Broadcasts of high school hockey on Fox Sports North are taking a serious mid-season slash.
Coaches were informed recently that all but two remaining broadcast dates have been eliminated for cost-cutting reasons.
The regional network will keep its planned Jan. 7 boys' hockey doubleheader in Duluth and the broadcasts associated with Hockey Day in Minnesota on Jan. 23. But a dozen other games were wiped off the initial slate, starting with yesterday's planned broadcasts of Holy Angels vs. Minnetonka and St. Thomas Academy vs. White Bear Lake in the boys' hockey Schwan Cup.
"I understand money was an issue, but it's a huge loss," said Blaine head coach Dave Aus. "The biggest thing is the exposure it gave the game and the kids."
Blaine has already appeared once on FSN and is fortunate that its other scheduled appearance -- Jan. 7 at Duluth East -- is among the handful of games being spared. Several other schools weren't as fortunate, including Benilde-St. Margaret's. The Red Knights' Jan. 29 game against Moorhead is no longer scheduled to be televised.
That game is on a Friday, meaning Benilde-St. Margaret's didn't have to make major accommodations to fit the TV game into its schedule. But several other programs reconfigured schedules to hit the ice on odd nights (for instance, three future Monday dates -- not a typical night for high school hockey -- were cut from the original schedule).
"Clearly it’s disappointing," BSM coach Ken Pauly said. "We have a deep sense of gratitude for everything [FSN] did. I know it costs big money to produce those things."