NHL on CTV is the name of a former television program that broadcast National Hockey League games on the CTV Television Network.

Regular season coverageEdit

For the 1984–85 and 1985–86 seasons, CTV aired regular season games[1] on Friday[2] nights (and some Sunday afternoons) as well as partial coverage of the playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals.

CTV/Carling O'Keefe[3] initially signed a contract well into the 1984-85 season. As a result, they wanted to cram as many games as possible (beginning in February) in the brief window they had. 1985-86's coverage didn't begin until November, so to avoid conflicts with CTV's coverage of the Major League Baseball postseason.

While Molson continued to present Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights on CBC, rival brewery Carling O'Keefe began airing Friday Night Hockey on CTV. This marked the first time in more than a decade that CBC was not the lone over-the-air network broadcaster of the National Hockey League in Canada.

The deal with CTV was arranged by Quebec Nordiques (who were owned by Carling O'Keefe) and all 14 U.S.-based NHL clubs, who sought to break Molson's monopoly on NHL broadcasting in Canada. All of CTV's regular season telecasts originated from Quebec City or the United States, as Molson shut them out of the other 6 Canadian buildings (as Carling did to them in Quebec City).

After the 1985-86 season, CTV decided to pull the plug on the venture. Their limited access to Canadian-based teams (other than Quebec, whose English-speaking fan base was quite small) translated into poor ratings. For the next 2 years, Carling O'Keefe retained their rights, and syndicated playoff telecasts on a chain of channels that would one day become the Global Television Network under the names Stanley Cup '87 and Stanley Cup '88, before a merger between the two breweries put an end to the competition.


Date Teams
February 15 Edmonton-New York Rangers
February 22 St. Louis-Buffalo
March 1 Minnesota-Detroit
March 8 Philadelphia-Washington
March 15 Winnipeg-Quebec
March 22 Montreal-Washington
March 24 Quebec-Hartford
March 29 Edmonton-Hartford
Date Teams
November 8 St. Louis-Buffalo
November 15 Vancouver-Washington
November 22 Winnipeg-Pittsburgh
November 29 Montreal-Buffalo
December 6 New York Islanders-Quebec
December 13 Hartford-Buffalo
December 20 New York Islanders-New York Rangers
December 27 Montreal-New Jersey
January 3 Washington-New Jersey
January 10 Edmonton-Quebec[4]
January 17 Quebec-Hartford
January 24 New York Islanders-Washington
January 31 St. Louis-Detroit
February 2 Toronto-Chicago
February 7 Montreal-Washington
February 14 New York Rangers-Detroit
February 21 Quebec-Minnesota
February 23 Toronto-Minnesota
February 28 Quebec-Buffalo
March 7 Hartford-Buffalo
March 9 Calgary-Detroit
March 14 Calgary-Quebec
March 21 Winnipeg-Washington
March 28 New York Islanders-Washington
April 4 Montreal-Buffalo

All-Star Game coverageEdit

The 1985–86 Canadian coverage of the All-Star Game was to be provided by CTV. However, CTV had a prior commitment to carry a U.S. mini-series. As a result, TSN took over coverage of the game in Hartford.

Playoff coverageEdit

In 1984–85, Dan Kelly and Ron Reusch called the Philadelphia-Quebec Wales Conference Final series. They also televised Games 3, 4, and 6 of the Montreal-Quebec Adams Division Final and games 2 and 5 of the Philadelphia-New York Islanders Patrick Division Final.

In 1985–86, Dan Kelly, Ron Reusch and Bobby Taylor called the Calgary-St.Louis Campbell Conference Final series. CTV's coverage was blacked out in Calgary, where CBC provided coverage.

For the Calgary Flames-Winnipeg Jets first-round series in 1985–86, CBC, who initially had the rights to the series, ultimately passed as they were already maxed out with 3 other series (Montreal-Boston, Chicago-Toronto, and Edmonton-Vancouver). The rights to the Calgary-Winnipeg series were eventually sold to the CTV affiliates in Calgary (CFCN) and Winnipeg (CKY) as well as Carling O'Keefe. On the call were Ed Whalen of the Flames and Curt Keilback of the Jets.

CBC and Molson Brewery used a loophole in that games involving Canadian based teams (excluding the Quebec Nordiques) in the playoffs could be televised locally by CBC.

Stanley Cup Finals coverageEdit

In 1972, Hockey Night in Canada moved all playoff coverage from CBC to CTV to avoid conflict with the lengthy National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians strike against the CBC. Eventually, MacLaren Advertising, in conjunction with Molson Breweries and Imperial Oil/Esso), who actually owned the rights to Hockey Night in Canada (not CBC) decided to give the playoff telecast rights to CTV. Initially, it was on a game by game basis in the quarterfinals, and then the full semifinals and Stanley Cup Finals. Because CTV did not have 100% penetration in Canada at this time, they asked CBC (who ultimately refused) to allow whatever one of their affiliates were the sole network in that market to show the playoffs. As a result, the 1972 Stanley Cup playoffs were not seen in some of the smaller Canadian markets unless said markets were close enough to the United States border to pick up the signal of a CBS affiliate.

In 1985, CBC televised Games 1 and 2 nationally while Games 3-5 were televised in Edmonton only. CTV televised Games 3, 4, and 5 nationally while games were blacked out in Edmonton.

In 1986, CBC only televised Games 1 and 2 in Montreal and Calgary. CBC would go on to televise Games 3-5 nationally. When CTV televised Games 1 and 2, both games were blacked out in Montreal and Calgary.

Year Round Series Games covered Play-by-play Color commentator(s)
1985 Divisional finals Philadelphia-New York Islanders Games 2, 5 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch
Montreal-Quebec Games 3, 4, 6 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch
Conference finals Quebec-Philadelphia Games 1–6 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch
1986 Divisional semifinals Quebec-Hartford Game 3 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch and Brad Park
Calgary-Winnipeg Games 1–3 Ed Whalen (in Calgary)
Curt Keilback (in Winnipeg)
Curt Keilback (in Calgary)
Ed Whalen (in Winnipeg)
Divisional finals Washington-New York Rangers Games 1–6 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch
Conference finals Calgary-St. Louis Games 1, 4–7 Dan Kelly Ron Reusch and Bobby Taylor

New Year's Eve broadcastEdit

On New Year's Eve 1985, CTV broadcast an exhibition game between Montreal Canadiens and CSKA Moscow in Montreal. Although CTV aired the game (as a "Special Presentation of CTV Sports"), it was not considered an official part of NHL on CTV package. That was because the broadcast was presented by Molson instead of Carling O'Keeke. However, the regular NHL on CTV on-air talent were still utilized.

Hockey Night in Canada rumorsEdit

The possible movement of Hockey Night in Canada to another broadcaster caused some controversy and discussion during the 2006–2007 hockey season. CTV had outbid the CBC for Canadian television rights to the 2010 and 2012 Summer Olympics as well as the major television package for curling. The broadcast requirements would have focused on CTV-owned TSN (The Sports Network), a cable channel which already carries Canadian NHL hockey during the week as well as other NHL games throughout the season. CTV did, however, buy out the previous theme to CBC's Hockey Night in Canada for use in TSN's broadcasts immediately after the 2007–08 NHL season.



Color commentatorsEdit

Studio hostsEdit

Studio analystsEdit


  1. Old NHL on CTV schedules.
  2. McKee, Ken. "Competitive NHL telecasting hasn't produced viewer bonanza", Mar 8, 1986, p. C5. 
  3. "SPORTS PEOPLE; Hockey-TV Suit", July 25, 1984. 
  4. Bawden, Jim. "Linden plays wizard in Blacke's Magic", January 5, 1986, p. E8. 

External linksEdit

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