Hockey Night in Canada unveils season schedule

Hockey Night in Canada will kick off its broadcast schedule on Oct. 4 as the NHL season gets underway with games from the Czech Republic and Sweden.

Oct. 4 openers to be played in Europe

Hockey Night in Canada will kick off its broadcast schedule on Oct. 4 as the NHL season gets underway with games from the Czech Republic and Sweden.

They are the first of 69 games that will be broadcast by HNIC, a schedule that includes 25 all-Canadian matchups, the NHL all-star game and Outdoor Classic and the annual Hockey Day in Canada tripleheader.

In addition, Hockey Night in Canada will be front and centre as the Montreal Canadiens celebrate their centennial season.

The road leads to the 2009 Stanley Cup final, presented by HNIC. will stream games live and provide on-demand streaming, in addition to its around-the-clock hockey coverage

The season begins at noon ET on Oct. 4 when the Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the New York Rangers in Prague. The game will be followed by a battle between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Stockholm.

On Oct. 9, HNIC will be in Detroit when the Stanley Cup banner is unfurled at Joe Louis Arena as the Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. ET. The doubleheader continues at 10:30 p.m. ET when the Calgary Flames take on the Canucks in Vancouver.

The traditional Saturday night broadcast with host Ron McLean kicks off on Oct. 11 when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Flames and Canucks follow in Calgary.

Nov. 22 brings Original Six Saturday. The NHL's most storied teams will be shown in four games broadcast throughout the day:

The New York Rangers travel to Ottawa for the first game, at 3 p.m. ET; Montreal hosts Boston and Toronto takes on Chicago in the 7 p.m. ET slot; Detroit travels to Calgary for a 10 p.m ET start.

HNIC will be in Montreal on Thursday Dec. 4 as the Canadiens host the New York Rangers, returning two weeks later to bring viewers Montreal's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

All-star weekend takes place at Bell Centre in Montreal. HNIC will provide skills competition and all-star game on Jan. 24-25, 2009.

The NHL is returning to the great outdoors for the second consecutive New Year's Day, and HNIC will air the game. The Detroit Red Wings will play the Blackhawks at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Award-winning broadcast

CBC Sports will present the ninth annual edition of Hockey Day in Canada, which has garnered three Gemini Awards since its debut.

Hockey Night in Canada will lead into the event on Thursday, Feb. 19, presenting the Montreal Canadiens at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Campbellton, N.B., will the focal point on Feb. 21 for a celebration of hockey across the country, with an all-Canadian tripleheader broadcast day: Ottawa plays in Montreal at 3 p.m. ET; Vancouver is in Toronto at 7 p.m. ET; Calgary is in Edmonton to resume the Battle of Alberta at 10 p.m. ET.

HNIC will follow the playoff chase throughout Saturdays in March, with the final regular season broadcast night on April 11. 

HNIC will be the premier playoff destination in Canada, with coverage of Canadian team's games throughout the playoffs, games involving U.S. teams, and the 2009 Stanley Cup final.