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The 2021-2022 NHL season is here. For the first time in two years, the season should start and end on time. The pandemic delayed the 2019-2020 season’s completion, which in turn delayed the start of the next season. But things are more or less back to normal for the NHL now, and there’s even a new team! That’s right: The Seattle Kraken are a real team now, with players and everything. They even have a Zamboni with the Starbucks logo on it, because why not?

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, all of the above means it’s an exciting time to be a hockey fan. It’s also 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 – $79.99 220+ 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.

  • ESPN: Hockey is back on the worldwide leader for the first time since 2004. ESPN has the exclusive rights to 18 games throughout the regular season, but there’s lots more on ESPN Plus, as you’ll see in a moment.
  • ABC: ESPN and ABC are both owned by Disney, so it makes sense that you’ll also see NHL games here. You’ll find 10 regular season games on ABC, including the 2021 Thanksgiving Showdown (which is actually held the day after Thanksgiving) and the 2022 All-Star Game in Las Vegas.
  • TNT: The folks at Turner Sports decided they wanted in on the NHL, too. The upshot is that you’ll be able to watch 50 regular-season games, including all the big outdoor games like the 2022 NHL Winter Classic, the NHL Stadium Series, and the NHL Heritage Classic.
  • NHL Network: The NHL's own network features tons of hockey-related programming and the occasional live game.
  • ESPN Plus: ESPN Plus is impressively invested in hockey for the next few years. How invested is this streaming service? Well, more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be airing on ESPN Plus. ESPN will also be producing 75 ESPN Plus games, and all ABC games will also get simulcast here. ESPN Plus has also absorbed the service formerly known as NHL.TV, which used to be the league-wide streaming service. Nowadays, that distinction belongs to ESPN Plus.
  • Regional Sports Networks (RSNs): Not all NHL games are nationally televised, of course. Many 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 available only 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 use free over-the-air TV, since some games are on ABC, which is an over-the-air channel. Or you could use a skinny bundle that includes channels like ESPN, TNT, 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 ESPN Plus 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 ESPN, ABC, TNT, NHL Network, 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 ESPN and ABC family of networks is here, as is TNT. Unfortunately, NHL Network is not included. Read our review of Hulu + Live TV to learn more. As a bonus, 75 ESPN Plus games will also be simulcast on Hulu.

Stream NHL games for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV is a great choice for sports fans. ABC is here (local broadcasts are available only in some regions, as is the norm for skinny bundles), and so is ESPN and NHL Network. TNT is missing, but RSN coverage is solid. To learn more, read our review of fuboTV.

Stream NHL games with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV does not have ABC, but it does have ESPN and TNT, as well as a decent selection of RSNs, so there will definitely be hockey to watch if you go for this option. 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 an NHL Network livestream.

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). As mentioned above, this service is really ramping things up hockey-wise for the 2021-2022 season. This option works best for fans looking to watch out-of-market games, because local games are subject to blackout restriction. For instance, someone in Seattle can’t watch Kraken games, but they can watch out-of-market teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars. Our guide to sports blackout rules can tell you more about that often confounding topic.

YouTube TV

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

Free Over-the-Air TV

It's worth investing in an antenna if you're an NHL fan. It's very likely that a good antenna will get you ABC 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.

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 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hulu + Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Youtube TV No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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

Gearing up for the 2021-2022 NHL Season

The NHL has a built-in break for the 2022 Winter Olympics this season, but unlike the past couple of years, that should be the only major disruption, and the Winter Olympics are a lot easier to plan for than a pandemic.The regular season is slated to end in April, and if the Tampa Bay Lightning raise a (sigh) third consecutive Stanley Cup, they’ll do so in June. 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.

5 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.

  3. Jae says:

    I’m in the US but want the NHL Canadian feed like I did on NHL.TV last season (20-21). How can I get that for 21-22 season?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Evidently, the writer of the article hasn’t realized that almost all streaming services have dropped the Bally Sports Regional Channels….effectively leaving DirectTV and their huge costs as one of the few ways to watch local hockey.

  5. Joe Friday says:

    It is almost impossible to subscribe to NHL TV. They may offer games not on ESPN but the cost and the amount of work to subscribe are not worth it.

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