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NHL Notebook: First two games of Stanley Cup Finals see significant increase in viewership

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Finals
Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
The numbers are in and North Americans are loving the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game 1 between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers drew in 7.1 million viewers across North America, notching an impressive 43 percent increase in year-over-year viewership from the 2023 finals. The numbers, from the NHL, accumulate viewership from ABC, CBC, Sportsnet and TVA broadcasts. It also became the most-watched Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 since 2019 between the Blues and Bruins.
Game 2 of these finals also saw a big increase, climbing 46 percent from last year’s second game, totalling 3.6-million.
News of the increased viewership is excellent for the game of hockey, as the 2023 finals averaged 2.63 million viewers. So far through two games this year, that number is up to 5.35 million.
The NHL’s biggest star, Connor McDavid, being on the centre stage must be helping the case.

Flames name Brad Larsen assistant coach

The Calgary Flames have hired former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen as an assistant coach, the club announced Tuesday.
Larsen comes in joining Ryan Huska’s staff, which saw Marc Savard depart this spring.
“Brad is a great addition to our coaching staff, adding valuable recent experience as an NHL head coach as well as a long-time player,” said Flames general manager Craig Conroy in a statement released by the team Tuesday. “He is a good communicator with a tremendous work ethic and provides a wealth of knowledge having worked in every situation as a coach over the course of his career. We look forward to Brad’s contributions to our team’s success.”
Larsen was out of the NHL last season, after spending the 2021-22 and 2022-23 campaign running the Blue Jackets’ bench. He was promoted after working as an assistant for seven years with the team.
Here’s more on Larsen and the Flames from Daily Faceoff’s Sam Nestler:
Larsen, a British Columbia native, played 294 career NHL games. After being drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round (No. 87) of the 1997 NHL Draft, the winger tallied 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in nine seasons with the Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers. Larsen served as captain for both the Hershey Bears and Portland Pirates in the American Hockey League and won back-to-back gold medals with Canada at the 1996 and 1997 IIHF World Junior Championships.
The Flames have now wrapped up their coaching search and have their staff for the 2024-25 season. Ryan Huska was hired as head coach last summer, while Larsen, Dan Lambert and Cail MacLean will serve as assistants along with goalie coach Jason LaBarbera, video coach Jamie Pringle and video coordinator Andrew Doty.

Hurricanes expected to name Eric Tulsky general manager

More offseason staff shuffling occurred Tuesday, as the Carolina Hurricanes are expected to name Eric Tulsky general manager.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, Tulsky is expected to take over from Don Waddell, whom the club parted ways with so he could pursue a role with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tulsky, who was named interim general manager in Waddell’s wake, has spent the last decade with the Hurricanes, starting in 2014-15 as an analyst, a role he held for three years. He was promoted to director of analytics in 2017-18 holding the role for three years, before being named assistant general manager in 2020-21.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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