I’ve been overseas for almost 12 years now. I love living abroad, and am fortunate to be working in a hockey job I enjoy. In the time I have been on these shores the sport has grown, and it is incredible to look back and see how far hockey coverage has come here! 12 years ago you’d get some NHL on NASN, some IIHF if lucky, and some domestic stuff here and there (no free-to-air hockey). Not exactly huge air-time. Fast forward to the present, coming into the 2018/19 season we will have all of the best leagues and players on free-to-air TV in the UK!
FreeSports growing commitment to hockey is great to see, and I cannot wait to get going in late August as the Champions Hockey League kicks off our biggest hockey broadcast year to date!
Follow Murph throughout the new season on twitter here: @MurphOnIce
The deal, signed for the next two seasons, will see a live game shown every two weeks which will also feature highlights, starting with the forthcoming 2018/19 campaign.
Further to that, there will be a bi-weekly highlights show on Wednesdays, during the weeks there isn’t a live game and fans can also look forward to a pre-season preview show to air before the campaign.
Elite League chairman Tony Smith says it’s a step in the right direction with the league enjoying some great coverage recently.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to agree a deal with Free Sports to show free ice hockey to fans on television,” he said.
“With the success of the Great Britain national team, one of our young players, Liam Kirk, drafted to the NHL and the standard increasing every year, it’s something we were keen to tie up.
“Free Sports’ relationship with the sport, particularly in this country, is a healthy one and I’m pleased to see the Elite League join that stable in helping promote top level ice hockey from the UK.
“I want to thank Free Sports for their professionalism in these negotiations and on behalf of the league, we’re very much looking forward to working with them.”
Spearheading the coverage will be presenter Aaron Murphy, a man well known to fans of the Elite League and will be the man behind the mic again.
Murphy has a wealth of experience in commentary, including covering matches at the Winter Olympics, the NHL and at the World Championships.
But as a fan of the Elite League, he’s delighted to be back on board and is excited about what the season may hold as the EIHL heads for the home of ice hockey.
“It’s brilliant to see the EIHL coming back to our TV screens, joining a great stable of hockey alongside the CHL, NHL, KHL, SHL and IIHF events on Free Sports,” Murphy said.
“The league has been getting better every year, with the level on the ice now at a point where huge European teams in the CHL are defeated by EIHL clubs regularly.”
“For fans to be able to see more of that in the domestic competition is a positive step forward. On the back of the Team GB success as well, it’ll be nice for people to see those players suit up for their club as well as the National side.
“I can’t wait to get back calling the games, as I always enjoyed broadcasting the EIHL in the past. This new chapter will be fantastic on free to air TV and we aim to expose the league to new viewers who will hopefully become part of the passionate fan bases of all 11 teams.“
“It’s going to be a fun season, with plenty of storylines and excitement, and we can’t wait to get going on Free Sports.”
Richard Webb, operations director at Free Sports, added: “Our Ice Hockey coverage on Free Sports continues to grow and we’re delighted to have the Elite Ice Hockey League on board.”
“Our channel has showed a wealth of ice hockey over the past 12 months including monumental successes for the GB Ice Hockey team, at senior, u18s and u20s level.”
“This is great deal for the fans to enjoy even more of the best British ice hockey has to offer and we can’t wait for the new season.”
Free Sports, a relatively new channel launched last August is dedicated to giving every home in the UK access to live, free sports and continues to grow with the acquisition of the EIHL rights.
This week, Free Sports announced they will be available on Virgin TV from Saturday July 21st with the channel now broadcast on every platform in the UK.
About Free Sports
Free Sports is currently available via Freeview (95), Sky (422), Virgin (553) FreeSat (252), TalkTalk (95), BT Vision (95) and online via the TVPlayer.
The 2017/18 season was a magical one for Liam Kirk! He represented Great Britain at U18, U20 and Senior level at IIHF World Championships. He was also invited to the NHL combine, and was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes 189th overall. Murph chatted with him ahead of all the NHL excitement in Budapest (April 2018):
What an incredible moment. What an incredible achievement. A look back at one of the most important moments in GB hockey for decades! Great Britain vs Hungary, complete highlights of the history and magic from Budapest 2018:
All any team or athlete can ask for – after all the hard work and preparation – is a chance to have destiny in your hands. Whatever the goal or ambition, to be in the final day of a competition, with Gold and Promotion to the top level in your sport as the reward…that is a dream scenario! GB had that scenario at the 2018 Division 1A World Championships in Budapest. A point against the hosts Hungary, & they would clinch Gold and a trip to the World Championships in 2019! Here’s a look back to April 28th 2018:
What a great competition in Budapest! Great Britain came into the Division 1A World Championships as the lowest seed, and not many people gave them a chance for a medal. Well there was something special in the air, something just felt good around the group. Great Britain beat Italy for the first time since 1952 on April 27th! It put them in Gold Medal and Promotion position heading into the final day in Hungary…here’s some of the big moments!
There’s simply nothing better than playoff hockey! The Stanley Cup is one of the toughest trophies to win in all of sport. The latest chase for ‘Lord Stanley’ is just about to get going, so here’s my picks for the 1st Round of the 2018 NHL playoffs.
You can follow Murph during the Stanley Cup playoffs on twitter: @MurphOnIce
There’s nothing better than a winner take all game! And there’s nothing better than finally reaching a huge goal after a few attempts just falling short. Resilience and ‘team first’ come to mind when I think back to last April at SSE Arena, and the IIHF Div1B tournament. Team GB, at a home World Championships, had a chance for Gold against Japan, with promotion to Division 1A also on the line. Here’s a look back at some history from Belfast 2017.
You can also follow Murph all hockey season long on twitter: @MurphOnIce
Niklas Kronwall has been a warrior throughout his career for the Detroit Red Wings, and internationally for Team Sweden. He’s also a member of the illustrious Triple Gold Club (Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold & Stanley Cup). Murph sat down with the Wings steady blue-liner in Stockholm where they chatted about Detroit getting back to the NHL playoffs, life in an Original Six city, and a new arena in Hockey-town USA. See the interview here:
It’s always nice in my line of work to step out of the broadcast booth, and sit down with one of the guys that battles on the ice. There’s no greater competitor, no one who wants to win more at any position, no greater leader than Henrik Lundqvist. Here’s my 1-on-1 chat with the Rangers and Sweden’s star goalie…on Gold Medals, brotherly love and life in the NHL on Broadway:
Follow Murph all hockey season long on twitter: @MurphOnIce