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How to Watch NHL Games 2021

Get ready for a new season of hockey action with CableTV.com’s guide to NHL TV.

Best cable provider for NHL

Price: $49.99–$89.49/mo.
NHL channels: NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs

Best satellite provider for NHL

Price: $64.99–$134.99/mo.
NHL channels: NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs

Best livestreaming provider for NHL

Price: $64.99–$79.99/mo.
NHL channels: NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NBC and FOX RSNs

Best streaming app for NHL

Price: $144.99/season; $24.99/mo.
NHL games: All out-of-market games; single-team plan available

How to watch NHL games

Hockey is back! Wait . . . didn’t the last season just end? Not that we’re complaining about new National Hockey League action, not even after a COVID-19-displaced summer 2020 season that saw the Stanley Cup being taken home to . . . Florida. Congrats, Tampa Bay Lightning—now, bring on winter hockey and NHL 2021!

Lace up those viewing skates and let CableTV.com help you get a TV plan together before the first puck hits the ice on January 1, 2021.

The channels you’ll need to watch NHL games

Seasonal NHL games are televised by NBC, NBC Sports Network, regional NBC and FOX sports networks (RSNs), and—surprise—NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, and NHL.TV. It may not have the reach of the NBA or NFL, but pro hockey is still easy to catch on cable, satellite, and livestreaming TV services.

Best cable providers for NHL

Price NHL channels Details
$49.99–$89.49/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$25.00–$69.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$74.99–$124.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$59.99–$66.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$44.99–$89.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans

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

Best satellite providers for NHL

Provider
DIRECTV
DISH
Orby TV
Price NHL channels Details
$64.99–$134.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$59.99–$94.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$40.00–$50.00/mo. NBC View plans

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

For cable, we’ve favorited Xfinity and Cox here to watch the NHL, because they’re widely available and likely to be in your neighborhood. Since there are only two satellite TV providers in the US—not counting upstart Orby TV, which has no dedicated sports channels—we’re recommending DIRECTV and DISH on the satellite side.

The biggest hockey-viewing advantage of cable and satellite TV is NHL Center Ice, an out-of-market games package that you can’t get through a streaming service. On average, NHL Center Ice carries up to 40 out-of-market games per season. It even has Canadian broadcasts, eh.

NHL Center Ice costs up to $160 per season (depending on the provider) and includes NHL.TV, which is also available as a streaming standalone (more on that in the third period).

Pricey ice: Like NHL Center Ice, NHL Network access is going to cost you more, as it’s available only on cable and satellite TV providers’ higher-priced tiers in most cases.

NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBC and FOX RSNs are staple channels on cable and satellite, so any of the TV providers above could keep hockey fans happy.

Here are CableTV.com’s NHL cable picks, based on price and availability:

Here are CableTV.com’s NHL satellite picks, based on price and availability:

Best livestreaming providers for NHL

Price NHL channels Details
$64.99–$79.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$55.00–$183.00/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$30.00–$45.00/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, NBC and FOX RSNs View plans
$54.99–$60.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NBC RSNs View plans
$64.99/mo. NBC, NBC Sports Network, NBC RSNs View plans

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

With livestreaming (internet-delivered) TV, watching NHL games is a little tougher: Not all livestreaming services carry NHL Network, and some (like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV) don’t feature a full lineup of regional sports networks. All of them do have NBC and NBC Sports Network, so at least the basics are covered.

fuboTV is our top choice for livestreaming if you want the most NHL action, as well as all other sports (especially soccer). AT&T TV NOW does well by hockey, too, but it’s one of the pricier services. Sling TV is less expensive at first, but you’d have to add a secondary sports package to get NHL Network, driving up your monthly bill.

Here are CableTV.com’s top NHL livestreaming picks, based on price and availability:

Watch NHL games with an antenna

For a one-time purchase of a digital over-the-air antenna, you can watch broadcast NHL games for free on your local NBC station. Check out our Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters review.

Best streaming apps for NHL

Price Details
$144.99/season; $24.99/mo. View plan
Free View channel

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

NHL.TV streams games live through the NHL app (available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, and Xbox, as well as iOS and Android) or online through NHL.TV. Like the similar NBA League Pass app, local broadcast TV blackouts still apply to NHL.TV viewers.

NHL.TV is essentially the streaming version of NHL Center Ice. An NHL.TV subscription costs $144.99 for access to all out-of-markets games for a full season or $24.99 a month. There’s also a single-team, full-season pass for $115.99 if you care only about your favorite ice franchise.

For more casual hockey fans who just want the highlights quick, the NHL YouTube channel is an excellent (and free) source for nine-minute, next-day game recaps, including Stanley Cup playoffs and finals. There’s also plenty of other NHL content on the channel, like “Classic Clips” from seasons past and “Mic’d Up” player and referee-chatter moments.

Here are CableTV.com’s NHL streaming app picks:

Final take: Take it to the (TV) ice

Is there a better way to start the New Year than with a fresh NHL season? Sure, being there in-person for the spit chiclets and barnburners would be great, but watching the games at home is the next best thing if you have the right TV package. We’ve batted-in the best options available.

Here are our cable picks for watching NHL, based on price and availability:

Here are our satellite picks for watching NHL, based on price and availability:

Here are our livestreaming picks for watching NHL, based on price and availability:

Here are our standalone streaming app picks for NHL:

How to watch NHL FAQ

Is NHL Network free?

NHL Network, which carries live games (including simulcasts of local broadcasts), is included in most cable and satellite providers’ higher-priced plans, as well as some livestreaming services’ channel lineups. It’s not technically free, and you’ll usually have to pay more to get access to it.

How can I watch NHL games without cable?

If you don’t have cable or satellite service, you can watch NHL games for free on NBC, which will require only a digital antenna to pick up in most areas. The antenna isn’t free, but it is a one-time purchase that’ll cover several seasons.

Cord-cutters can watch NHL games on livestreaming TV services like fuboTV, AT&T TV NOW, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, or YouTube TV. There’s also the streaming NHL.TV subscription service.

What are local game blackouts?

When a local game is being carried by that market’s broadcast channel or a regional sports network, national cable and satellite sports channels are prohibited from also running it. Local blackouts prevent major sports channels from competing against smaller local broadcasters and regional sports networks.

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