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The 2020-2021 NHL season is upon us — or perhaps we should say the “2021” season, since this year’s unusual scheduling has put every game in the same year. Whatever you want to call it (the league itself is sticking with “2020-2021”), this season began in January 2021 and is slated to wrap up in July. That means that it’s high time for cord-cutters to figure out how to watch the NHL without cable. Luckily, we have lots of ways to watch the NHL online and over the air, no cable required. We have everything you need to know below!

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NHL games:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$69.99 – $139.99 65+ None

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$64.99 – $33.00 220+ 7 days

See Offer

$35 – $50 30+ – 130+ 3 days

See Offer

$6.99 – $13.99 N/A None

See Offer

What Channels Have NHL Hockey?

Most of the methods to watch NHL hockey online will be streaming services that offer live network TV channels over the internet. But in order to find the ones that have the best hockey coverage, we will first need to know which channels air NHL hockey! Let's run down the list.

  • NBC – This major network is home to some of the biggest hockey matchups of the year, including most of the Stanley Cup Finals games and the Winter Classic. The Winter Classic didn’t happen in 2021 because of the pandemic, but it’s still worth mentioning because it’s outdoor hockey!
  • NBCSN – The most sporty member of the NBC family of channels is your best bet for regular nationally televised hockey games all season long.
  • NHL Network – The NHL's own network features tons of hockey-related programming and the occasional live game.
  • ESPN Plus – ESPN now includes a stand-alone streaming service. It doesn’t include a stream of the main ESPN network, but it does include numerous NHL games. You still won’t find hockey on the main ESPN series of networks (at least not yet), but you can find it here.
  • Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) – Not all NHL games are nationally televised, of course. Most games air only regionally in the markets of the home and away teams. You'll find your local team's games on a regional sports network, or “RSN.” Many live TV streaming services include a selection of RSNs like MSG, NBC Sports Philadelphia, Fox Sports Southwest, and AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. RSNs are typically only available in their usual markets (skinny bundles use your IP address to figure out if you’re eligible).

How to Watch NHL Games Online and Over the Air Without Cable

There are a few basic ways to watch NHL games without cable. You could opt for the NHL's own streaming service, NHL.TV. You could use free over-the-air TV, since some games are on NBC, which is an over-the-air channel. Or you could use a skinny bundle that includes NBC, NBCSN, and/or your local RSN.

What's a skinny bundle? Well, it's a cable-like package of live TV channels. Only a skinny bundle is a streaming service, not a traditional cable or satellite service. There's lots of competition, low prices, and support for just about any streaming device that you could dream of. These are also known as live TV streaming services.

If that sounds good, then you'll love the first few items on our list. Once we've gotten through the skinny bundles, we'll discuss NHL.TV and over-the-air TV, too. Here's how to watch NHL games online and over the air, no cable required.

Stream NHL games for free with DIRECTV Stream

Try It

Hockey is easy to watch with DIRECTV Stream. AT&T's live TV streaming service offers NBC, NBCSN, and a solid selection of regional sports networks. Check out our full review of DIRECTV Stream to learn more about what you can watch with the service.

Stream NHL games for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + Live TV has a clunkier name than most of its rivals, but it offers very similar perks. The NBC family of networks is here. As of this writing, NHL Network is not included. Read our review of Hulu + Live TV to learn more.

Stream NHL games for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV is a great choice for sports fans. NBC's networks are all here (local broadcasts are available only in some regions, as is the norm for skinny bundles), and RSN coverage is solid. The NHL Network is included, too. To learn more, read our review of fuboTV.

Stream NHL games with Sling TV

Try It

As of this writing, Sling TV offers NBC in a few markets. If you live in a city like Boston or Philadelphia, you’ll be able to watch NHL games that air on NBC. On top of that, Sling also offers NBCSN and a decent selection of RSNs, so there will definitely be hockey to watch if you sign up. Combine Sling TV with free over-the-air TV (which we discuss in this article, too), and you'll have a cost-effective way to watch NHL games without cable. And Sling TV is worth it to hockey fans for another reason: Unlike most skinny bundles, Sling TV offers NHL Network.

Stream NHL games with ESPN+

Try It

ESPN Plus is more than just the place where Peyton Manning goes around and hangs out with other football players (and occasionally David Letterman). This streaming service’s live sports offerings included more games than ever in 2021, and it’s really going to ramp things up in the 2021-2022 season. This option works best for fans looking to watch out-of-market games, because local games are subject to blackout restrictions.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is Google's skinny bundle service, and it makes a great way to watch NHL games online without cable. YouTube TV offers a wealth of great live channels, including NBC and NBCSN livestreams. While it unfortunately doesn’t offer NHL Network, YouTube TV does have some RSNs.

Free Over-the-Air TV

NBC has the rights to the NHL's national broadcasts. For the most part, they keep those broadcasts on NBC Sports, but the games that do find their way over to NBC's flagship station are a big deal. NBC airs big matchups on Wednesdays during the regular season, and the main NBC channel also offers playoff games and Stanley Cup Finals games. It's worth investing in an antenna if you're an NHL fan. It's very likely that a good antenna will get you NBC broadcasts for free over the air, though availability will depend on where you live. If an antenna doesn't work for you, check out your live TV streaming options instead.

NHL.TV

NHL.TV is the NHL's league-wide streaming service. It works in much the same way as MLB TV or NBA League Pass: you'll get live home and away broadcasts for all out-of-market regular-season games. If you want to root for your local team or watch a national broadcast (like the ones on NBC Sports), you're out of luck, but NHL.TV is a great solution for fans living outside of their favorite team's local market. NHL.TV has a single-team subscription option. You can read our review of NHL.TV to learn more.

Can I Watch NHL Games Without Cable on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast?

You can absolutely watch the NHL on a variety of devices. This isn’t the ‘90s; you don’t have to choose between watching hockey on TV or not watching it at all. Staying at home might be the most relaxing way to watch a fast-paced sport like hockey, but you have other choices if you’re on the go. Check out the chart below for an in-depth dive into your options.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web/
browser
DIRECTV Stream
Hulu + Live TV
fuboTV
Sling TV
Youtube TV

ESPN Plus will also work with all the options on the chart.

Gearing up for the 2020-2021 NHL Season

The NHL typically crowns a champion in June, but in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in that. In 2021, the NHL also worked with a tightly compressed schedule that forced a lot of teams to play lots of games in a short time frame. Luckily, the 2021-2022 is shaping up to be more of a return to normalcy. Among other things, the Seattle Kraken will be joining the league as it’s 32nd team. It’s going to be a big year for hockey, and you don’t need cable to take in all the goals, hits, and, of course, penalty minutes! Grab a live TV streaming service and get in on the action.

2 thoughts on “How to Watch NHL Games Online

  1. Kevin says:

    For services like NHL.TV, which only provide out-of-market games (because why would you want to watch your home team?), there is a way around their BS.

    There are a number of basically VPN services, which allow you to access your home team games (home and away). I use YonderTV but there are lots of them. I think I pay like $4 for 3 months or something like that.

  2. elizasdan767 says:

    I don’t know how to watch free but for few $ you can watch it on ScreenVariety. There you can watch that game without any blackouts or some other popups.

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