The 2019-20 National Hockey League schedule was released on Tuesday. Sportsnet also released their national television schedule, revealing some interesting patterns of scheduling between the seven Canadian teams.
Despite being the Western Conference’s top team in 2018-19, the Calgary Flames aren’t featured in a ton of national games. Here’s how they stack up.
All national games
Between the three national broadcast windows – Hockey Night in Canada, Hometown Hockey and Wednesday Night Hockey – the Flames are featured 22 times. They’re tied with Winnipeg and Edmonton for the least games currently scheduled in the national windows, just behind Vancouver’s 24.
As you can imagine, the Toronto Maple Leafs lead the national broadcast parade with 38. Montreal has 32 and Ottawa 27. All hail the Eastern time zone.
Hockey Night in Canada
Saturday night always features double-headers, so it’s easier to have a semi-balanced schedule. But because of the skew between the three eastern and four western teams, things aren’t really that balanced.
The Leafs and Habs lead the way with 24 and 22 broadcasts, respectively. Edmonton has the least, with 11. The Flames have 15 games; a decent amount more than the Oilers but a lot less than Toronto.
Wednesday Night Hockey
The Wednesday game is sometimes a double-header, but not usually. Because it’s a mid-week game the skew is heavily towards eastern teams – Toronto is featured 11 times, with Ottawa and Montreal seven apiece – but for some reason Edmonton has seven Wednesday national games. The Flames are featured just once in the Wednesday national window.
The national broadcast on Sundays is never a double-header. For some reason, it seems like it’s being used to balance out the odd disparities between teams. Winnipeg has seven slots on Hometown Hockey, while the Flames are featured six times. Ottawa has just one appearance on Sunday nights.
This isn’t a complete picture of the TV schedule, as Sportsnet will release the balance of their coverage with the regional broadcasts later in the summer. But based exclusively on the national TV windows, the Flames aren’t getting a lot more coverage than they did last season despite their recent success.
We blame time zones.