April 24, 2018

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CBC shut out: Jets games only available on Sportsnet

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette</p><p>The public broadcaster CBC will be airing Toronto Maple Leafs playoff games this week, but not the Winnipeg Jets games. The Jets and the Maple Leafs are the only Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs. Jets fans will have to watch their team on Sportsnet.</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The public broadcaster CBC will be airing Toronto Maple Leafs playoff games this week, but not the Winnipeg Jets games. The Jets and the Maple Leafs are the only Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs. Jets fans will have to watch their team on Sportsnet.

There are only two Canadian hockey teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs — the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished a respectable third in the Atlantic Division, and the Winnipeg Jets, who finished the NHL season second overall and many think are bracing for a deep post-season run.

So guess what team the country’s public broadcaster will be showcasing once the playoffs begin this week?

Brace yourselves, whiteout-mad Winnipeg fans. You may be seeing red.

When the Jets begin only their second playoff series in the team’s 2.0 history Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild, CBC will be airing the Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins matchup instead.

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There are only two Canadian hockey teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs — the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished a respectable third in the Atlantic Division, and the Winnipeg Jets, who finished the NHL season second overall and many think are bracing for a deep post-season run.

So guess what team the country’s public broadcaster will be showcasing once the playoffs begin this week?

Brace yourselves, whiteout-mad Winnipeg fans. You may be seeing red.

When the Jets begin only their second playoff series in the team’s 2.0 history Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild, CBC will be airing the Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins matchup instead.

The following night, CBC viewers will be able to watch the Maple Leafs take on the Bruins in Boston.

Jets fans will have to get their viewing fix from Rogers Sportsnet, which, if not part of their regular cable package, costs roughly $10 more per month.

In fact, CBC plans to air the Leafs’ entire opening-round best-of-seven playoff series.

So why does the "Centre of Universe" get all the airtime?

The Crown corporation said the call was made by Sportsnet, which is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. The media empire, which purchased national NHL broadcast rights in a 12-year, $5.2-billion deal in 2013, extended a sub-licensing agreement with CBC last December.

"CBC and Sportsnet have a great partnership and, as I’m sure you can appreciate, it’s important for both networks to carry a series with a Canadian team playing," Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs for CBC English services, said in an email.

Thompson did not answer whether CBC had pushed Sportsnet to get both Canadian teams on its screens.

Sportsnet weighs "numerous factors" in crafting the NHL playoff schedule, according to spokeswoman Sarah Grossman.

"With two series featuring Canadian teams in the first round, the decision was made that Sportsnet and CBC would each have the opportunity to broadcast one of those two series. Winnipeg is a key priority for Sportsnet and Sportsnet is thrilled to be broadcasting the entire Jets series to Canadians from coast-to-coast."

Those who stick with CBC will at least get to see Sidney Crosby and the two-time defending champion Penguins.

The office of federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who oversees the CBC, said the Crown corporation is autonomously operated. "Our government will always support the independence of our public broadcaster," spokesman Simon Ross wrote in response.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 9:38 PM CDT: Updates headline

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