The NHL 106th regular season starts in North America on Oct. 11-12, 2022! If you’re in the United States and Canada, there are many streaming services available to watch your favorite teams.
However, if you’re in another country, you’ll need a VPN to help you access live stream websites (which are blocked for people outside of the U.S. and Canada).
Here’s how you use a VPN to watch NHL games free online with the CBC:
- Subscribe to a good VPN provider like ExpressVPN. If you want to test out the service, you can sign up for a free trial.
- Download and install your new VPN software.
- Open the app and sign in with the credentials you created at sign-up.
- Connect to a server in Canada.
- Log into or sign up for an account with CBC Gem. The CBC Gem website may ask for a Canadian zip code, which you can easily Google to find one you can use.
- Take your pick of free NHL broadcasts!
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. and Canada — and the National Hockey League (NHL) is watched by many all over the globe.
The 2022-2023 regular season marks the 106th season for NHL. However, ice hockey fans outside the U.S. and Canada might have trouble streaming their favorite local NHL hockey games. Because of distribution rights, only viewers in the U.S. or Canada can watch an NHL live stream.
The good news: with a VPN, you can change your virtual location and live stream NHL games from anywhere in the world. No need to miss any more games! We detail the process below.
How to Stream NHL for Free Online
If you want to watch the NHL, you have three different options: you can watch on your favorite cable channel, subscribe to a streaming service, or use a VPN to watch an NHL live stream for free.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is an official NHL broadcaster in Canada, and it’s free to watch anything in its catalog as long as you have a Canadian IP address and an account on its website. But how do you get a Canadian IP address when you’re not in Canada?
A virtual private network (VPN) masks your real IP address and tricks websites into thinking you have a different one. So when you use a VPN while visiting the CBC website, the website will see a Canadian IP address — and it isn’t going to block you from accessing its content — even if you’re in France or Brazil.
How to use a VPN to watch NHL for free
- Download and install a VPN. Not all VPNs can unblock geographically restricted content or maintain fast speeds while streaming. You can check out our reviews to find a provider that suits you, or go with our recommended ExpressVPN. It checks all the boxes for a fast and reliable VPN provider and its Canadian servers and crosses the goal line. It also comes with a 30-day free trial.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
- Connect to a server in Canada once you’ve installed the VPN software on your device. You’ll automatically get a Canadian IP address.
- Sign up for an account at CBC Gem. The CBC Gem website may ask for a Canadian zip code, such as T3H, E5G, or V5N. You can also easily Google Canadian zip codes to find one you can use.
- Start watching! Every time you want to watch an NHL game, simply fire up your VPN app and go to the CBC Gem website.
Watch NHL: Streaming Services Offering Sports Channels
NHL games are available to stream on several paid platforms, and a few even offer free trials so you can test out their service. If you’ve cut the cable and want to watch hockey online, these platforms have you covered.
Note, however, that these streams will only work for users in the U.S. If you’re in a different country, you’ll need to use a VPN. Just follow the steps above and connect to a server in the United States instead.
|Streaming Service||Channels||Subscription||Free Trial|
|ESPN+||ESPN, ABC (simulcast)||$10/month or $100/year||✖|
|SlingTV (Orange package)||ESPN, TBS, TNT||$35/month||✔|
|YouTube TV||ESPN, ABC, TBS, TNT||$65/month||✔|
|Hulu+ Live||ESPN, ABC, TBS, TNT||$70/month||✔|
In April 2021, the NHL signed a deal with ESPN and Turner Sports (TBS, TNT), which were given exclusive distribution rights to the NHL’s regular season and postseason play. Although ESPN+ doesn’t currently offer a free trial, it does have the cheapest service among all these streaming services for access to NHL hockey. Any games on ABC will be simulcast, while games on TBS and TNT will be delayed.
SlingTV will be the cheapest all-around pick since it offers access to ESPN, TBS and TNT channels for total NHL coverage. To get regional games, though, you’ll need YouTubeTV or Hulu Live TV, and may need a VPN to work around NHL blackouts.
Watch NHL: Cable Channels that Broadcast NHL Games
Most NHL games are available on regional sports networks, but there are nationally-televised games that you’ll need to catch on a cable channel instead.
If you want to watch your favorite hockey games on TV, check out this list of channels that broadcast the NHL depending on which country you’re in. If you’ve already got a subscription to one of these broadcasters, you can use a VPN to access it.
Channels that broadcast the NHL
|ESPN, TNT, TBS, ABC||United States|
|Canal Sports+||France and Spain|
|Viasat Hockey and Nelonen Pro sports channel||Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark|
|Premier Sports (UK) / Setanta 1 & Setanta Ireland||UK and Ireland|
|Fox Sports Middle East and OSN Sports||Middle East|
|Sport 1, Sport 1 US||Germany, Austria, Switzerland|
|Arena Sports||Serbia, Croatia|
|ASN||Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan|
|Sky Sports||New Zealand|
Don’t see your country? Review the NHL’s full list of international broadcast partners.
Watch NHL Live Stream: Channels and Events
We compiled a list of channels in different countries where NHL fans can watch a live stream of hockey games, plus some important upcoming NHL events for the 2021/2022 season.
Upcoming NHL events
|Preseason Start||Sept. 24, 2022|
|Regular Season Start||Oct. 7, 2022|
|Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend||Nov. 11 – 14, 2022|
|NHL Winter Classic||Jan. 2, 2023|
|NHL All-Star Game||Feb. 4, 2023|
|NHL Stadium Series||Feb. 18, 2023|
|NHL Regular Season Ends||April 13, 2023|
|NHL Playoffs Begin||May 2023|
|NHL Playoffs Last Possible Day||June 2023|
|NHL Draft||June, 2023|
When Does the NHL 2022–2023 Season Start?
The 2022/2023 NHL regular season starts on October 7 and 8, 2022 with the Global Series at the 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks face off at 2 pm (ET) on both days. These will be the first NHL games played on European ice since 2019’s pre-pandemic season.
Oct. 11 will mark the North American season start with a nationally televised doubleheader. The New York Rangers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning while reigning champs the Colorado Avalanche will face the Chicago Blackhawks. Both matchups will be broadcast on ESPN.
The Oct. 12 doubleheader, broadcast on TNT, will see the Los Angles Kings face off against the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Washington Capitals going head-to-head with the Boston Bruins.
Prevent NHL Blackouts with a VPN
Sometimes, you can’t watch a hockey game even though you’re in the U.S. and you have a subscription to a channel that broadcasts NHL games. This instance is called a blackout, and the issue has to do with local broadcasting rights.
There are instances where the rights to a certain game are in the hands of a local television station. This happens because they want to push you to watch the hockey game on the local channel instead.
A blackout can be very annoying — but, fortunately, it can be solved with a VPN. The only thing you need to do is connect to a VPN server outside the area of this local television channel and watch local games online with your subscription.
For example, if the blackout is around New York or the Southeast, just connect to a VPN server on the west coast.
The NHL website has a blackout detector, which shows you if you will be the subject of a blackout.
The Best VPN Providers to Watch NHL Online
If you want to watch NHL live games with a VPN, you’ll want to pick a VPN that can handle your streaming activity. A good VPN needs to have fast, stable servers in the U.S and/or Canada, so you can watch without worrying about lags or buffering. It will also need to successfully bypass VPN blocks.
Your VPN provider also needs to have good security in place and be an all-around good VPN. Below you can see some recommended VPN providers for watching the NHL network.
1. ExpressVPN: Premium VPN for watching the NHL worry-free
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers available, providing fast server speeds, easy-to-use apps, and advanced security features.
With a single subscription, you get access to over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, including both the U.S. and Canada. On top of that, ExpressVPN has the highest possible encryption for all its subscription plans. Its software is also user-friendly and very easy to install, as covered by our full review. All this makes ExpressVPN a perfect VPN to watch the NHL.
If you’re looking for anonymity, ExpressVPN is one of the safest VPNs out there. Because it is based out of the British Virgin Islands (a nation with strict privacy regulations), ExpressVPN doesn’t have to retain any data or keep any user logs.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This way you can test out their service by watching hockey online — and if it isn’t to your liking, then you can get your money back, no questions asked.
2. IPVanish: Fast VPN servers for streaming the NHL
IPVanish has possibly the fastest network of servers of all the VPN providers in the market. Their connections are always stable, and a large amount of its many servers is situated in the U.S. or Canada, making the VPN provider ideal for watching the NHL online.
IPVanish also has strong encryption methods, which will ensure your online safety and anonymity.
The downside of IPVanish is that it’s one of the pricier options on the market. In terms of privacy, IPVanish doesn’t have a great track record, as well. Though they claim they don’t keep user logs, they gave user info to American authorities in 2016.
- Fast and stable servers
- Torrenting is possible
- Keeps temporary logs
IPVanish does accept anonymous payment methods, but because of its history, we recommend using ExpressVPN. Don’t discount this VPN just yet, though. It’s a strong contender because of its server speeds. Check out our full review of IPVanish here.
3. VyprVPN: Reliable server speeds for streaming NHL games
For watching your favorite NHL teams, we also recommend VyprVPN. This VPN provider offers fast connection speeds and more than enough servers in the U.S. Overall, VyprVPN is a safe provider that manages its own servers to protect your privacy.
Note that, with this VPN, your subscription can’t be completely anonymous because you have to create an account with your name, email, and bank details. Since there are no anonymous payment methods available (like cryptocurrency), if you’re looking for complete privacy, then you’ll want to consider a no-logs VPN instead.
- Quick servers for a good price
- Netflix and torrenting possible
- Special "Chameleon" technology to protect your data
The good news is that VyprVPN is one of the cheaper VPN services out there and offers a three-day money-back guarantee. Read our extensive VyprVPN review here.
Why Use a VPN?
Apart from bypassing geographical restrictions, VPNs also protect your privacy and anonymize your online activity. No hacker, government, or company can see what you do online or trace it back to you. Plus, with its unblocking capabilities, more websites become available to you.
When you access the internet with a VPN, you connect to one of a server of your choice — and you can often pick a server in your own country or a different one. All your data traffic is rerouted through this server. Moreover, everything is encrypted so nobody can hack into what you are doing.
Because you connect to the internet through this external server, you take on the IP address of that server. Your own IP address will stay hidden, which anonymizes all your online actions.
Thus, with a VPN, you’ll be able to stream NHL live games online that are aired in another country. You can also use VPNs to watch your other favorite sports, including Formula 1, the UFC, the Olympics, College Football, and the FIFA World Cup. But you will also be completely anonymous when doing so — and nobody, not even your internet service provider, will be able to see what you are doing.
Want to know more about streaming NHL games online this season? Read some of the most commonly asked questions and get your questions answered fast.
You can stream NHL games online on several platforms, such as the CBC, ESPN+, YouTubeTV, and SlingTV. However, if you are outside of the United States or Canada, you’ll need a VPN to access NHL live streams. We’ve broken down exactly how to do this in our full NHL streaming guide.
Check out our full NHL streaming guide for a way to watch hockey games for free by using a VPN to access the Canadian Broadcasting Channel website. For online streaming, you can also watch on FuboTV, YouTube TV, or Hulu+ Live — these streaming services offer free trials you can use to watch NHL for free.
ESPN+ will have 1,000 out-of-market games and 75 exclusive games during the regular season. There are 1,312 games scheduled (82 for each team) so while many of the regular season games will be available to stream, not all will be on ESPN+. You’ll also need TNT and TBS.
If you’re trying to watch your local team play, but you’re stuck in a blackout, you can use a VPN to get access to all the games you want to watch. Check out our NHL streaming guide to find out how.
In March 2021, NHL announced a contract with ESPN that allows ESPN+ to stream 1,000 out-of-market games and 75 regular season exclusive games. This eliminated the need for NHL.tv, so it no longer exists. You can watch NHL games online on ESPN+ or streaming providers that offer ESPN, ABC, TNT, and TBS.