Lockout protection: NBCSN beefs up college hockey coverage

J. Meric - Getty Images

NBC Sports Network is beefing up their college hockey coverage in preparation for the NHL lockout.

NBC Sports Network announced a hefty college hockey broadcast schedule Tuesday afternoon, a move that seems all but an admission that the NHL's television partner expects to be without their biggest asset for a bit this fall.

NBCSN's 24-game slate (much larger than last year's) features games in Oct., Nov., and Dec. in addition to a weekly slate of games from Jan. through the end of the conference tournaments in March, similar to last year. It also features a college tournament in Kansas City on Fri., Oct. 12th. The doubleheader of games will likely replace what would've been NBCSN's coverage of the Los Angeles Kings' Stanley Cup banner raising.

NBC's NCAA coverage remains a bit spotty outside of Hockey East, with rights to home games from teams like the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Denver, but not full conferences aside from Hockey East and the ECAC. That will change next season when NBCSN gains the rights to Notre Dame hockey, similar to NBC's arrangement with the Fighting Irish football team.

For now, however, the college hockey TV schedule has a few highlights: A back-to-back home-and-home featuring preseason No. 1-ranked (and defending national champions) Boston College against archrival No. 11 Boston University, two appearances by preseason No. 3-ranked Union, a top-10 showdown between North Dakota and Denver in March, as well as Hockey East quarterfinal, semifinal and championship action.

It'll be something to enjoy for what will likely be a hockey-starved cult of NHL fans this winter.

2012-13 NCAA Hockey on NBC Sports Network Schedule (all times ET)

Oct. 12 and 13
Ice Breaker Tournament, Kansas City, Mo.

Oct. 12 - Notre Dame vs. Maine, 7 p.m., followed by Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha
Oct. 13 -
Tournament Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 16 - Harvard vs. Cornell, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 - Boston College vs. Boston University, 7:30 p.m., Wisconsin vs. Denver, 10 p.m.

Dec. 1 - Boston University vs. Boston College, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 - Vermont vs. Dartmouth, 7 p.m.

Dec. 7 - Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 - Colorado College vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 - Union vs. Princeton, 7:30 p.m., Nebraska-Omaha vs. Denver, 10 p.m.

Jan. 18 - Harvard vs. Yale, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 - Yale vs. Cornell, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 - Dartmouth vs. Union, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 - North Dakota vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 15 - Boston University vs. Maine, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 22 - Yale vs. Quinnipiac, 7:30 p.m., North Dakota vs. Denver, 10 p.m.

Mar. 1 - Wisconsin vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 7:30 p.m.

Mar. 8 - Maine vs. New Hampshire, 7:30 p.m.

Hockey East Tournament
Mar. 15 -
Quarterfinal, 7 p.m.
Mar. 22 - Semifinals, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Mar. 23 - Final, 7 p.m.

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