CBC's Hockey Night in Canada broke its own NHL playoff viewership record during Wednesday night's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins, with an average audience of 5.6 million and a peak of 7.8 million.
It was the highest-rated broadcast of an NHL regular season or playoff game on CBC, beating out the 1994 Cup final between the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers which drew 4.96 million viewers.
The highest-rated all-time CBC viewership was the 2002 Men's Olympic gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S. (8.96 million).
Success south of the border
The opener to the Stanley Cup final drew the best preliminary rating in the U.S. for a Game 1 in 12 years.
The Canucks' last-second 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins earned a 3.2 overnight rating and 6 share on NBC on Wednesday. That's up 14 per cent from last year's Philadelphia-Chicago Game 1 and the highest since a 3.7 for Buffalo-Dallas in 1999.
The rating was boosted by heavy interest in Boston's large market, which posted a 25.5/39, topping the 19.1/34 for Game 1 of last year's Celtics-Lakers NBA finals.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.
The opening game of last year's final between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks had a 2.8 overnight rating and six share in the U.S.
Game 1 of the 1999 final between the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars drew a 3.7 overnight rating on Fox.
This is the first Stanley Cup final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators played the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The U.S. ratings for Wednesday's game were 113-per cent higher than the first game of that series.