The market for live NHL hockey games, as well as games at other levels, such as AHL, ECHL, the junior leagues, and college hockey, is constantly growing. Hockey fans are springing up all over the country, and for many, the only way to watch their favorite teams is to pay a bundle for a premium cable hockey package, such as those offered by Xfinity, DirectTV or Verizon Fios. However, online there are several other options to watching hockey, many of which are free. Below are several options for watching hockey online for free.
This site is probably the most reliable free site for watching hockey of all. It will cover 99% of all the games throughout the seasons, and the quality, although not perfect, is fairly decent for a free service. Their is a slight delay in the stream, depending upon your internet service provider, but it should be only around five-seconds.
The down side to this site is, the screen isn’t very large and cannot be increased, and there are a plethora of online ads to deal with. They will periodically popup from the very start through the game every few minutes. On the plus side, each of the ads will have an “X” to close them immediately.
This site can be decent for NHL coverage, but it’s hit or miss. It’s best to search for “NHL”, and at the top there is the option to choose Live, Past Broadscasts, or All. Select Live to be sure you’re only looking at the games going on right now. These games could be labeled all sorts of strange things, as these are shared feeds by just about anyone, so a hockey game could be labeled, “Today’s Game,” or something non-descriptive like that. If you’re having trouble finding a game, you may need to be creative in your search.
The feed is very slow, so pixelation is a problem. There’s also a strangely long delay in the stream. It’s likely a minute or more behind the actual game. The stream is so bad, it may actually stop for a moment and then skip ahead.
This site is strange, as many of its games are linked to NHL Game Center, which is a pay per view site. It does, however, sometimes have free games that are offered by such places as Hockey Night in Canada or some college hockey games that are offered free through other networks. However, most games are offered by NHL Game Center, which comes in through gamecenter.nhl.com, and can offer great viewing quality, but at a premium price. The cost is $79.00 for the entire year, or just $19.95 for a three month stretch.
One aspect of this site that is offered is the ability to listen to games for free. If all else fails, there is the option to listen to the commentators at least. There’s no charge for this, and it’s a good feed. Good for when you’re doing something else, and can’t actually watch the game, but can only listen.
This is an option that appears to work on donations. It does have a premium membership, but the minimum membership, which requires just an email address to sign up, does offer the ability to watch all NHL games through istream, which is an in-browser feed. The quality isn’t great, but it’s free hockey with only a minor delay. Signing up for the premium membership, will allow you to watch in either a Flash Plugin or Windows Media Player in slightly higher quality.
To sign up, go to the URL, click the link to register, and enter the required information, which requires only setting up a username, password, and an email address. There are other required fields, but there’s no verification required, so it’s not necessary to fill them all in correctly. Once you’ve completed the form, you will immediately be logged in, no need to verify through email. Find go to the streams, and pick which game you’d like to watch. And that’s all you need to do.
If you’d like to sign up for the premium membership, they offer as little as a one day for $7.49 or 12 months as $99.99.
Most of these same sites offer an archive of past games. They aren’t all inclusive since the dawn of hockey, however. Many only display the most recent games, along with a set list of special games, such as Stanley Cup playoffs, or maybe a few others that have certain meaning. So, if you want to watch a game from the past, to see the history of hockey, many of these services can also offer that.
Rather than paying out the nose for premium services to watch all your hockey, there are several options, so that you can always get your fix.