Hockey lovers rejoice! The NHL is back in action this Saturday, January 19th after a lengthy and painful labor dispute that delayed nearly half the season. Thankfully, there are now more ways than ever to get your hockey fix, and Apple is leading the way with several options.
First, users must subscribe to the NHL’s GameCenter Live, which gives access to out-of-market games in “HD” quality. In an effort not to alienate fans further, this year’s package is only US$49.99 for the season, less than a prorated equivalent considering the fewer games that will be played.
Once you’ve signed up, you can access live and archived games from several Apple Products:
Mac: On the Mac, simply go to gamecenter.nhl.com in a modern web browser to sign in and view games. There are several quality levels and, while quality can fluctuate depending on network conditions and overall traffic, I’ve used the online GameCenter for several years and found the quality overall to be excellent for live streaming video.
iDevices: Owners of an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad can head over to the App Store to grab the official NHL GameCenter app. It’s a free download that lets all users view scores, stats, and news, but GameCenter subscribers can log in and also view the live and archived game feeds right on their iDevices.
Apple TV: In October 2011, Apple updated the Apple TV to add support for the NHL GameCenter app. Available on your home screen, the app lets you log in with your GameCenter credentials and watch all available live and archived games, as well as see stats and scores from around the league. It’s the easiest way to get NHL content on your television, and it helps those who have (or are planning to) “cut the cord” keep up with the world’s greatest sport [That’s right, I said it. Greatest Sport. Come get me. -Jim]
Those without an Apple device can still enjoy the action, as the NHL has expanded GameCenter’s availability to Android, Boxee, the PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, and certain Sony Smart TVs and Blu-ray players.
It should be noted, however, that the NHL, like most sports, blocks access to games that would otherwise be blacked out and those that are available in the user’s local market. National games carried on The NBC Sports Network or NBC proper, for example, won’t be viewable via GameCenter if those channels are available in your area.
Image credit: Jim Tanous
But for fans who live away from their home team [Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!], GameCenter and Apple products go perfectly together and make you feel right at home.