by Simon Bassett

December 30, 2013 (ISN) – Celebrate the New Year with CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA and two days of coverage from the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) and Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 with programming beginning at 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT).

The regular season outdoor game on Jan. 1st at “The Big House,” (Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan), between Original Six rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings marks the sixth NHL Winter Classic game and the first featuring a Canadian team since 2008.

CBC’s exclusive Canadian coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® begins at 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT) on January 1 with Hockey Tonight live from inside Michigan Stadium with host Ron MacLean and the Studio 42 team featuring P.J. Stock (@PJStockHNIC), Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC), Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) and Andi Petrillo (@andipHNIC) at the Chevrolet I-Desk. Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC) joins MacLean during the first intermission for Coach’s Corner presented by Budweiser.

Game coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) as the visiting Maple Leafs take on the Red Wings in front of an expected crowd of more than 107,000 spectators. Jim Hughson handles the play-by-play duties and is joined in the broadcast booth by analyst Craig Simpson (@HNICSimmer) as well as ice-level analyst Glenn Healy who provides added insight from between the benches with Scott Oake (@ScottOake) reporting.

One day earlier at Comerica Park in Detroit, the history of the two Winter Classic franchises will be on full display as legendary Toronto and Detroit players go head-to-head in two 2013 Molson Canadian NHL Winter Classic Alumni Games. With historic NHL franchises such as these, it takes two games to properly celebrate the players who’ve shaped the fortunes of each team and CBC has exclusive Canadian coverage of both games beginning at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on December 31.

Viewers across the country can connect with CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’s coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® online at CBCSports.ca/HockeyNightInCanada, through Twitter (@hockeynight) and Instagram using #WinterClassic, Facebook and Pinterest. Fans can also stay up-to-date with the Hockey Night in Canada app for iOS, Windows 8, Blackberry 10 and Android as well as via Xbox and Google Currents.

Also on January 1, the winner of the Hockey Night in Canada Song Quest contest will be revealed during coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA teamed up with CBCMusic.ca to find Canada’s next great hockey song and received nearly 1000 entries. The list was narrowed to 50 semifinalists and then 10 finalists who were voted on by Canadians at CBCMusic.ca/SongQuest. The winner will record a studio version of their song with Canadian rocker Joel Plaskett to be featured in a pre-game montage on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. In addition, the winner will perform their song live as part of a Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada concert in Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan in mid-January.

As Canada’s official broadcaster of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, CBC will have the national video debut of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) new promotional campaign during coverage of the 2013 Molson Canadian NHL Winter Classic Alumni Games and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on January 1 on CBC-TV and at CBCSports.ca.

CBC’s hockey coverage on January 1 will be bookended by Olympic-themed special programming. At 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT), prior to Hockey Tonight, CBC will broadcast the network original 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary Defending Gold: The Making of Team Canada, chronicling the Canadian men’s ice hockey team selection process. The special includes exclusive unfettered access to the ‘war room’ where general manager Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada leadership openly and honestly discuss which NHL stars to select for the team that will represent Canada at Sochi 2014.

The second special, Road to the Olympics, follows the live hockey coverage on CBC. This one-hour preview special details Canada’s Olympic preparations and introduces the key athletes and storylines that CBC will follow throughout the Games. Host Scott Russell takes a look at Canada’s defending gold medallists, including Sidney Crosby, Kaillie Humphries and Alexandre Bilodeau and their quest to build on their impressive showings in Vancouver. Viewers will meet Olympic commentators and analysts as they discuss stories from their disciplines and introduce medal hopefuls like Patrick Chan, Kaya Turski and Mark McMorris. The special also includes an inside look at making the team in Olympic hockey and curling, and an intimate off-the-ice portrait of speed skating superstars Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais.

An Olympic-inspired version of Canadian recording superstar Maestro Fresh Wes’ hit song “Reach for the Sky” will be included in Road to the Olympics. Originally released on Maestro’s most recent album Orchestrated Noise, the song was re-recorded with lyrics inspired by the athletes’ journey and their perseverance and dedication to their sport. Performed by Maestro Fresh Wes and featuring Blue Rodeo and Classified, it will debut in the one-hour special and will also be heard during coverage of Sochi 2014 as the soundtrack of a montage on Olympic Primetime with host Ron MacLean. In addition, CBCMusic.ca will feature a blog post by Maestro Fresh Wes in which he discusses his inspiration for the re-write and how it fits with the Olympic theme.

CBC’s New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day sport broadcast schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013

  • 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) – 2013 Molson Canadian NHL Winter Classic Alumni Games

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014

  • 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT) – Defending Gold: The Making of Team Canada
  • 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT) – Hockey Tonight
  • 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) – 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®: Toronto at Detroit
  • 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) – Road to the Olympics

*All games also available live online at CBCSports.ca