The Boston College Women’s Hockey schedule release is usually notable only for how late it’s announced — most schools already have their schedule finalized by this time (the Eagles have an exhibition game in less than two weeks), but with two basketball programs, two hockey programs, plus volleyball, all using the same facility, it tends to make scheduling take longer than it should.
However, buried within Tuesday’s announcement of the BC women’s hockey schedule was a pretty big (and unexpected) bit of news:
All of Boston College's home games will be streamed live on ESPN3, which is available at watchespn.com and the ESPN App.
That’s a monumental bit of news for the women’s hockey program. All of the Eagles’ home games will be streamed nationally, free of charge, on the nation’s premier sports streaming service.
And that’s not all. Earlier this week, Boston College announced the fall ACC Network Extra schedule, with both hockey programs getting a shout out:
Additionally, men's and women's basketball games will continue to be streamed on ACC Network Extra, and new this year, men's and women's hockey games will now be streamed on WatchESPN. Those schedules will be released in the coming weeks.
With the release of the women’s hockey schedule announcing that all women’s games will be with the Worldwide Leader, it stands to reason that all of the men’s games that are not picked up by TV (i.e. NESN) will be with ESPN3 as well,
though this hasn’t yet been confirmed.
UPDATE: BC has confirmed that the plan is to have all non-televised men’s hockey games on ESPN3 as well:
Yes, that is the plan.— Jason Baum (@JasonBaumPR) September 13, 2017
This is a big win for BC hockey fans of both teams who will no longer have to shell out a monthly subscription fee to watch the Eagles. It seems likely that BC will still be in charge of production like they have in the past with their BCEagles.TV subscription package, but the feed will be instead be put out by ESPN on their top-tier platform.
Still to be answered is the question of what Hockey East will be doing with their TV rights. The demise of ASN gives the league a chance to change things up for an evolving sports broadcasting future. If the league could piggyback off BC’s strategy to have all games picked up by ESPN3, that would put Hockey East in a pretty unique position.