Area might get shut out of Game 3 of Stanley Cup

By Tom Jones,Times Staff Writer
Published May 24, 2007

Hockey fans, get ready to blow a gasket. As of Wednesday, Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final set for Saturday June 2 is not scheduled to be shown in the Tampa Bay area.

The game is being shown nationally at 8 p.m. on NBC, but Ch. 8, the local NBC affiliate, will not carry the game because of its annual All Children's Hospital Telethon, which runs from 8:30 p.m. on June 2 to 6 p.m. on June 3.

Ch. 8 program manager Joyce Lueders said she understood why hockey fans might be upset.

"This is very important to them, and we realize that, " Lueders said. "But this is our annual telethon, something we've been doing for 30 years. Hopefully, NBC can find another (carrier)."

That's the only option left. NBC can farm out the broadcast to another independent local station, such as Ch. 32 or 44, but as of late Wednesday, no other agreement had been worked out. The game is more than a week away, so there's time for all of this to be worked out.

But this would be a major embarrassment for the league and NBC if the game is not shown. Ch. 8, however, should not be blamed. It's an important cause and no matter what weekend it chose for the telethon, it would conflict with something. The NHL needs to step in and assist NBC in making a sweet deal with someone to ensure this game is shown in one of the NHL's markets.

Tom Jones, Times staff writer