AHL, Sportsnet announce 5-year deal

sportsnetSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League and Rogers Sportsnet today announced a five-year agreement that gives the Canadian network multi-platform broadcast rights to the annual AHL All-Star Classic, beginning with this year’s event in Atlantic City, N.J.

The multi-platform agreement includes rights on Sportsnet television, mobile and online for the AHL All-Star Classic.

Sportsnet will also produce and broadcast – in high definition – the first outdoor AHL game ever held in Canada as the Hamilton Bulldogs host the Toronto Marlies at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., on Jan. 21, 2012.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Rogers Sportsnet to bring AHL action into fans’ homes across Canada,” said David Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hockey League. “Our All-Star Classic annually showcases the best young talent in our sport, and this year’s outdoor game in Hamilton is sure to be a historic event.”

“The American Hockey League has a deep and storied history of producing great NHL talent,” said Navaid Mansuri, Vice-President of Finance & Sports Programming, Rogers Media. “Our audience is heavily invested in their hometown NHL teams and will now get a chance to see these teams’ prospects during the AHL’s biggest events.”

The 2012 AHL All-Star Classic festivities on Sportsnet begin with the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. (ET)/12 p.m. (PT), and conclude with the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. (ET)/4 p.m. (PT). Both days’ events, featuring the top young players in hockey and coming from Atlantic City’s historic Boardwalk Hall, will be seen live on the Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific channels.

Sportsnet’s coverage of the outdoor AHL game between the Bulldogs and Marlies begins on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1:00 p.m. (ET)/10 a.m. (PT) on the Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific channels. The Bulldogs are the top development team for the Montreal Canadiens, while the Marlies are the primary affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Entering its 76th season of play in 2011-12, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 10th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2010-11. Through the years, the AHL has been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including legends such as Johnny Bower, Andy Bathgate, Gerry Cheevers, Larry Robinson, Patrick Roy and Brett Hull.