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The NHL Network today announced a distribution agreement with The Central Collegiate Hockey Association to show 17 regular-season CCHA games, live, in Canada on Saturday nights during the 2008-09 season.

The games shown in Canada will be produced by Comcast Television of Detroit with the first telecast set for October 25th.

“With 84 Canadian-born players on opening-day rosters, our teams are very excited about the opportunity to enhance the league’s television visibility where so many of our student-athletes come from,” said Tom Anastos, who is in his 11th season as Commissioner of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
 

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The next telecast is set for Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. ET from Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, MI, where the Michigan State Spartans play host to the Northern Michigan Wildcats. The Spartans roster features eight NHL draft picks, including freshman Daultan Leveille of St. Catharines, ON, who was a first-round selection of the Atlanta Thrashers this past summer. The Wildcats have 10 Canadian players on their roster including Matt Butcher, a 2005 pick by Vancouver, the same team his father, Garth, skated with for 10 of his 14 NHL seasons.

The University of Michigan, the CCHA’s defending regular season and playoff champions, will be featured six times on the Saturday night package. The Wolverines have 13 NHL draft choices on their team, including Ontario-born players Louie Caporusso, an Ottawa Senators pick and Canadian World Junior Team hopeful, and Brandon Burlon, a second-round selection of New Jersey this year.

NHL Network’s 2008-09 CCHA Canadian broadcast schedule:

October
• Saturday, Oct. 25 - Northern Michigan @ Michigan State at 7 p.m. ET

November
• Saturday, Nov. 1 - Ohio State @ Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Nov. 8 - Nebraska-Omaha @ Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Nov. 15 - Miami @ Michigan State at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Nov. 22 - Michigan @ Miami at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Nov. 29 - Western Michigan @ Notre Dame at 7 p.m. ET

December
• Saturday, Dec. 6 - Michigan @ Michigan State at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Dec. 13 - Bowling Green @ Notre Dame at 7 p.m. ET

January
• Saturday, Jan. 3 - Alaska @ Michigan State at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Jan. 10 - Miami @ Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Jan. 17 - Michigan @ Bowling Green at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Jan. 24 - Lake Superior State @ Bowling Green at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Jan. 31 - Northern Michigan @ Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET

February
• Saturday, Feb. 7 - Lake Superior State @ Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Feb. 14 - Ferris State @ Bowling Green at 7 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Feb. 21 - Ferris State @ Alaska at 9 p.m. ET
• Saturday, Feb. 28 - Bowling Green @ Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET
 

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Probably the deal got made because of Comcast and the NHL's relationship as partners in the U.S. NHL Network. Comcast does Sat. night games. You're right, they'd get a lot bigger audience in Canada for Friday night games.
 
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