Photo Credit: © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Hello America: Jets Will Have Five Games Air On NBCSN

Last season the Winnipeg Jets were not featured in a single nationally broadcast game south of the border. Partly due to their location, partly due to the fact that no one really anticipated just how good or how entertaining the Jets would be to watch. That changes this season as the Winnipeg Jets will have five games air on the cable specialty channel NBCSC (the “SC” stands for Sports Channel if you haven’t put two and two together yet)

The Jets NBCSN schedule (times listed are CST)

October 24: Toronto @ Winnipeg (6 PM)

November 1: Winnipeg vs Florida (1 PM)

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January 10: Winnipeg @ Minnesota (7 PM)

January 28: Winnipeg @ Philadelphia (6 PM)

March 20: Winnipeg @ Anaheim (9 PM)

The Jets will have two games as part of the network’s flagship “Wednesday Night Hockey” broadcast with the first being an all Canadian match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs in October which is also notable for being the only game this season on the American network that will feature two Canadian clubs.

A late night contest against the Ducks in March makes up the other Wednesday appearance the Jets will make as the second part of that night’s doubleheader.

American fans will also get to see the homecoming of Patrik Laine in Finland as NBCSN will air the first of two games between the Jets and Panthers at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.

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In this era of internet streaming, games being featured on an American network may not seem as big a deal when hockey fans have access to services like NHL Center Ice and NHL Gamecenter that allow them to watch all 82 Jets games on pretty much any TV or device they wish, but it’s still pretty noteworthy when you consider casual fans and fans of other teams will have more exposure to the Jets this coming season.

The sudden shift in focus by an American TV network towards the Jets can be thanked largely to the second place overall finish the Jets achieved last season as well as their relatively deep playoff run along with a forecast by many experts that another such run this coming season by the Jets is very possible. It doesn’t hurt that the Jets were widely acknowledged to be one of the more entertaining teams this past season – a style of hockey the NHL and NBC is wise to get in front of as many die-hard and casual fans as possible.

Overall it would seem that the NHL and NBC have learned their lesson in that hockey fans want some variety with their TV schedule and have at least dipped their toe into the thought of giving more teams more air time. Sure you have your eastern mainstays with Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia all having double digit appearances on US national TV, but NC seems to at least be trying to spread things out a bit and have finally noticed that Canada has hockey teams as well.

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The Oilers will have seven games on the network – which actually leads all Canadian teams and isn’t a surprise considering they have Connor McDavid on their roster.

The Leafs and Jets check in with six and five games respectively as they both represent what will likely be Canada’s two best teams and the Leafs having the added bonus of American born Auston Matthews.

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The Jets group of American born stars – Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler, Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien – also likely helped their cause as well.

The Flames and Canadiens get a few token appearances on US TV while the Canucks and Senators are shut out which really isn’t a surprise at all.

In the press release from NBC and the NHL on Monday, they crowed about how “diverse” the schedule is. I think we can all agree that it’s not quite fully that – after all the darlings of the network, the Chicago Blackhawks actually GAINED two more TV appearances despite being last in the division and not having a much better forecast this coming season – but it is at least a step in the right direction.

Especially when it comes to the Jets who go from having zero games on US television the season before, to five this season and a whole lot more attention in America.