What are the NHL Blackouts in Canada and how can I remove them?

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I always imagine my favourite time of the year as an NHL ice hockey fan living in Canada would be watching my local team’s first faceoff of the new season. Now if you’re like me and over the last couple of years have decided to cut the cord from your cable company to save that hard-earned money this can be very difficult. This is down to the NHL and the restrictions they put in place called NHL Blackouts. So imagine you’ve purchased your NHL Live subscription and have installed the app onto your device, you sit down to watch the game you’ve waited all day to watch, but when you turn it on you’re denied access because of the NHL Blackout restriction. It’s not only Canada that’s affected by these blackouts in the US they’re affected also through ESPN+. For more information on NHL blackouts in the US, you can find my other article here. So you’re probably wondering what are these NHL Blackouts in Canada? and how can I remove them? In this post, I’m going to answer the basic questions and tell you a very easy way in removing these blackouts so you can enjoy your NHL Live, TSN and Sportsnet NOW subscription to its fullest.

Why are there NHL Blackouts?

Blackouts in Canada are put in place to make customers purchase expensive cable packages. They do this by blacking out the team you want to watch. The cable companies which have inflated prices purchase exclusive broadcasting rights for local teams and force fans to buy cable to watch their favourite team. These annoying tactics are done by the cable companies to gain more money out of your wallet and increase their profits even further.

What is the NHL blackout policy in Canada and how do they blackout a game in my area?

The NHL Blackouts in Canada are decided by a set of broadcasting rules that are set up by Out-of-Market, In-Market NHL and National games. But what do these mean I hear you ask? Well according to the NHL live’s FAQ page on blackouts:

National games are broadcast across Canada so the concept of out-of-market / in-market does not apply to those games. Out-of-market vs. in-market only applies to Regional games. Outside of a team’s local territory, the right to broadcast Regional games is considered an “Out-of-Market” (OOM) broadcast right

  • For example, A Toronto Maple Leaf fan that lives in Vancouver would be considered out-of-market for Leaf games

Within a team’s local territory, the right to broadcast Regional games is considered an “In-Market” broadcast right

  • For example, A Toronto Maple Leaf fan that lives in Toronto would be considered in-market for Leaf games

All very confusing isn’t it? Well, these regional blackouts according to the NHL are a mandate of the NHL, designed to cultivate and protect a team’s home market. Every team in the NHL has a number of “regional” games–which are sold by the team to a regional broadcaster and are available only to those in a team’s broadcast region–and “national” games, which are available for anyone to watch from coast-to-coast.”

So how do these blackouts work?

So the blackouts in Canada only apply to in-market NHL games. National games and out-of-market games are not subject to these blackouts and the NHL will apply blackouts on a viewer based on four criteria:

  1. The region where a fan is when they view a live NHL game
  2. The NHL team or teams that are considered in-market for that region
  3. Whether the fan is attempting to view a game involving the in-market team(s) for that region
  4. Whether the game they are attempting to watch is a regional game or a national game

So if you’re trying to watch an in-market game you will only be able to access that game on the local broadcaster that owns the TV rights to that game.

The map below taken from the NHL Live website shows the depiction of the broadcast territories for all seven Canadian teams:

So is there a way for me to bypass these restrictions?

Luckily yes! Using a device like the StreamLocator Hub Not only does the StreamLocator Hub support NHL Live which allows you to remove all blackouts on your subscription automatically it also allows you to change location in your TSN and Sportsnet NOW app allowing you to bypass the blackouts on these platforms! Sounds good, doesn’t it?

The image below shows my StreamLocator portal set to another region allowing me to bypass the blackouts on TSN and Sportsnet NOW. In total there are 4 regions you can choose to bypass so you will never miss a game!

The Step by Step guide to bypassing NBA Canadian Blackouts:

Step 1: Purchase a StreamLocator Hub:

Rather than relying on VPN services, which make your streaming more complicated for you to install and use, we suggest ordering a StreamLocator Hub. Our service provides access to many sports services including DAZN US, CA and Germany, NHL Live, MLB TV and EPSN +. This altogether gets you every MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL game without any blackouts or restrictions for a fraction of the price of cable TV. StreamLocator is also a better alternative than a VPN as the StreamLocator Hub does not slow down your internet speed when streaming. Low latency and fast download speeds are especially important for streaming live sports!

Step 2: Connecting your devices

Once receiving the StreamLocator Hub, you can set up and connect your devices to the “StreamLocator” WiFi network. After connecting, sign in to your StreamLocator account from there you should be able to see the relocation settings for TSN and Sportsnet now. If you’re using these platforms make sure you choose a location outside your area. NHL Live is automatically relocated for you so you do not need to change location.

Step 3: Install NHL Live, TSN or Sportsnet NOW apps for your devices

Once you have chosen your choice of service for watching the NHL in Canada you can install the app you need on streaming devices like your Fire TV, Apple TV, Smart TV or mobile devices such as Android/iOS phones and tablets.

Ask our experts at support@streamlocator.com for instructions for your devices.

Step 4: Sign up for NHL Live, TSN or Sportsnet NOW

After connecting your devices to the StreamLocator wifi network, visit NHL live - You can buy a monthly pass for $29.99/month, a full season pass at $179.99 (or $159.99 if you get it in time to qualify for the early bird price), or the out-of-market French package ($53.99/season). The easiest way to pay is by downloading the app and then using the in-app payment option on your device through Google Play or Apple App Store.

For TSN - it has 3 tiers of subscription: a day pass at $7.99, a month pass at $19.99, and a 6-month pass for $99.95..

Sportsnet NOW - has 2 subscription tier options. SN NOW and SN NOW+. The SN NOW+ option grants access to the regional NHL games covered by blackouts, so if you need that, you’ll pay a premium. That said, with StreamLocator, you don’t need to, so the standard subs could cover all the action you need. SN NOW+ offers a 7-day pass for $9.99, a monthly pass at $34.99, and a yearly pass at $20.83/month. SN NOW doesn’t have a 7-day pass; its monthly passes will set you back $19.99, and its yearly pass only $12.50 US/month. For subscribers having issues paying for Sportsnet NOW via credit card, switch over to the Canadian Apple App or Google Play store.

Step 5: Watch the NHL without any NHL blackouts in Canada!

The StreamLocator Hub allows you to access every single NHL game throughout the season without having to worry about the NHL Blackouts in Canada. By signing up for the StreamLocator subscription service, you will be able to watch everything available to NHL Live, TSN or Sportsnet NOW with ease.

Well, there you go! Hopefully, by now you will have an understanding of what are NHL blackouts are in Canada and how you can get around them with the StreamLocator Hub.