On Wednesday, NESN and Hockey East reached a new, four-year television rights agreement that will broadcast 16 games per season. Highlights:
- A four year term through the 2014/15 season with at least 16 games per season (cool)
- NESN to produce every game in high definition (thank god)
- A new "flex" scheduling plan that will allow Hockey East and NESN to pick the best games during the closing weeks of the regular season (interesting)
- Five Hockey East Tournament games in 2012, including the Women's Championship game plus exclusive New England rights to the men's tournament semifinal games and championship game from TD Garden in Boston (sweet)
- All ten Hockey East teams will appear on NESN each season (meh)
NESN has already announced that it will broadcast Boston College's January 21 game at Maine and the following Friday's game against New Hampshire. In addition, NESN could pick up one of three games on the final three Saturdays of the regular season. BC plays at Merrimack on February 18, vs. Providence on February 25 and completes the regular season at home against Vermont (which will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network).
Should BC and Merrimack continue their early-season trajectory well into February, there's a very good chance that February 18 game will be NESN's "Flex" game on the 18th.
Curiously, NESN kicks off its 2012 broadcast schedule with Frozen Fenway -- UMass vs. Vermont and Maine vs. New Hampshire -- but won't be airing the following weekend's outdoor game between Boston College and Northeastern. I'm sure there's either a Bruins game or a Red Sox Pre- Pre-Spring Training Show during this time slot.
The NESN broadcast of the Maine and UNH games ups the Eagles' total number of televised regular season conference games to nine. Notably all three games against Vermont will be televised (February 10 on NBCSN and March 2-3 on CBSSN), as well as two against Boston U. and two against New Hampshire.