Upcoming Gophers men's hockey rivalry games at Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota will be televised — but not in wide swaths of Minnesota.
In college hockey, the home school controls television rights for each game. Duluth-based My9 Sports Network will televise Friday's season opener between the Gophers and Bulldogs. Midco Sports Network will televise the Gophers at North Dakota series Oct. 20-21.
Fox Sports North had interest in televising both rivalries but wasn't granted the rights. The same thing happens in reverse when those teams play at Minnesota, as the Gophers limit TV coverage only to their providers. Once these networks get the rights, they don't want other networks cutting into their ratings.
The difference is, fans living in much of Minnesota, including most of the Twin Cities, have no access to the My9 or Midco networks, whereas FSN and Big Ten Network are available on cable packages across the country. So this is a loss for many would-be viewers and for college hockey's exposure.
"The positive is that [Gophers fans] want to see the games," said Mike Dimond, FSN's senior vice president and general manager. "It's a passionate, engaged fan base, but these games just fall outside of our rights with the university."
The Gophers games against UMD and UND will be available on livestream via a paid subscription to NCHC.tv.
With only a few other exceptions, most of the Gophers' games will be televised on FSN, Big Ten Network, NBC Sports Network or the ESPN networks. Last Friday, FSN announced a 37-game college hockey schedule featuring the Gophers, Minnesota State Mankato, UMD, St. Cloud State, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Fans have options to catch other games through live streaming services — such as WCHA.tv and NCHC.tv — but that probably won't stem the frustration of Gophers hockey fans this month.