NHL Gathers Rare Videos for 100th-Anniversary Website

League launches commemorative site that dips into the archives

2017 is a big year for the NHL, which celebrates its 100th anniversary. As part of the commemoration, it has created a section of its website where it will post highlights from 100 years of league play. Fans can expect profiles of the 100 greatest players, original documentaries, and lots of streamed video. Rare clips will be the core of the site, letting today’s fans see great gameplay from years past and living on as a resource for future hockey enthusiasts.


A special commemorative section of NHL website celebrates the league’s 100th anniversary.

“What we were really trying to accomplish is building a digital hub to house all the content we’re going to be doing over the year,” explains Russell Levine, VP, digital production, NHL. “The point of the website is to build throughout the year an archive — a hub — of the content we’re doing to celebrate our history, and then leave it behind in an organized, searchable, browsable manner.”

Planning for the 100th-anniversary site started years ago and involved many of the league’s departments, including events, communications, and public relations. In the final run-up, the NHL worked with MLB Advanced Media to create the online experience and archive the finished videos. (Under a six-year deal beginning in 2015, MLB Advanced Media has run the NHL’s digital properties, and the hockey league owns a 10% equity stake in BAMTech.)

The site’s first big initiative is naming the 100 greatest players in NHL history, selected by a blue-ribbon panel of long-time hockey writers, broadcasters, and other professionals. The NHL announced the first 33 on Jan. 1 and will name the final 67 during NHL All-Star weekend later this month. Video is a big part of the list, with the NHL’s in-house team of producers creating an original video vignette for each player. As with other parts of the site, the videos play on desktop and mobile and are searchable.

Throughout the year, the NHL will also look back at great moments in league history, creating videos for the most significant entries. This alone should result in more than 200 new pieces of video. Fan participation will determine some of the great moments.

Russell Levine, Vice President of Digital Production, NHL

Russell Levine, VP, digital production, NHL

“In preparing to do this, we realized we have a lot of historical content, some of it great moments already on digital video that were out there but not aggregated in a usable way for fans,” Levine says. “This is a chance for us to aggregate some of those moments so fans can find them and browse them.”

Video for many moments wasn’t available through NHL holdings, so the league has spent years reaching out to a variety of rightsholders and broadcast partners. It has also been brainstorming on how to illustrate great moments when no video is available, perhaps with still photos, game sheets, or other pieces of league history.

As a hockey fan himself, Levine is excited to show fans some great events that haven’t received much exposure. Television distribution was limited in the early days of the NHL, especially in the U.S. Even today, it’s not as wide as the NFL’s. There are plenty of moments from the league’s early years that haven’t been seen extensively.

The NHL will also create two original documentaries this year, one on the Stanley Cup and one on the league’s 100-year history, but Levine isn’t sure yet whether the films or only their trailers will go on the website. Fans should look for the Stanley Cup documentary in the spring around the time of the playoffs.

To promote the year’s celebrations to fans, the NHL will lean heavily on social networks. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all key to the league, and each will get video content tailored for it. The NHL has connected TV apps for the Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation and will soon add a 100th-anniversary channel to all of them.

“For me as a total hockey geek,” Levine says, “the chance to go back and interact with some of this content, whether it’s to get my hands on some of the materials as we’ve done background and research or the chance to try and think about what fans would most want to consume, is meaningful. I’ve spent my whole life choosing to pay attention to hockey, and having the chance to work on how we present this 100 years of history to our fans is a pretty rewarding project.”

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters