Minnesota Duluth receives a significant television upgrade this season in signing a two-year agreement with the Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter to air 14 menâ€™s home hockey games and four womenâ€™s home games in the digital widescreen format on the My9 Sports Network.
Terms of the deal were not released, but financial considerations will be borne by UMD and the Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter, said David Jensch, vice president and station manager for the Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter.
My9, carrying all UMD home football games this season, reaches about 174,000 households in the Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin viewing market, said Jensch, and is available on nearly all cable systems. The signal isnâ€™t available on the Dish Network or DirecTV satellite systems, but digital reception of My9 is available over the air with the use of an outdoor or indoor antenna.
Charter Communications had televised UMD menâ€™s hockey the past three years, including seven regular-season home games in 2009-10. Previously, UMD menâ€™s hockey had various TV homes including KBJR-TV (now the Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter) and WDIO-TV, Channels 10 & 13 through 2006-07.
â€œUMD hockey continues to be the premier event in this market and we have a commitment to quality local programming,â€ said Jensch. â€œWeâ€™ve had a growing number of sports on My9, weâ€™ve developed a niche, and we thought it was time to add UMD hockey.â€
The agreement coincides with UMD menâ€™s and womenâ€™s hockey moving to the new $80 million Amsoil Arena at midseason, starting with a menâ€™s game against North Dakota on Dec. 30. Amsoil Arenaâ€™s infrastructure includes a $170,000 in-house video broadcasting system that facilitates the televising of games, says Jeff Stark, the DECCâ€™s technology and hockey operations director.
My9 (KBJR DT 6.2 and KRII DT 11.9) begins its hockey schedule Nov. 12 from the DECC as the UMD men face Michigan Tech. After moving into Amsoil Arena, all UMD home games will be televised.
â€œThis is a very comprehensive package that will provide great exposure for our school and for a number of our sports, and we have a broadcast partner that we are going to be able to grow with,â€ said UMD athletic director and football coach Bob Nielson.
Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter sports director Tom Hansen will do the television play-by-play, while former UMD forward Judd Medak will provide commentary. Hansen, 47, is doing UMD football play-by-play on My9 and has been the radio play-by-play voice of UMD womenâ€™s hockey the past 10 years. Medak, 31, played for the Bulldogs from 1998-2002.
â€œThis is a fantastic opportunity to showcase two great teams and the opening of a new rink,â€ said Hansen, in his 23rd year of working with UMD sports on radio and television. â€œMy9 has grown slowly but surely the last few years and adding college hockey is the next step in our development.â€
My9 began showing weekly high school hockey games last season and will continue that schedule in 2010-11. UMD football is in the second year on the station and has three televised home games remaining Oct. 9 against Winona State, Oct. 16 against the University of Mary and Oct. 30 against St. Cloud State.
My9 also will carry Wisconsin high school state tournaments in football, boys and girls basketball, and boys and girls hockey. The Duluth East versus Duluth Central football game at 6 p.m. on Oct 8 will also be shown from Public Schools Stadium.
The only UMD menâ€™s hockey road game scheduled for My9 this season is Nov. 20 at Wisconsin, although thereâ€™s the potential of adding more road games, said Jensch.
UMD games on the Northlandâ€™s NewsCenter My9 in 2010-11:
Men, All at 7:07 p.m.
Nov. 12-13 â€“ Michigan Tech at UMD
Nov. 20 â€“ UMD at Wisconsin
Dec. 3-4 â€“ Denver at UMD
Dec. 30 â€“ North Dakota at UMD
Jan. 8 â€“ USA Under-18 at UMD
Jan. 14-15 â€“ Wisconsin at UMD
Feb. 4-5 â€“ Minnesota at UMD
Feb. 11-12 â€“ St. Cloud State at UMD
March 4-5 â€“ Nebraska-Omaha at UMD
Women, All at 7:07 p.m.
Jan. 21-22 â€“ Wisconsin at UMD
Jan. 28-29 â€“ Bemidji State at UMD