Hockey fans who have been starved for the better part of four months enjoyed a long-awaited celebration on Saturday as the NHL finally kicked off their "2012-13" season after a lockout that lasted 113 days and forced the cancellation of 1020 games.
But fans who ordered the NHL GameCenter, the league's live-streaming online service available on a bevy of platforms, were met with yet another obstacle between them and their beloved game.
The service has not been made available for either live games or archived content and the NHL's official Twitter account issued this tweet responding to unhappy customers just before their 7 pm slate of games began:
We know you're having issues with GameCenter and elements of NHL.com. We're working hard to fix & thank you for your patience!— NHL (@NHL) January 19, 2013
This comes on the heels of an agreement with the NHL and Microsoft to make NHL GameCenter available to stream on Xbox 360 consoles. It is also available on Playstation 3, most mobile devices, Roku, iPhones and iPads.
Naturally, frustration has not been in short supply for hockey fans looking to get their fix. Many took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, on a day they assumed would be largely about trying to forget the lockout ever happened.
Hope it doesn't take 113 days to fix GameCenter @nhl— Pension Plan Puppets (@mlse) January 19, 2013
Anyone else having technical issues with the new NHL Gamecenter Live? Eternal "loading", bad layout. Why fix something that isn't broken?— Allan Walsh (@walsha) January 19, 2013
Despite the discounted price of $49.99 for the season-- down roughly 40 percent for the remainder of the season from the usual full-season price of $189.99-- the application was not ready to go at the start of the league's schedule.
Some have even started resorting to applying for a refund through the NHL's Technical Support page.
GAMECENTER REFUND: link.nhl.com/link3/gcl/gcl-… … Problem Category: Billing Questions. Then just say you want to cancel & a full refund— Angharad (@Darahgna) January 19, 2013
If four months of quibbling over percentages and a half-hearted apology in every NHL city's major daily publication wasn't enough of a blemish on the NHL's record, they seem to be sustaining another black eye on the first day of the new season.
(photo courtesy of @HoldenCalgary)
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NHL gamecenter is waste of 50 bucks when it does work its laggy and constantly has to buffer, customer suppprt is nowhere to be found you will be better off soaking that 50 in gasoline and using it to keep you warm for a night.
Boy, the NHL just keeps making it harder and harder to be a fan! Endless quibbling over how to divvy up the money in my pocket (should I choose to spend it), but I guess in the end I'm still the sucker. I gave in and decided to subscribe to NHL Gamecenter Live on "opening" day, figuring $50 was a sufficient deal to bring me off of my intended fan-boycott of the season, but what did I get? I was able to stream some games through my Apple TV (3), but only in SD resolution with mono-radio audio! I switched between a handful of games and team broadcasts with no change in quality. Then I thought I might get better results on another device, like my Win8 laptop, Macbook Pro or iPad, but I couldn't even get the website to load on any of them! I tried the live-chat support, but it was closed. I called the toll-free support number and sat on hold for 15 minutes without talking to someone ( listening to the inane and self-serving recorded messages), so I gave up there. I couldn't even get the email support page to load until this morning! Looks like NHL.com and the league have taken a couple too many pucks to the collective melon and can't even get basic delivery of their product right! Sigh.. when does MLS soccer start up again?
Playstation is such a joke. Why offer NHL Gamecenter if they aren't going to be prepared for the opening day and make their current Gamecenter app incompatible with the 2013 season? I'm starting to think paying for Xbox Live is worth it.
Welcome to launch day for an internet-based product. I suppose, to look at this in a perversely positive manner, this does mean that enough people wanted to use the system that the NHL wasn't ready for all of them. The question is, what that number of people might have been.