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How to Watch NHL Games 2022–2023

Prepare for the next puck drop with CableTV.com’s guide to watching NHL games on TV. We spent the last season testing popular services to help you scout the best TV plan.

Editor's choice

DIRECTV STREAM

Price: $49.99–$129.99/mo.*

NHL channels: ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NHL Network

DVR storage: 20 hrs. included

Free trial: 5 days

Best value

Sling TV

Price: $40.00–$55.00/mo.

NHL channels: ESPN, TBS, and NHL Network

DVR storage: 50 hrs. included

Free trial: N/A

Best cable or satellite provider

DIRECTV

Price: $64.99–$139.99/mo.

NHL channels: ABC, ESPN, TNT, NHL Network, and NHL Center Ice

DVR storage: 200 hrs. included

Contract: 2 yrs.

Best for out-of-market games

ESPN+

Price: $9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.

NHL content: Every out-of-market NHL game and 50+ exclusive games

DVR storage: N/A

Free trial: N/A

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

You can watch your favorite hockey teams during the 2022–2023 NHL season across the same channels as last season. That means you’ll need ABC, ESPN, ESPN+/Hulu, NHL Network, and TNT in your channel lineup to watch national coverage.

Of course, you’ll also want your regional sports network (RSN) to watch local NHL games. And you should consider an out-of-market service like ESPN+ or NHL Center Ice if you support a team far from home.

That’s a lot of channels and services to keep tabs on. But don’t worry. Our guide will give you the complete rundown—highlighting the best TV providers, so you don’t miss a single body check.

CableTV.com Sports logo featuring animated athlete with raised hands.

The channels you’ll need to watch NHL games

You’ll need ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT to watch live nationally televised NHL games. ESPN+ and Hulu will also have national matchups, so you’ll need one of the two services to watch over 50 exclusive fixtures.

If you want to be the Wayne Gretzky of watching NHL and have live access to all 1,312 regular season games, you’ll need your local NHL team’s regional sports network and an out-of-market package.

Two out-of-market options exist for NHL fans: ESPN+ and NHL Center Ice. Both allow you to watch over 1,000 out-of-market games, which don’t air on local or national TV.

NHL Center Ice ($69.99 a season) is an add-on you can purchase through most cable and satellite TV providers. However, for $30.00 more a year, ESPN+ ($99.99 a year) has those 50+ exclusive games and many other live sports. You can also pay $9.99 a month for ESPN+, which equals $69.93 before tax for the seven-month duration of the NHL regular season.

Pro tip: To see which RSNs are available in your area, enter your zip code into DIRECTV’s RSN lookup tool. It’ll show you which teams are considered in-market for your location to help you determine if an out-of-market package is necessary.

Primary NHL channels:

Some national NHL games also air on ESPN2 and TBS. The two networks act as overflow channels for ESPN and TNT, and you can find them in the same TV plans without purchasing a higher-priced package.

NHL schedule: key events and channels

For a better understanding of the league’s network lineup, you’ll want to keep tabs on the official NHL schedule. But here’s a breakdown of this season’s major NHL events.

Fixture Start date Channels
NHL Winter Classic January 2, 2023 TNT
2023 NHL All-Star Game February 4, 2023 ABC, ESPN, ESPN+
NHL Stadium Series February 18, 2023 ESPN, ESPN+
NHL Playoffs April 2023 ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, TBS, TNT
Stanley Cup Finals June 2023 TNT
2023 NHL Draft June 28, 2023 ESPN, ESPN+, NHL Network

Best TV providers for NHL games

  • Editor’s choice: DIRECTV STREAM—ULTIMATE plan ($84.99/mo. + taxes for 2 mos.*)
  • Best value: Sling TV—Sling Orange plan ($40.00/mo.)
  • Best cable or satellite provider: DIRECTV—ULTIMATE All-Included plan ($89.99/mo. + tax for 12 mos.)
  • Best for out-of-market games: ESPN+ ($9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.)

Score the best TV and internet provider for hockey

Don’t miss out on your favorite NHL teams this season. Enter your zip code below to find the best TV and internet providers available in your area.

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Editor’s choice: DIRECTV STREAM

Price:
$49.99–$129.99/mo.*
NHL channels:
ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NHL Network
Features:
20 hr. DVR included; wide RSN availability

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Limited Time Offer. $20 discount each month for first 2 months. Regular monthly price thereafter. New customers only. Available in select sales channels only. Restrictions apply.

Pros

  • Large channel counts
  • Wide selection of regional sports networks
  • No contract

Cons

  • Expensive plans
  • No out-of-market NHL add-on available
  • Limited included Cloud DVR (20 hrs.)

DIRECTV STREAM is our favorite service for watching NHL games because it has the best channel coverage of any live TV streaming service. Not only does it carry every national NHL channel except ESPN+/Hulu, but it also offers a fantastic range of regional sports networks in its CHOICE plan and above.

RSNs are crucial if you want to watch your in-market NHL team play. And no other live TV streaming service offers the number of RSNs available through DIRECTV STREAM. It even carries the Bally Sports RSNs—the only other place you can stream those is the newly launched Bally Sports+ for $19.99 a month.

We single out a live TV streaming service as our top NHL viewing option because there are no lengthy contracts or bulky equipment requirements. But you’ll need a strong and reliable internet connection to avoid frequent buffering issues. If that kind of internet coverage is unavailable in your area, we recommend DIRECTV’s traditional satellite TV service instead.

Pro tip: Looking for faster internet? Head to our Best Internet for Streaming page to browse services we recommend for streaming live TV.

The biggest drawback of DIRECTV STREAM is its price. To stream NHL Network in your channel lineup, you’ll need to sign up for the ULTIMATE plan that usually costs $104.99 a month. And yeah, we don’t blame you if you spit your beverage out while reading that price. That’s a lot of money for a streaming service—especially if you still want that separate subscription to ESPN+ for its out-of-market coverage and 50+ exclusive games.

If you don’t need RSN coverage, you can try our best-in-value option, Sling TV, for less than half the cost of DIRECTV STREAM. Keep scrolling to learn more about that.

View DIRECTV STREAM plans

Best value: Sling TV

Price:
$40.00–$55.00/mo.
NHL channels:
ESPN, TNT, and NHL Network
Features:
50 hr. DVR included; 30+ add-on channels and packages

Data effective as of post date. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Customizable packages
  • No contract

Cons

  • Poor local channel coverage
  • Weak DVR storage options

Sling TV is a less expensive option than DIRECTV STREAM for watching national NHL games. Its Sling Orange plan is $40.00 a month and gets you ESPN and TNT, while its Sports Extra add-on ($11.00 a month) has NHL Network. Add a separate subscription to ESPN+ to the mix for $9.99 a month, and you’ll have nearly complete access to every NHL game, apart from any matchup that airs on in-market RSNs.

The main NHL channel missing from Sling TV is ABC. Most local channels are hard to come by on Sling TV, but the streaming service provides in-app access to ESPN3—an overflow channel that hosts all NHL on ABC simulcasts. You can also try one of Sling TV’s signup deals that offers a free HD antenna for more local channels when you prepay for two months of service.

The Sling TV channel guide displays six channels selected as favorites.
On Sling TV, you can favorite each NHL channel for quick access in the channel guide.

With Sling TV, you’re in the Zamboni driver’s seat to decide what channels you want. But it’s the cheapest way to watch national games—including every Stanley Cup playoff game—because Sling Orange with the Sports Extra add-on is just $46.00 before tax. It’s also an inexpensive way to watch NBA and college basketball action, should you share a passion for hockey and b-ball.

The biggest limitation to the Sling Orange plan is that it allows just one stream at a time. We also don’t like that Sling TV’s best DVR package is a measly 200 hours of recording space. But if you get ESPN+ on the side, you won’t need to worry about recording NHL games for later because it comes with full-match replays.

View Sling TV plans

Best cable or satellite TV provider: DIRECTV

Price:
$64.99–$139.99/mo.
NHL channels:
ABC, ESPN, TNT, NHL Network, and NHL Center Ice
Features:
200 hr. DVR included; wide RSN availability

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Limited Time Offer. New approved customers only. With 24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies. First 12 mos. price requires a $5 Autopay and Paperless Bill discount and includes $5 bill credit each month for first 12 months. Pay $74.99/mo. until Autopay and Paperless Bill discount begins within 1 to 3 bill cycles. Subj. to change & may be discontinued at any time.

Pros

  • Large channel counts
  • Wide selection of regional sports networks
  • 2022 season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET included

Cons

  • 2-yr. contract
  • Price increase after 12 mos.
  • Bulky satellite dish

We already explained why DIRECTV STREAM is great for watching the NHL, and DIRECTV isn’t much different with its content offerings. That’s why we label it the best traditional service for viewing NHL games because it’s ideal for anyone unable to commit to a streaming service.

DIRECTV offers a wide selection of RSNs and carries every national NHL channel. You can even add NHL Center Ice to your DIRECTV package for complete out-of-market NHL access—something DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t offer.

We recommend DIRECTV’s ULTIMATE All-Included plan because that’s where you’ll find NHL Network. It’s $89.99 a month and comes with excellent offers like free premium channels for a limited time and NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX included for the 2022 season. You’ll also get over 270 channels, which ought to hold you over between hockey games.

The reason we chose DIRECTV STREAM over DIRECTV as our top choice for watching NHL games is because of the commitment that comes with DIRECTV. You must sign a two-year contract with a price hike after the first year. You’ll also need to deal with the satellite dish and its corresponding cables, which we know is impossible for some who live in apartments or condos. There are also some hidden costs of DIRECTV that you should be aware of before you sign up.

View DIRECTV plans

Best for out-of-market games: ESPN Plus

Price:
$9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.
NHL content:
Every out-of-market NHL game and 50+ exclusive games
Free trial:
N/A

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Blackout restrictions apply.

Pros

  • Every out-of-market NHL game
  • Home and away team commentary feeds
  • Access to every NHL game replay

Cons

  • Local blackouts for non-exclusive games
  • Delayed replay access for blacked-out games
  • No watchlist feature

ESPN+ is an essential streaming service for NHL coverage in the US. It’s primarily the home for out-of-market NHL matchups (branded as NHL Power Play on ESPN+), offering the same coverage as NHL Center Ice. The big advantage of subscribing to ESPN+ is that it has slightly more live games and tons of additional sports content. Plus, you can watch every NHL game on-demand after it airs—but you must wait 24 hours to watch blacked-out game replays.

This season, ESPN+ will show over 50 exclusive NHL game telecasts on top of its out-of-market coverage. Any Hulu subscription will also carry the same 50+ games, a bonus to anyone already subscribed.

You won’t get any of the traditional ESPN channels with ESPN+, which is why it works best when paired with a live TV provider. Usually, we would recommend signing up for Hulu + Live TV (starting at $69.99 a month) because it includes ESPN+ at no extra cost. But Hulu + Live TV doesn’t carry NHL Network, and you can get complete national NHL coverage through Sling TV for about $12.00 cheaper.

The ESPN+ ice hockey catalog page displays rows of hockey videos.
You can find all ice hockey content on ESPN+ by selecting the Browse tab and scrolling through the Sport row, as seen on a Google Chrome web browser.

Overall, ESPN+ is a cheap way to watch thousands of NHL hockey games. It also includes NHL-themed shows like In The Crease, Quest for the Stanley Cup, and The Point. But the puck doesn’t stop there. ESPN+ has tons of live college sports—meaning you can catch men’s and women’s college hockey during fall, winter, and spring. Even some Ice Hockey World Championship matchups stream exclusively on ESPN+.

If you’re a more casual hockey fan who only cares about your local team’s games, then ESPN+ isn’t all that necessary. Your local team will only be available to watch on ESPN+ when they take part in any of the service’s 50+ exclusive games. Therefore, you’re more suited to sign up for a TV service that offers your RSN—like DIRECTV STREAM.

View ESPN+ plans

Did NHL.TV go away?

NHL.TV is no longer available for users in the US because ESPN+ is the newly designated home for the NHL’s out-of-market games. Similarly, Sportsnet NOW Premium replaced NHL LIVE for out-of-market access in Canada. These changes mean you can no longer use the NHL app to stream out-of-market games in the same way that MLB.TV or NBA League Pass work.

How to watch NHL games for free

Recommended antenna:
Mohu Leaf 50 ($52.55 one-time purchase)
NHL channels:
ABC
Features:
All local broadcast channels

CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links. Amazon.com Price; $52.55 (as of 11/23/22 2:00 p.m. CT). Read full disclaimer.

You can watch NHL matches for free on over-the-air (OTA) TV as long as you live within range of an ABC network affiliate. During the latter half of the 2022–2023 NHL regular season, 15 matchups will air on ABC—including the NHL All-Star Game. The channel also alternates carrying every Stanley Cup Final game with TNT. So you’ll be able to watch the championship series on ABC in even years like 2024 and 2026.

Of course, you’ll need a digital antenna and a TV with an Antenna In port to access OTA stations like ABC. The antenna will also need a maximum range strong enough to pick up your area’s nearest ABC station.

Pro tip: You’ll want to double-check what OTA channels are available in your area before buying an antenna. To do this, simply enter your zip code on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Reception Map Tool.

One of our favorite antennas is the Mohu Leaf 50 ($52.55 on Amazon). It has a 60-mile range and added amplifier for improved signal reception. You can also check out more top-rated antennas on our Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters page.

Final take

You’ll need ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT in your channel roster to watch this season’s biggest NHL matchups. But the TV package you choose ultimately depends on what teams you want to watch, where you’re located, and how much you’re willing to spend.

DIRECTV STREAM’s ULTIMATE plan ($84.99 a month + taxes for 2 months*) with a separate subscription to ESPN+ ($9.99 a month) is our top recommendation for hardcore hockey fans who want every NHL game. The ULTIMATE plan carries all NHL channels and most RSNs—giving you complete local and national NHL access. With ESPN+ added to the mix, you’ll get 50+ exclusive games and full out-of-market coverage.

Sling TV is the cheapest option to get the national NHL channels. Its many plans and add-ons allow you to build a package that fits your spending limit and viewing needs. The Sling Orange plan ($40.00 a month) has ESPN and TNT, while its Sports Extra add-on ($11.00 a month) comes with NHL Network. And you can always get ESPN+ separately if you support a team far from home.

If reliable internet is unavailable in your area, DIRECTV’s ULTIMATE All-Included plan ($89.99 a month + tax for 12 months) delivers the best non-streaming NHL coverage. The satellite TV provider has all the main national NHL channels and offers many RSNs. Plus, you can add NHL Center Ice ($69.99 a season) to your package for out-of-market access that’s easily accessible within the DIRECTV interface.

How to watch NHL games FAQ

Can you stream NHL games?

Yes, you can stream over 1,000 NHL games each season on ESPN+—including every out-of-market matchup. Live TV streaming services also carry NHL channels, though not all regional sports networks are available through each provider.

Can you watch NHL on Amazon Prime?

No, you can’t watch NHL games on Amazon Prime Video or any of its add-on channels. But as far as sports go, Prime Video does have Thursday Night Football and select MLB and WNBA matchups.

How can I watch all NHL games?

To watch every NHL game, you’ll need a combination of ESPN+ and a TV service that offers the national NHL channels—like ESPN and TNT—and your regional sports network.

Is NHL Network free?

No, NHL Network is not free, and you usually have to pay more to get it. NHL Network is available in most cable and satellite providers’ higher-priced plans, plus some live TV streaming services’ channel lineups—like DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, and Sling TV.

How can I watch NHL games without cable?

You can watch select NHL games on ABC by using a digital antenna. Otherwise, you can also catch NHL matchups on live TV streaming services like fuboTV, DIRECTV STREAM, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, or YouTube TV. There’s also ESPN+, which carries exclusive matches and over 1,000 out-of-market games

Where can I watch NHL preseason games?

You can watch NHL preseason games on NHL Network and regional sports networks. The 2022–2023 NHL preseason schedule includes 108 matchups, with 45 out-of-market preseason games streaming on ESPN+.

Methodology

Our sports experts immersed themselves in 12 of the nation’s top TV providers to determine the best options for watching the NHL. Over the last NHL season, we tested each provider’s features and reliability while comparing prices and channel offerings. We rationalized our recommendations using our editorial star rating system.

Check out our How We Rank page to learn more about our methods.

Disclaimer

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Limited Time Offer. $20 discount each month for first 2 months. Regular monthly price thereafter. New customers only. Available in select sales channels only. Restrictions apply.

Limited Time Offer. New approved customers only. With 24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies. First 12 mos. price requires a $5 Autopay and Paperless Bill discount and includes $5 bill credit each month for first 12 months. Pay $74.99/mo. until Autopay and Paperless Bill discount begins within 1 to 3 bill cycles. Subj. to change & may be discontinued at any time.

**Data connection req’d. Recordings expire after 9 months. In a series recording, max 30 episodes stored with unlimited hours of cloud DVR and max 10 episodes stored with 20 hours of cloud DVR (oldest deleted first which may be in less than 9 months). Restrictions apply.

Amazon.com price as of 11/23/22 2:00 p.m. CT. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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