Wildly popular hockey reality series HBO 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic will return for a third season, according to NHL COO John Collins, who divulged the league’s plans to Yahoo!’s Greg Wyshynski on Tuesday.
Season 3 will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings and document the weeks leading up to the 2013 Winter Classic Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The announcement comes after months of uncertainty as to whether the network would extend the series another year after president of HBO Sports Ross Greenburg – the network’s sports reality programming visionary – left to pursue other ventures.
Collins also told Wyshynski there will be two major changes to the series’ production, the most notable being an increased NHL presence behind the scenes.
“We’re going to work a little more closely with HBO on production. We’ve been in partnership with them, but now that we have an original productions group here, we’re going to work a little more closely with them on the production side,” said Collins.
“I think it’s going to be more of a collaboration,” he said. “To the fan, they won’t see any difference in production whatsoever. We’re not going to limit access. We’re not going to change any approval rights. There won’t be anything different about this.”
The NHL also expects to have a Canadian network partner next season.
“We’re going to have another partner to announce, who will take the series in Canada,” Collins said. “I think this is one of the benefits of having Toronto in the game. They’re paying attention to this in ways that, frankly, they haven’t previously in the market up there.”
It has yet to be divulged which network will join forces with HBO. A formal announcement is expected to be released at a later date.