One of the casualties of the NHL lockout last year was the Winter Classic, which has become the league’s marquee regular-season event.
The cancellation also included HBO not being able to air their popular show called 24/7, which gives fans a behind the scenes look at the players, coaches and management of the two teams participating in that year’s Winter Classic. This season, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will play in the outdoor game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, and allow HBO’s cameras special access for a four-week period.
According to NHL.com, the new 24/7 season will start on Dec. 14, with one new episode airing in each of the next three weeks for a total of four episodes. Each of them will air on HBO on Saturday nights.
“HBO’s 24/7 has been a game-changer for us,” NHL COO John Collins told the league’s website. “The wide-open access our clubs provide on and off the ice gives a real sense of what it takes to play in the NHL and just how special our players are. Our fans love it, and there’s no question new fans have been attracted by watching the games and the personalities come alive through the lens of HBO’s storytelling.
The most recent 24/7 season in 2011 included the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. That season provided some incredible scenes from the two rivals, with the star of the show being Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who played the role of comedian with his talk of the solar system and comparing Siberian huskies to beautiful women.
It will be interesting to see which player(s) become the talk of this year’s series.