The Chicago Blackhawks started a live broadcast of their morning skate on their website on Friday.
The broadcast will be carried on the Blackhawks website as well as on official Blackhawks.com apps for various mobile devices.
Some players and coaches wore microphones during the skate, including Patrick Kane who tweeted about it ahead of this morning's skate.
No team has ever had a broadcast like this, largely because very little actually happens at a morning skate; it is largely a prelude to player access in the locker room for media members. Players spend an hour or less on the ice generally working on some individual drills with coaches.
They will often work as units as well, perfecting power play or penalty killing techniques. They have gotten a bit more notice in recent years thanks in part to fantasy hockey, as the first goalie off the ice at the skate is generally the starter that night.
Often, a morning skate will use the same line combinations a coach is planning on using that night, another piece of information that could be interesting to the most diehard fans.
Players generally don't wear jerseys with numbers or names during the skate, but in this case, the team has added those identifying characteristics to the skate practice jerseys.
The Blackhawks radio play-by-play voice Mike McConnell hosted the broadcast and he was joined by other members of the Blackhawks broadcast teams like Troy Murray and Ed Olczyk to discuss details of the game, the season and the team while the skate goes on in the background. It almost had the feeling of an extended pregame show without the normal visuals of talking heads sitting behind a desk.
The broadcast was also interspersed with pre-taped interviews with various members of the team talking about morning skates and the season.
It is an interesting experiment to be sure, and the internet allows the Blackhawks to provide more access to their fans at minimal cost, but is it access anyone will actually take advantage of? After all, there is a reason teams don't sell tickets to morning skate, it is a half speed, half effort equivalent of the morning cup of coffee to an NHL team.
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