While it increasingly looks like the NHL season could be lost entirely, as a hockey fan, you need to start looking elsewhere to watch the sport you love. The American Hockey League, the farm teams to the NHL clubs, could be viable option. Below is a review of AHL Live; the AHL’s online video footage of games.
NHL fans familiar with NHL Gamecenter Live will be familiar with the general concept. Like the NHL edition, AHL Live is an online streaming of the AHL’s games. There are four package options ranging from All Access to Single Games. In order of lowest to highest in price, the prices are as follows:
- Single Game: $6.99
- 5 Game Pack: $32.45 ($6.49 a game)
- 10 Game Pack: $59.99 ($5.99 a game)
- Away Pass: $124.99
- Team Pass: $199.99
- All Access: $399.99
The packages, as you would expect, mean what they are titled. Single, Five and Ten game packs are in the specific amounts of games to be viewed. Away Pass allows viewers to watch all away games being that you probably won’t be traveling to watch them in person. Team Pass lets you view one specific team’s whole season. And lastly, All Access brings every home and away game to you your computer for your viewing pleasure.
For the review, I used both an Apple and a Windows based computer using a wireless connection. Further, I connected the computer to an HD-TV by means of an HDMI cable for a larger viewing experience. The game I watched was between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the visiting Rochester Americans.
Purchasing the service is easy. Simply create a login, and once logged in, click the game or package you wish to purchase. Enter your billing information, click submit and you have your hockey.
Pulling up your video to watch is simple enough also. Next to the specific game that you purchased is a “Watch It” button. Once clicked, a new screen pops up and you are watching your game.
The video footage suffices. Although not HD, possible that other games are but not entirely sure, it still was not bad. Once in a while it would freeze for a millisecond, but nothing on a consistent basis and nothing that is awful. To counter this, I moved back later in the feed by about 30 seconds, allowing the computer to load it and then show oppose to it being live.
The video footage was not your typical TV setting and break for commercials. Instead, it was like you were at the game. During breaks in the action you would see what was on the jumbo screen at the game, even the notorious kiss cam. Heck, you even saw the intermission activities on the ice of races, shooting from center ice and such. This game like atmosphere was a really nice feature that current NHL games do not provide. And, it even provided a little more.
Play-by-play was provided by the radio announcers of the game but without the commercial breaks. If you ever wanted to know what was talked about while the announcers are “off the air”, you knew. For this game, one of the announcers was not sick but had that pesky, dry and raspy throat thing going on that was bothering him. Comments about certain players playing abilities, all positive comments actually, were also shared. It truthfully made you feel like you were in a part of the play-by-play team, watching the action, talking about life, and of course, sharing a few laughs.
The angles of viewing were good and you could see the entire action with your traditional angle from the side, zoom in shots of certain aspects like fights, and even replays. Still not big budget stuff, but it was all you needed and even a little more.
AHL Live is not your NHL on NBC normal viewing, but for what it is, a lower level team with play-by-play, replays and video footage of the game, it is a good service. Whether or not $399.99 fits into your budget for every team and every game may be debatable, but either the Team Pass or the Away Pass is not outrageous. For watching the players of tomorrow, or for some who go back and forth between leagues, as well as being able to follow your local market’s farm team, AHL Live provides enough value for the dollar for the hockey fan. It even provides an at the game like experience that the NHL does not have. All things considered, if you are looking for some good hockey to watch in the absence of the NHL, I would recommend maybe buying a game or two and get to know some of the up and coming talent.
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