Leading into Hockey Week in America, NBC will air three hours of hockey programming this Sunday, beginning with a 2020 Hockey Day in America special at 12 p.m. ET that will be a collection of feature stories from NBC Sports’ day-long broadcast last month.
Feature stories that will air on NBC include:
• U.S. Pond Hockey Championships – This year marks the 15th anniversary of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, the ultimate event in grassroots hockey. This year’s tournament featured 300 teams and 2,400 players, including a team with an intercontinental flair, and a Nashville-based squad that recruited a player in a pinch via Instagram.
• Nashville Sled Preds – United States Marines Ben Maenza, Joseph Woodke, and John Curtin met while recovering from serious injuries sustained in the line of duty in Afghanistan. After leaving Walter Reed Military Hospital and going their separate ways, Joseph and John moved to Nashville to bring the group back together. The trio fully committed to sled hockey playing for the Nashville Sled Preds and have gone from novices in the sport to Paralympic hopefuls. From the hospital bed to the elite ranks of American sled hockey, the men share a bond that looks a lot more like family than close friends.
• Katie Guay, Kelly Cooke, Kirsten Welsh, and Kendall Hanley – Katie Guay, Kelly Cooke, Kirsten Welsh, and Kendall Hanley have played hockey their entire lives and after college, they weren’t ready to hang up their skates. All four turned to officiating, and in September, became the first women to officiate an NHL-affiliated event at the preseason NHL rookie tournaments. Most recently, they officiated the Women’s U.S. vs. Canada 3-on-3 game as part of the NHL All-Star Skills. As Katie, Kelly, Kirsten, and Kendall seek further opportunities for themselves, they also hope to inspire young girls along the way.
• Saywer and Sim Seidl – In 2009, Steve and Molly Seidl adopted two brothers, Sawyer and Simon, then ages 5 and 3, from an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After settling in their new home of Stillwater, Minnesota, the boys began to play hockey, garnering attention with skills few would have anticipated. While this hockey family has dealt with some unwelcome attention due to the color of Sawyer and Simon’s skin, that has not affected their passion and love for the game. In fact, it’s motivated them to push forward. The brothers hope to be an example for others, removing labels and barriers to allow everyone an opportunity to play.
• Black Girl Hockey Club – At the beginning of the 2018 NHL season, Renee Hess founded the Black Girl Hockey Club to create a comfortable atmosphere for black women to watch hockey games together. Hess became interested in hockey years ago when she ran into a crowd of excited Penguins fans following a game when she was in Pittsburgh for work. She was hooked after attending her first game but couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t a lot of people like her in the stands. Hess found a handful of other black female hockey fans on Twitter and they created a group – the Black Girl Hockey Club – where they could discuss the sport and meet in-person at games across the country. With membership now exceeding 200, they are focused on building awareness as proud members of the hockey community.
• “Capalbo Stronger,” One Year Later – Last year, NBC Sports shared the story of Charlie and Will Capalbo, goalies and brothers from Fairfield, Conn. Charlie was in his second battle with cancer and this time he needed a bone marrow transplant. His brother, Will, would be the match but there was no guarantee of success. Charlie is now in remission, and NBC Sports went with Charlie and his family for a bucket list trip to the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, and later to a local rink to see the brothers take the ice together, just like old times.
• El Paso Strong, Part II – Hockey has always had a way of bringing people together by transcending cultures, nations, and borders. In the fall, NBC Sports visited a junior hockey team in El Paso, Texas to see the positive impact the El Paso Rhinos were making in their city following the tragic Walmart shooting in August. In this new feature, NBC Sports spotlights how hockey took root – and now thrives – in this non-traditional market. And like many homegrown stories in Texas, this one starts in a barn.
As we wait for the NHL to return, NBC Sports will be filling your hockey fix next week with Hockey Week in America on NBCSN. We’ll be reliving some of the top games and moments from the last decade, including Stanley Cup clinchers, Game 7 overtime thrillers, outdoor games, Olympic hockey moments, and the very best of the Sidney Crosby–Alex Ovechkin rivalry.
NBCSN will feature 12 hours of hockey programming from March 23 through March 26 from 3 p.m. ET – 3 a.m. ET with each night focusing on a specific theme. From March 27 through March 29, NBCSN will showcase seven hours of hockey programming in primetime from 8 p.m. ET – 3 a.m. ET.
Here are themes for each day of Hockey Week in America:
• Monday, March 23: Game 7 overtime thrillers
• Tuesday, March 24: Notable playoff rivalry games
• Wednesday, March 25: NHL outdoor games
• Thursday, March 26: Stanley Cup Final clinching games
• Saturday, March 28: Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin playoff showdowns
• Sunday, March 29: Game 7 overtime thrillers
More information and a full schedule of Hockey Week in America can be found here.