SBD/February 26, 2014/Media

Special Footage From Sochi Highlights Olympic-Themed "NHL Revealed" Episode



NHL COO John Collins and former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg declined to add to the growing debate over the merits of NHL players participating in future Olympics, but they were willing to share their delight over the footage obtained at the Sochi Games for the two-part episode of “NHL Revealed,” which premieres tomorrow night at 8:00pm ET on CBC and at 10:00pm on NBCSN. “This is new, fertile ground,” said Collins. “Commissioner Bettman made it a priority to figure out how we could best leverage the Olympic platform. "NHL Revealed" became a big part of that.” Greenburg, the Exec Producer of the show, said he was surprised by the access granted by all 12 of the national teams competing in the Olympic hockey tournament. The NHL negotiated additional credentials, working space and access in its agreement with the IOC and IIHF to send players to Sochi, but this went above and beyond. “I was dumbfounded,” said Greenburg. “I had some trepidation because of security issues and the tight restrictions that are on media at the Olympics, but the federations and the national teams really opened up to us. They gave us the opportunity to go on the ice during practice and to mike players. We got to film at the Canadian House and the Swedish House. We were everywhere we wanted to be.” Collins and Greenburg credited the league’s network partners, along with the coaches and players, for the cooperation and access. “Without a great relationship with NBC and CBC -- Olympics rightsholders and partners of ours -- this show doesn’t get off the ground,” said Collins. Greenburg added, “It also helped that we had built up trust with people like (U.S. coach) Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby and Teemu Selanne during the first three episodes, before we all went to Sochi.”

SELANNE, TAVARES FEATURED THIS WEEK: Selanne’s final Olympics with Team Finland are covered closely in this week’s episode. So is the knee injury sustained by Islanders C John Tavares, which will sideline him for the rest of the NHL season. In addition to the crews in Sochi, one of Greenburg’s crews happened to be at Islanders practice on Long Island on the day of the incident. While Kings RW Dustin Brown played for the U.S., “NHL Revealed” filmed his wife and their four children watching the games at their home in Ithaca, N.Y. When the players flew to Russia for the Olympics and home to North America to resume the NHL season, the show had crews on all of the flights. “NFL Films has done hundreds of hours every year of this kind of programming for the last 50 years,” said Collins. “There’s a voracious appetite for it. We’re really just beginning at the NHL. Our players come off amazingly well and they embrace being part of the content. They know it appeals to the die-hard hockey fan and the casual fan. Programming is marketing.” The series concludes with an episode premiering on March 5 and the finale on March 12. Coors Light is the title sponsor of the show in the U.S., while Gatorade serves the role in Canada.
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