CBS Sports Network Aims To Capture Atmosphere of College Hockey

Ross Molloy, VP of remote production at CBS Sports Network, loves a wild, raucous college hockey rink on a Friday night. When CBS Sports Network drops the puck on its ninth season of college-hockey coverage tonight — No. 3 Denver battles No. 1 Boston College at 7:30 p.m. ET — Molloy hopes the viewer feels the same passionate energy he does.

“We’re really trying to have viewers get a great experience of what each building is all about,” says Molloy. “For college hockey and for our network, we have picked games that we know will be sold out.

“Every venue has its own challenges as far as how TV integrates,” he adds, “but I think buildings are more and more apt to finding places and making things work, so we can show people how this is the place to be on a Friday night. We just want people to know how wild a college hockey game can be and how great the fans are.”

This season’s college-hockey programming includes a slate of 23 games showcasing the nation’s top teams. The network will cover games from all the major conferences, including Hockey East, CCHA, WCHA, ECAC, and Atlantic Hockey contests.

College-hockey productions on CBS Sports Network will feature seven manned cameras — up one camera from a year ago — as well as a stash of GoPro cameras that Molloy says could be positioned anywhere in the building, from the benches to hallways to locker rooms.

“The thing about college hockey that has been great for us in eight-plus years,” he says, “is that the partners are so open to trying new things.”

That proved true last season when Molloy and his team experimented with broadcasting pregame shows from on-site and splitting up the play-by-play announcers (in the booth) and analysts (between the benches). Both features were successful and will be a part of the network’s coverage again this season.

“What we like about [doing our pregame shows on-site] is that we can really home in on the conference we’re doing that night,” says Molloy, adding that packages, highlights, and interviews with former players will be used to spotlight that night’s conference. “I think that’s a terrific thing for the conferences themselves to have a home and a voice the night that we come in.”

CBS Sports Network uses all-HD mobile units for its college-hockey coverage, deploying trucks from NEP, NCP, and Mobile Mansion. Veteran analyst Dave Starman returns for his ninth year calling college hockey for the network. Analyst Jim Paradise and play-by-play announcers Matt McConnell, Eric Frede, and Ben Holden also return. Shireen Saski serves as rink-side reporter and intermission host.