Universal Sports Network Brings Elite European Hockey to American Fans with the 2008-09 IIHF Champions Hockey League
Beginning Oct. 8, Exclusive U.S. Coverage of the Inaugural Season
Features Top Clubs Fighting For a 10 Million Euro Prize Purse
LOS ANGELES — Universal Sports, the preeminent multiplatform destination for Olympic-related sports programming, today announced they are bringing the top European hockey teams to U.S. fans for the first time as the exclusive home of the 2008-09 Champions Hockey League (CHL). Through a partnership with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), weekly Wednesday coverage of the inaugural season of Europe’s premiere club hockey tournament begins on TV and online Oct. 8 and runs through the championships in January 2009. For complete TV broadcast and webcast schedules please visit UniversalSports.com.
“Universal Sports is committed to providing year round coverage of Olympic-style sports including hockey, and our longstanding relationship with IIHF has allowed us to become the only place where U.S. fans can tune in to see the inaugural Champions Hockey League,” said Universal Sports Chairman and CEO Claude Ruibal. “We look forward to growing the exposure and excitement around hockey in the U.S. leading into the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. CHL on Wednesdays will be a great opportunity for American hockey fans to follow top-ranked European clubs and elite players on Universal Sports.”
CHL contender Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia) recently made waves with a controversial signing of rising National Hockey League (NHL) star Alexander Radulov of the Nashville Predators. He is one of several former NHL players on teams qualified for the CHL campaign including goaltender Roman Turek playing for HC Mountfield Ceske Budejovice (Czeck Republic). Additionally, the CHL competitions will heat up quickly after last week’s Russian Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers during the first Victoria Cup. The Metallurg Magnitogorsk will hit the ice again on Oct. 22 where they will take on the Finnish SM-liiga champions Karpat Oulu for a chance to advance to the semi-finals in December.
The Universal Sports Network will feature exclusive CHL event video, often available live, athlete interviews and play-by-play game commentary online and on TV. Most recently, Universal Sports featured live coverage of all 56 championship games of the 2008 IIHF World Championships from Quebec City, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia and will be the official home for the IIHF 2009 World Championships from Berne and Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland.
“Our cross-platform coverage of the upcoming competitions illustrates our networks unique ability to fit Olympic and lifestyle sports into any living room, computer or even the palm of your hand,” said Ruibal.
CHL is an IIHF organized ice hockey league comprised of the best club teams in Europe, all competing for league prestige and a piece of the 10 million euro prize purse, the largest amount ever involved in a European club competition. The CHL will feature 12 top teams from seven countries (Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland) competing in a round-robin format to earn spots in the action-packed playoffs in January.
The final two teams in the CHL playoffs will also earn the right to compete against a National Hockey League team later in 2009 for the newly-created Victoria Cup, with the winning team not only earning bragging rights but a 1 million Swiss franc bonus.
About Universal Sports
Universal Sports, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, serves as the preeminent multiplatform destination for Olympic-related and lifestyle sports programming available on television and online. The Universal Sports Network is a 24-hour television channel available in 30 million television households in top markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and more. UniversalSports.com delivers an immersive experience via live and on-demand competition coverage, interaction with top athletes through blogs and in-depth access to sports news and information year round.
Offering over 1,000 live events, with more than 7,000 hours of annual original event programming including an excess of 5,000 hours of archival programming, Universal Sports delivers the content sports participants and fans want whenever, wherever they are. Whether in front of the television, online, on a mobile device or listening to satellite radio, Universal Sports provides comprehensive coverage of more than 60 sports disciplines. Currently Universal Sports holds exclusive long-term programming agreements across a number of key International Sports Federations; including the International Rowing Federation (FISA), International Swimming Federation (FINA), International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), International Ski Federation (FIS), the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
Major championship and Olympic qualifying events found on Universal Sports ranges from Track and Field, Skiing, Swimming, Gymnastics and Cycling, to Volleyball, Karate and Taekwondo. Along with event coverage, Universal Sports gives participants and fans a complete value-added content offering, allowing them to interact with their favorite world-class champions, as well as become familiar with up-and-coming athletes through the site’s blogs and interviews. For more information, please visit www.UniversalSports.com.
About International Ice Hockey Federation
Founded in 1908, the “International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)”, is a federation of member national hockey associations governing the sport of ice hockey and in-line hockey for both men and women.
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