The New England Sports Network’s decision to air Boston Red Sox exhibition games has helped enable WABI-TV Channel 5 in Bangor and its partners, The CW and Lewiston’s WPME, to land the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series between the University of Maine and Merrimack College this weekend.
WABI/WPME will air Friday night’s game with the CW and WPME televising Saturday’s game and the Sunday game if necessary.
NESN has exclusivity rights for Hockey East broadcasts but the only league playoff game that will be shown on NESN this weekend will be Saturday’s 4 p.m. game between New Hampshire and Boston University. That will be the second game of their series.
NESN is airing the Red Sox-Pittsburgh Pirates game on Friday night at 7 and the Red Sox-Tampa Bay game on Saturday night.
“It has worked out very well for us,” said Paul Saliwanchik, the creative services and operations director at WABI.
Had NESN decided to air a Friday night game, Saliwanchik said the local TV stations still intended to televise the Saturday night game as well as the if-necessary game on Sunday.
In addition to the Red Sox, NESN also televises most Boston Bruins games.
Saliwanchik said the reason WABI is doing just the Friday night game before switching over to the CW on Saturday and Sunday is because they have “limitations” on the amount of CBS programming that can be pre-empted.
“You have to be careful,” said Saliwanchik.
He said they are pleased to be able to provide TV coverage of the series.
“We’ve televised [regular season] games during the season and we know the viewership is huge,” said Saliwanchik. “So any time we’re in position to go after something like this, we do.
“Hockey East wants the exposure and we’re happy to step up [and provide it].”
Jon Small will handle the play-by-play chores and Mike Tuell will be the color analyst.
The series will also be televised by a new independent station, WBIN-TV, which is based in Derry, N.H., and on the Fox College Sports network.
NESN will televise the Hockey East semifinals and final at the TD Bank Garden in Boston next Friday and Saturday.
WCSH’s Bruce Glasier retiring
Bruce Glasier, who has been a sports anchor at WCSH-TV in Portland and has also served as the sports director during his tenure, will retire after 35 years with the station next month.
He currently shares the anchor duties with Lee Goldberg.
The Portland High School and University of Maine graduate was named the Maine Sportscaster of the Year in 1987. He has earned several other awards including ones handed out by the Maine Association of Broadcasters and The Associated Press.
He was the station’s first weekend newscast sports anchor in 1977.