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How to bypass NHL blackouts on ESPN+ and NHL.tv


The 2023-2024 NHL season kicked off on October 10, and the best teams are already gearing up to fight for the Stanley Cup. It’s no secret that specifically second half of playoffs is the most exciting one. However, due to the NHL blackouts, you may be missing some of the spiciest Florida Panthers or Seattle Kraken games. But that’s where a VPN steps in.

A reputable NHL VPN will help you change your virtual location and allow you to watch blacked-out NHL games easily. To bypass the blackout on either ESPN+, ESPN+ on Hulu or NHL.tv, you only need to connect to a VPN server in a different state than you are now.

We have thoroughly tested and selected the top 5 VPNs that do bypass NHL blackouts on ESPN+, Hulu and NHL.tv; they have many servers across North America and retain excellent video quality. We will tell you how to use them right away to help you enjoy NHL’s playoffs without missing a game.

How to watch blackout NHL games?

how to bypass nhl blackouts

Watch blackout NHL games on ESPN+ and NHL.TV by connecting to a server in a US state without geo-restrictions using VPN app. NHL blackouts, due to regional broadcasting rights, block certain games in specific areas. Choose a VPN server in a nearby US state or city where blackout rules don't apply and watch any game you like.

There is step-by-step process to watch blackout NHL games:

  1. Subscribe to a reputable NHL VPN, like NordVPN, now with a 67% discount
  2. Install the VPN app on your device
  3. Connect to a US server not affected by ESPN+ or NHL.tv blackouts
  4. Watch NHL games without any restrictions

Best 5 NHL VPNs to bypass blackouts

What are NHL blackouts & why do they happen?

NHL blackouts are geo-restrictions that cause certain games to be blocked in certain regions. The blackouts happen because each NHL team has a number of regional games that get sold to regional broadcasters. These NHL blackout rules mean that only regional broadcasters have the right to show a specific game. So even the Bruins or Buffalo Sabres games will be blocked on ESPN+ for people living in a particular region with which the team is associated.

For example, if you live in California and got an ESPN+ account there, you won’t be able to see the Los Angeles Kings games without a robust VPN. However, outside of California, the games are available on ESPN+ either way.

There is even a tool as well as a NHL blackout map for seeing which teams’ games will be blacked out in a specific area. You just need to enter your zip code:

nhl zip code tool

Best VPNs for NHL – our detailed list:

To bypass NHL blackouts, you’ll need a quality VPN. But how do you know which one is the best?

We compiled a short list of the best VPNs for watching blacked-out NHL games – so you don’t have to search for them yourself. Take a look, choose the one you like best, and get to watching NHL in no time.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for bypassing NHL blackouts

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:6000 servers in 61 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now up to 67% OFF + gift!

A favorite among many, NordVPN is an excellent choice for bypassing NHL blackouts on ESPN+ and connecting you to countries that NHL.tv is available in. During our testing, everything worked like a charm.

Server fleet: Out of 61 server locations, NordVPN has servers in 15 locations across the US and 3 server locations in Canada. You will definitely find an area that is suitable for bypassing NHL blackouts on ESPN+. And if your preferred platform is NHL.tv, then NordVPN also has servers across the whole world, including the countries where NHL.tv is available.

Performance: NordVPN also has excellent speeds for streaming. In fact, it is generally regarded as one of the best streaming VPNs overall. This VPN uses an in-house built NordLynx protocol that retains around 80% of your initial speed.

Streaming: NordVPN unblocks virtually any streaming platform and has dedicated apps for numerous smart TVs and streaming boxes. That way, you'll be able to watch NHL on any device you want.

The pricing of NordVPN starts exceptionally low – just at $3.39/month. There is also a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To learn more, check out our NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – VPN that bypasses NHL blackouts on unlimited devices

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Servers/countries:3200 servers in 100 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get 79% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE

One of the fastest VPNs in the industry and a favorite among experienced and new VPN users alike, Surfshark is one of the greater options for getting around NHL blackouts on ESPN+ or NHL.tv wherever you are.

Server fleet: Surfshark has over 600 servers in 25 cities in the US, and servers in three Canadian cities – you can easily choose the best location for bypassing blackouts in your region.

Performance: Surfshark also has an excellent WireGuard protocol implementation, which makes the connection speed extremely fast (retains 84% of initial speed on average). When we tested this VPN, we didn’t experience any buffering, lost connection, or low video quality whatsoever.

Streaming: This VPN provider deals with streaming services’ geo-blocks splendidly. Surfshark unblocks multiple Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and many more popular broadcasters. It also has the SmartDNS feature to help you stream NHL on non-VPN devices. And you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously, so your family members could enjoy their preferred content too.

Surfshark’s pricing starts at $2.29/month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also easily make use of its 7-day free trial.

If you wish to know more, reading our Surfshark review would be a good point to start.

3. IPVanish – VPN for NHL with fast connections

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:2200 servers in 52 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get 75% OFF IPVanish!

With 17 different server locations in the US, IPVanish proves to be a worthy VPN for bypassing NHL blackouts. Excellent security and lightning-fast connection speeds also make it an attractive option.

Server fleet: IPVanish offers you a decent selection of 2200 servers in 52 countries overall, which includes 17 US server locations. With that in mind, you can rest assured that a well-performing server will always be available for your streams.

Performance: If you’re looking for a truly fast VPN, IPVanish won’t disappoint you. It uses the market-leading WireGuard tunneling protocol. Thanks to it, the provider retains more than 90% of your initial connection speed. Moreso, the connection remains stable, allowing you to enjoy all exciting NHL moments.

Streaming: IPVanish is a truly decent option for streaming. With fast speeds and strong unblocking capabilities, you will be able to enjoy all big streaming services. Another really nice thing about this VPN is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means that you can watch your NHL games on as many devices as your NHL.tv or ESPN+ subscription allows.

IPVanish has a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. The prices start at $3.25/month.

For more details, take a look at our IPVanish review.

4. ExpressVPN – premium VPN for bypassing NHL blackouts

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3000+ servers in 105 countries
Unblocks Netflix:
Yes
Current deal:
Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

ExpressVPN is one of the top streaming VPNs on the market, meaning it deals with NHL blackouts in a blink of an eye. Our tests proved that once again, and it was flawless with having to select from 16 US server locations.

Server fleet: Speaking of server locations, ExpressVPN has servers distributed in various US cities, like Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, and others. Overall, this VPN runs 3000 servers in 105 countries.

Performance: Eliminated blackouts are great, but not less important is the quality of the broadcast. Well, there should be no worries, as ExpressVPN uses its Lightway tunnel, which is known for fast and stable speeds.

Streaming: Apart from NHL, ExpressVPN easily cracks other streaming services too, including various Netflix catalogs, Hulu, HBO Max, and more. In order to make your streaming experience even better, you get the MediaStreamer feature that allows you to bypass NHL blackouts on non-VPN devices too.

On the other hand, the pricing is questionable for some, as it starts from $6.67/month. Yet, a 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to use the VPN risk-free for a month.

Read more about the provider in our ExpressVPN review.

5. CyberGhost VPN – VPN for NHL with a massive server fleet

CyberGhost VPN banner
Based in:Romania
Servers/countries:11500+ servers in 100 countries
Unblocks Netflix:
Yes
Current deal:
Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% + 2 months FREE!

CyberGhost is a simple yet capable VPN to bypass NHL blackouts. It ensures great speeds, unbreakable protection, and excellent time while streaming online.

Server fleet: With 11 US server locations and over 11500 servers in 100 countries overall, NHL was an easy nut to crack for us during our in-house tests.

Performance: You will be able to enjoy excellent connection speeds using the WireGuard tunnel that’s known for stable, secure, and speedy connection. During our tests, there were no noticeable speed drops, so you won’t miss important match moments too.

Streaming: NHL blackouts weren’t the only ones we wanted to challenge. CyberGhost VPN could also easily bypass geo-blocks from broadcasters, such as Netflix, HBO Max, YouTube, and many other popular streaming services. What’s even better is that the provider has specialized servers for streaming, meaning it will be effortless for you to find a perfect server to enjoy the match.

Last but not least, this VPN is very cheap, as its pricing starts from as little as $2.19/month, and you can use an extended 45-day money-back guarantee too!

Check our CyberGhost review to get to know it better.

Does Hulu blackout NHL games?

Yes, if you have a Hulu subscription with an ESPN+ add-on, you might also be subject to Hulu NHL blackouts. When trying to watch a local team’s match on Hulu, you will most likely be faced with the same blackout restrictions, as watching directly via ESPN+. This is because local sports networks have the right to broadcast certain games only in certain regions.

If you find NHL on Hulu not working, it’s best to change your virtual location to where the game is broadcasted. This way you’ll avoid the blackout and be back in the game. To do this, go with a reliable VPN, such as NordVPN, which is known for its robust unblocking capabilities.

VPN not working with NHL.tv or ESPN+?

Sometimes, a VPN can simply not work with ESPN+ or NHL.tv, and there could be several different reasons for that. For example, your VPN could be leaking your IP address, or simply not able to bypass geo-restrictions.

Luckily, there are some things you can try to fix the problem of a VPN not working with NHl.tv or ESPN+:

  • Connect to a different server
  • Try a different VPN tunneling protocol
  • Check for IP and DNS leaks and turn on leak protection if your VPN has it
  • Change your zip code in the NHL.tv subscription form. It is best to use a European zip code
  • Before opening NHL.tv, clear your browser’s cache and cookies. NHL.tv might be able to access all of these files to determine your real location
  • Change your VPN provider if nothing works. It might be that your VPN is simply not able to bypass NHL.tv blackouts and geo-restrictions
Bypass NHL blackouts on ESPN+ and NHL.tv with NordVPN
NordVPN offers the next-gen features to bypass NHL blackouts, such as NordLynx lightweight protocol for blazing fast speeds, a wide server fleet in the US alone, powerful streaming capabilities, strong AES-256 encryption, and more.
cybernews® score
4.9 /5

Can I use a free VPN to bypass NHL blackout restrictions?

Yes, you can try using a free VPN to bypass NHL blackouts, but we don’t recommend it. A free VPN not only carries certain privacy risks but also limitations:

  • Data limits. Most free VPNs have limits on how much data you can use per month to stay connected to a VPN. In our experience, that data is not nearly enough to stream games that span several hours.
  • Slow speeds. A VPN will generally slow down your internet speed a bit, but free VPNs tend to slow it down a lot, to the point where video and sound quality suffers, and buffering occurs. This is a deal-breaker if you want to watch your NHL games in high quality.
  • Unable to bypass geo-restrictions. Free VPNs often don’t have the budget to spend on unblocking technology, so a free VPN might easily get detected by various streaming services.
  • Not as secure as paid VPNs. Free VPNs tend to collect and sell user data to third parties to make a profit and keep their service free at the same time. If you truly value the privacy and security of your personal data, using a free VPN is a no-go.

However, if you still want to try using a VPN for free to bypass NHL blackouts, there are other options. For example, freemium VPNs such as Atlas VPN have free versions (with some limitations), and you can always upgrade to a paid version too.

And some premium paid VPNs also have free trials and 30-day money-back guarantees, so you can try the service for free without risking anything. In fact, you can easily claim your NordVPN free trial right now, and enjoy using one of the best VPNs for a little more than a month for free.

Where else you can watch NHL games?

There are plenty of streaming platforms dedicated to various sports events – including the NHL. To watch NHL online, you can try any of the following streaming services:

Streaming servicePrice per month
ESPN+ (US)$9.99
NHL GameCenter$24
Star+ (Latin America)$12.99
NHL Live$24.99
Premier Sports (UK)£14.99
Sling TV (US)$40
Fubo TV (US, Spain, Canada)$74.99
AT&TV (US)$69.99
YouTube TV (US)$72.99
Hulu + Live TV (US)$69.99

All you need to know about the NHL

Indeed, the most important thing to know about the NHL is which and when the main championships are happening. Well, to help you stay on track with the schedule, we have listed the most crucial dates of the NHL 2023-2024:

EventDate
Regular Season beginsOctober 10, 2023
NHL Thanksgiving ShowdownNovember 24, 2023
Outdoor Games
January 2,2024 and February 18, 2024
All-Star WeekendFebruary 3-4, 2024
End of Regular SeasonApril 18, 2024
2024 Stanley Cup PlayoffsApril 19 – June, 2024
2024 Stanley Cup FinalsJune 8 – June 17, 2024
2024 NHL DraftJune 28-29, 2024

For those, who seek to get all the burning details about NHL games, we suggest checking out NHL GameCenter. This is a subscription service that's been designed for hard-core NHL fans. It allows you to see streaming content that's even out of the official market.

2023 NHL results

The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has concluded, and the final four teams are the Vegas Golden Knights, the Florida Panthers, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Colorado Avalanche.

In the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers swept the Carolina Hurricanes, winning all four games of the series. The Panthers are now the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, as they have been one of the best teams in the NHL all season long.

In the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars in six games. The Golden Knights will face the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals. The Avalanche swept the Edmonton Oilers in four games.

For the upcoming games, check out the official NHL schedule on their website.

Bottom line

Having access to ESPN or NHL.tv doesn’t mean that you will freely enjoy your favorite NHL team’s games, as there is a geo-restriction tool – blackouts. However, not everything is lost. With a VPN that has servers all over the USA, you can instantly change your IP and unlock games with ease.

Our top VPN to bypass NHL blackouts is NordVPN. It has over 1970+ servers in 15 American cities and it’s well-known for exceptional unblocking capabilities. Moreover, the provider uses an advanced tunneling protocol to maintain as fast connection speeds as possible.

Let us know if you have managed to bypass NHL blackouts in the comments section below!


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