Early October marks the start of the NHL regular season, and hockey fans everywhere are starting to get excited. Are you ready for the action? If you’ve recently cancelled your cable bill, or if you’re considering doing so, you should have a plan in place for watching your favorite NHL team. Luckily, there are several ways to watch NHL online, without cable. NHL live stream services, as well as on-demand NHL streaming options both exist.
Fan of NCAA hockey? There are a some solid streaming solutions out there for you as well. You can even legally watch the World Cup of Hockey online live. Whether you’re looking for college or pro action, you’ll find all your legal options here in this guide to watch hockey online.
Use DIRECTV NOW to Watch NHL Online
Looking for a way to watch NHL games online? The answer is a new service called DIRECTV NOW.
Launched in late 2016, DIRECTV NOW is an online streaming service that provides tons of channels without a cable or satellite subscription. It works over the Internet and provides endless entertainment from some of the popular TV channels out there. There’s even a free 7-day trial available!
In terms of NHL game live stream coverage, here’s what DIRECTV NOW offers:
- Currently, 60+ channels is only $35 a month!
- Channels include NBSCN and NHL Network, which together broadcast the majority of NHL games!
- Up to 100+ other channels across all packages, including ESPN, TNT, TBS, AMC, and many more
- NBC streaming is also available in select areas
- Access to regional sports channels for additional NHL coverage
- The service is non-contract, and can be canceled at any time
- Works on many streaming devices, smartphone, computer, etc.
- Read our DIRECTV NOW review for more info
In addition to offering NBCSN and NFL Network, DIRECTV NOW also has tons of regional sports networks that cover your favorite local teams. You’ll only get the regional network(s) that is available in your area. Here are the currently covered teams:
- Anaheim Ducks – watch live via FOX Sports San Diego/FOX Sports Prime Ticket
- Arizona Coyotes – watch live via FOX Sports Arizona
- Carolina Hurricanes – watch live via FOX Sports South
- Chicago Blackhawks – watch live via CSN Chicago
- Columbus Blue Jackets – watch live via FOX Sports Cincinnati/FOX Sports Ohio
- Dallas Stars – watch live via FOX Sports Southwest
- Detroit Red Wings – watch live via FOX Sports Detroit
- Florida Panthers – watch live via FOX Sports Florida
- Los Angeles Kings – watch live via FOX Sports West
- Minnesota Wild – watch live via FOX Sports North
- Nashville Predators – watch live via FOX Sports South
- San Jose Sharks – watch live via CSN California
- St. Louis Blues – watch live via FOX Sports Midwest
- Tampa Bay Lightning – watch live via FOX Sports Sun
- Washington Capitals – watch live via CSN Mid-Atlantic
Again, only the network(s) that are available in your local area will be accessible. But, if you do get your local network (see a list by ZIP code here), you’ll get live access to the majority of your favorite teams’ games!
Sling TV Gives Access to an NHL Live Stream
Sling TV will be another good way for hockey fans to watch NHL games online this season. This is a live streaming service that does not require cable – it functions in a similar way to a cable subscription, just without the high cost and long-term commitment. For as little as $20 a month, you can subscribe and start enjoying live TV from 30+ of the best TV stations out there; all with no contract, and no cable!
For hockey fans, the most important channels that Sling TV offers are NBCSN and NHL Network. Basically, NBCSN will broadcast the vast majority of nationally broadcasted NHL games! Some games air on NBC, but most will be on NBCSN. Luckily, Sling TV includes NBCSN in their “Sling Blue” package, which is just $25 a month and includes 40+ other great channels, as well! Even NBC is included, but only in some areas. NBCSN, on the other hand, is offered nationwide, and provides a great way to enjoy NHL live stream this season.
NHL Network, available in Sling TV’s Sports Extra add-on package, will show over 75 games live this season while also delivering around-the-clock NHL coverage. Sports Extra comes with a number of other great sports channels and is just $10 a month to add on top of your Sling Blue subscription.
Also, Sling TV has recently added regional FOX Sports networks to one of its new packages. Why does this matter for hockey fans? Because these regional networks carry the games of many NHL teams, including the Ducks (FOX Sports West), Kings (FOX Sports West), Panthers (FOX Sports Florida), Blues (FOX Sports Midwest), Red Wings (FOX Sports Detroit), Wild (FOX Sports North), Predators (FOX Sports Southeast), Stars (FOX Sports Southwest), Lightning (Sun Sports), Hurricanes (FOX Sports Carolinas), and Coyotes (FOX Sports Arizona). This is a great way to follow the NHL teams in your region throughout the regular season and into the playoffs as they vie for the Stanley Cup. Click here to learn more about which FOX Sports networks are available in your region.
And if you’d like to catch the World Cup of Hockey live, you can do so affordably with Sling TV. The NHL recently announced that they have awarded broadcasting rights to the World Cup of Hockey to ESPN – which is great news for cord cutters, considering you can watch ESPN online with Sling TV.
For those unfamiliar with the service, here’s how it works:
- Sign up to enjoy live streaming of all content from 30-40+ popular TV channels
- Choose from Sling Orange ($20 a month, 25 channels) or Sling Blue ($25 a month, 40+ channels), or both!
- Channels include ESPN, ESPN2, NBCSN, TNT, TBS, FOX (select markets), NBC (select markets), and more
- Streams on mobile devices, computers, and streaming devices
- You can score a FREE Roku streaming device (or a discounted Apple TV) when you prepay for 3 months
- Available without a contract, so you can cancel at any time
- You can read my full Sling TV review here.
You can also try Sling TV free for 7 days to test out the service. With the free trial, you can actually watch NHL live stream free for a full week!
Use PlayStation Vue to Watch Hockey Online
PlayStation Vue is a new streaming service from Sony. It’s offered to cord-cutters as a way to bypass expensive cable subscriptions, but still enjoy live TV. It works on streaming devices, PlayStation consoles, and some mobile devices. With plans starting from $30-$40 a month depending on location, it’s more expensive than Sling TV. However, like Sling, Vue is offered without a contract.
With Vue, you can watch NHL online using channels like NBCSN, as well as NBC and FOX in select markets. This is the same hockey channel selection that is offered by Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW currently, but Sling and DIRECTV NOW are both more highly recommended by us. PlayStation Vue will give you access to the NHL live stream, but really, there are other options we prefer. You can explore more details in our PlayStation Vue review.
Enjoy Live NHL Streaming with NHL GameCenter LIVE
For hockey fans, another option to watch NHL live stream action without cable is NHL GameCenter LIVE. This online streaming service comes directly from the NHL itself, and provides fans with live streaming of all out-of-market games, all season long. “Out of market” is the key phrase here and a major drawback to the service.
When you subscribe to NHL GameCenter Live, you’ll be able to quickly and easily watch NHL online. You can enjoy an NHL live stream of every out-of-market NHL game as it airs on TV. “Out of market” means out of your local broadcasting area. In other words, you won’t be able to watch local teams whose games air on live TV in your area live or games that air on national TV, but you can watch their games on-demand after they air. This chart will show you which market you’re in, and which teams will be blocked out in your area.
In addition to live streaming of out-of-market games, subscribers gain access to on-demand replays of all games (including blacked-out in-market games) starting 48 hours after they air. While waiting 48 hours to watch a game can be a pain, it’s still convenient to be able to catch up if you’ve fallen behind. There’s also a large library of past NHL games
NHL GameCenter LIVE works on a variety of devices, including PC/Mac, mobile devices, streaming devices like Roku/Apple TV/Chromecast, and gaming consoles like the PS3/Xbox 360.
To sum up, NHL GameCenter LIVE offers fans:
- Live streaming of all out-of-market regular season NFL games
- On-demand streaming of all regular season games – starting 48 hours after the broadcast
- On-demand streaming of classic NHL games
- Condensed replays and full replays
When it comes to pricing NHL GameCenter Live offers a few different options to watch hockey online.
For All Access to out-of-market regular season games for every team around the league, the service will run you $131.49 for an annual subscription (over $25 off last year’s price). Paying the annual price up front gets you the best value. If you don’t have the budget to pay up front or don’t need the service all season, you can pay for the All Access Monthly package at a rate of $24.99 each month. The NHL is also rolling out a single-team package for this season, which will cost $105.09 per year . The single-team package will allow you to follow the games of a single team for the entire season. Remember, however, that local market and nationally-aired games are blacked out.
Watch NHL Online from Outside the US with a VPN
If you live outside of the United States, most of the options in this guide won’t work for you. Luckily, there is an alternative; you can use a VPN! Click here to learn more about using a VPN to watch hockey online from outside the USA.
Watch Live NHL Games over-the-air with an Antenna
With an over-the-air antenna, like one of our recommended best recommended antennas, you’ll be able to watch network broadcasting channels like ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and more, for free – without cable. OTA antennas are the modern-day rabbit ears, but they work better and offer HD viewing.
With an antenna, you’ll be able to catch the regional NHL games that are playing in your area, plus a few national games on NBC. You’ll also enjoy NHL live streams during the playoffs, and will be able to watch nearly every Stanley Cup game, since it broadcasts on NBC (two of the games typically air on NBCSN – check the season schedule for details).
For more convenience and flexibility, you can combine the use of an OTA antenna with a quality DVR. With a DVR, you can record all the games you want (plus any other shows you want to watch) and view them on your own schedule. More advanced DVRs offer other useful features, like the ability to stream recordings on connected devices to watch hockey online on-the-go. Keep in mind that pairing your device will allow you to watch NHL live stream action, not just on demand.
Watch College Hockey Online: See the Future of the NHL in Action
This may be an NHL article, but I’ve had a lot of NHL fans contact me asking about college hockey streaming options. So in case you’re looking to watch college hockey online, here are a couple of services worth looking into:
- CBS College Sports Live–CBS College Sports Live is a college sports-only streaming service that has agreements with many popular and lesser-known schools and grants access to 18,000+ live college events (via video and/or audio streaming feeds). It also has tens of thousands of on-demand clips. At only $9.95 per month (or $99.95 for the annual subscription), CBS is a great option for watching college hockey online, as well as keeping up with other college sports. Click here to learn more about CBS College Sports Live.
- DIRECTV NOW — DIRECTV NOW is our recommendation for NHL live stream, and also a good option for college hockey streaming. It includes ESPN, and other ESPN-family networks, plus NBCSN, regional sports networks, and more. Try DIRECTV NOW for free by clicking here.
- Sling TV–As mentioned above, Sling TV lets you live stream a small bundle of popular cable channels without a contract. NCAA hockey fans will mostly care about this because of the ESPN family of channels that Sling TV carries. ESPNEWS and ESPNU, both available with the Sports Extra package, will allow you to watch a handful of college hockey games online each season. But most importantly, ESPN will carry the Frozen Four, meaning a subscription to Sling TV allow you to catch all the intense college hockey playoff action! Try Sling TV free here.
- Playstation Vue–Sony now has their own streaming service called Playstation Vue, which carries some FOX Sports regional networks. This makes it a potentially viable to watch NCAA hockey online. The problem is that right now, FOX Sports is only available in select areas. However, if you are from one of those cities and have the right equipment, it might be worth a look. Plans start at $29.99 per month. Get more information here.
NHL Team Pages
The Complete Guide to Watching Sports Online
To learn more about watching all of your favorite sports without cable, check out our guide to legally streaming sports online.
Mr. Cable Cutter
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