Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Big Ten Network to air 27 hockey games in 2013-14


SOURCE: Jeff Wilcox

Everyone's mind is still focused on the gridiron, but Big Ten hockey isn't too far away, and the the Big Ten Network released its 2013-14 slate of games yesterday
BTN will provide unprecedented coverage of men’s ice hockey in 2013-14, the inaugural Big Ten Hockey season, including eight straight weeks of “Frozen Friday” doubleheaders in January and February and the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
BTN also will televise the entire Big Ten Hockey Tournament, set for March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. Men’s Ice Hockey on BTN is presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
Of the 27 games, Michigan is featured in eight; only Minnesota gets more TV time (nine pre-tournament BTN games). Wisconsin has six, including a Jan. 10 meeting against Michigan in Madison and the same matchup Jan. 31 in Ann Arbor. The Big Ten basketball season will be underway by then, but if you're looking for something to whet your appetite in the week or so after the bowl game, this is a great way to do it. 

In case you missed it, College Hockey News's preseason rankings includes three Big Ten squads: Wisconsin (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 6) and Michigan (No. 8). 

As an admittedly casual college hockey fan, I'm excited to see what this "new" conference arrangement holds. Michigan being in the same conference as Minnesota and Wisconsin is without a doubt a great thing. Of course, Michigan State and Ohio State remain on the schedule, and you can add a fledgling Penn State to the mix this season. Whether Michigan can bounce back and start another tournament streak remains to be seen, but, either way, I think Big Ten hockey will be a little more accessible to the casual fan (such as myself) than the CCHA sometimes felt. Losing Notre Dame and Miami as regular opponents is unfortunate, but I'd personally rather play Minnesota and Wisconsin, anyway. 

For takes elsewhere (especially ones more informed than mine), Bucky's 5th Quarter isn't too happy about the schedule

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