Don’t change that channel, ECAC Hockey fans!
In fact, don’t even bother turning on the TV, for the league’s championship weekend will not be televised this year. The league confirmed today that it could not find a suitable carrier for its flagship event, to be held for the second time at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
“We were on CBS Sports last year, and they opted for another route, for lack of a better word,” said ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell in a telephone interview Monday morning. “NBC is doing the Hockey East games, and we explored some regional outlets and looked at producing games on our own… and there were just some obstacles that presented themselves.”
Hagwell explained that the league was effectively left without a dance partner when all was said and done, as national and regional outlets all seemed to have pre-existing commitments for next weekend’s airtime.
“We’ve produced games in the past on our own, but (when you’re doing that) you’re looking for an outlet nationally. NBC and CBS opted for other issues, then you’re still looking at regional outlets: NESN has Hockey East; Comcast Sports New England has a commitment to the Celtics; MSG has the Rangers, Knicks, etcetera, so you’ve got to find a viable outlet to put it on.
“[Carriers] have their decisions to make from their own business standpoint, and we have ours. Even locally, Time Warner Albany as an example – just as an example – is doing the New York state high school basketball tournament. Networks have their own commitments. We wanna be on, and we’d love to have somebody want us on.”
Hagwell confessed true disappointment that the final weekend of the league’s season would go un-broadcast, leaving ECAC Hockey as the only Division I league without a TV partnership for its title game.
The games will be streamed live via the internet. Union plays Colgate at 4:30 on Friday, followed by Cornell versus Harvard. The losers play a consolation contest on Saturday afternoon, followed by the championship game that night.
Nate Update: Click here for more information about the online broadcast, which is being handled by RPI TV. The league reached out to the student-run organization, according to Reilly Hamilton, the station’s executive producer.
Nate: Update: Here’s the reaction of the coaches from this afternoon’s teleconference held in preparation of the tournament.
Mike Schafer, Cornell: “It’s really disappointing for our fans and alumni base that depends on those TV games. It’s a big failure of our league not to have those games on TV. [The league] needs to look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Edit: The original quote from Schafer made mention of going to Atlantic City as a guarantee for TV slots. That’s something I misinterpreted from my notes, when in fact he was talking along the lines of guaranteed money for the league. Apologies for any confusion.
Don Vaughan, Colgate: “It’s extremely disappointing [that there were issues with the network]. I didn’t find out about it until a couple weeks ago. I find it hard to believe that a network would not want to pick up the championships, especially with the quality of the opponents in the games.”
Ted Donato, Harvard: “It’s always nice to be on TV; I think it’s a great exposure for the student-athletes involved. They’re certainly deserving of [it].”
Donato added that with the top four seeds advancing to the weekend and an NCAA tournament berth on the line, those games are ones you’d certainly like televised. Union’s Rick Bennett declined to elaborate on the issue, saying that was a question for the league office.