The Big Ten will be showcasing hockey nationally this season. Where they are may come as a surprise.
The conference, which begins play in 2013-2014, announced Monday (September 16, 2013) a 34 game national schedule that kicks off October 11th with Penn State breaking in Pegula Arena against Army on BTN.
Another 36 games will be carried on FOX Sports Regional Networks (i.e. FS North or FS Detroit).
Twenty-seven of the 34 games will be shown on BTN. The remaining seven - played during the same time as a BTN game - will be shown on ESPNU or ESPNews. This is a return of sorts for regular college hockey on the Worldwide Leader. While ESPN broadcasts the NCAA Hockey Tournament, it hasn't shown any regular season games for a few years.
Instead, regular season college hockey has been spread elsewhere. Games were shown across other regional sports networks along with nationally on CBS Sports Network, BTN and Hockey East on NBCSN.
ESPNU's first Big Ten hockey game will be Friday, November 29 when Minnesota plays host to Wisconsin. Faceoff for that game is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT).
The bulk of the national games will be on after the new year when conference play picks up and includes the Hockey City Classic between Minnesota and Ohio State Friday, January 17th at TCF Bank Stadium on BTN. It also includes all five Big Ten tournament games at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN being shown on the conference's network.
A major part of BTN’s coverage will be the establishment of Frozen Friday hockey doubleheaders beginning on January 10 and running for eight consecutive weeks.
The full national schedule shows all six Big Ten teams making at least 8 appearances.
Breaking down by team:
- Michigan (10 times)
- Michigan State (9 times)
- Minnesota (12 times)
- Ohio State (8 times)
- Penn State (9 times)
- Wisconsin (8 times)
For the full national schedule, click here.
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate