received a voucher code to test the application.

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6 Responses to The Second-Best Way to Watch an NHL Game

  1. Andrew Tomlinson says:

    I have to say the iPad app is pretty awesome this year, watched about four full games on it so far. I love it, much improved over last year’s.

  2. Chris says:

    They have the same thing for Apple TV and I love it

  3. tedlewesde says:

    What about blackouts and international? PS 3 at home and ipad on road. They track my ipa when on travel and say I am in Fios and Comcast territory and can’t watch live games!

  4. Patrick says:

    I recently moved out of the area after living in MD/DC all my life. We decided to go without cable so signed up for NHL gamecenter. My PS3, Roku, and iPod touch all have apps for in addition to my computer. The one-time $10 charge (last season, maybe free now, not sure) for the PS3 app without a subscription is a no brainier for any hockey fan. A 5-7 minute highlight reel of every game in the league is available within about 2 hours of the game’s completion. However, the paid subscription to gamecenter is more hit and miss. You really need to have a full cable plan and the NHL subscription if you want to get all the games. Since I’m outside the local area all of my blackouts are for nationally televised games. National means NBC/Versus AND NHL network. This works out to be about half of the Caps games. For example last week I was able to watch the Caps v Panthers live but was blacked-out of Red Wings and Flyers. The delay for blacked out games is 48 hours, not the next day. However, a longer highlight reel (10-12 minutes) is available the next day which is nice because you get a better feel for the game than the shorter 5-7 minute reel. The customer service is completely unresponsive, so when it works it works and when it doesn’t your are SOL. Every day I consider adding cable again to fill out all of the “premium” games, but for now I’m holding out with John Walton’s awesome radio broadcasts (which are available via the gamecenter ipod app for when you are away from your computer). Since I’ve become a fan of the league as a whole I still really enjoy and feel good about the $170 annual subscription – but if I was tuning in only for the Caps I’d be pretty bummed right now. I’d be happy to throw a few extra dollars on top of that to get the nationally televised games back without getting cable.

  5. Rob says:

    The main issue here is that they blackout local games. I’m about to cancel my DirecTV (worst thing ever, never buy it – Comcast is 100x better), and sadly I won’t be able to watch Caps games any more.

    They need to realize that more and more people are canceling cable subscriptions and provide an alternate medium. As it is now, I’m going to have to stream the games from sketchy websites – something I’m not happy about doing. I don’t get the quality I want, and the NHL doesn’t get the revenues they deserve.

  6. mastro72 says:

    agree with Chris, apple tv is the way to go. much better picture than the PS3 or Roku.

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