Coming soon to a web service near you: The Toronto Maple Leafs Bryan McCabe, right, scores on Montreal Canadiens goalie David Aebischer on Saturday. ((Frank Gunn/Canadian Press))

Hockey fans will soon be able to see highlights from NHL games on the popular video-sharing website YouTube under a groundbreaking partnership between the company and the league.

The deal, announced Wednesday, marks the first time that a professional sports league has agreed to share content with YouTube, which allows users to upload, view and share video clips online.

"The agreement will enable users to access video highlights of NHL regular season games, which will be available within 24 hours of the original broadcast, in addition to other on-and-off-ice footage," the partners said in a news release on Wednesday.

Beginning later in November, the league will provide YouTube free, short and entertaining clips from regular games, according to the release.

"What a great way to showcase the talent of our athletes," NHL executive Doug Perlman said in the release.

The NHL will have its own channel on the service so fans can find hockey content in one place, and the league will also have "Branded Watch Pages," where the NHL can put its logo on the pages on which its videos play.

YouTube's vice-president of content, Kevin Donahue, said the deal will help the NHL reach a vast new and young audience.

Under the deal, the NHL will be able to removecontent from YouTube and share revenue from advertising placed adjacent to the content.

YouTube has been an internet phenomenon since its creation in early 2005, becoming one of the world's most rapidly growing websites.

It's free and allows users to see and share video clips, which range from online confessionals and popular comedy skits to violent scenes of backyard wrestling and battles in Iraq. Users post more than60,000 clips a day.

However, it has faced some controversy over the posting of copyrighted materials — including from the NHL.

Time magazine named YouTube "Invention of the Year" for 2006.

Google agreed in early November to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion US in stock.