Channel 5 scores Eagles playoff telecast

LOVELAND — Cheyenne CBS television affiliate KGWN Channel 5 will broadcast Sunday’s Colorado Eagles playoff game with the Oklahoma City Blazers, the first step in what KGWN hopes will be a continuing pact with the minor league hockey team.

Coverage of the routinely sold-out Eagles games has been a key part of Channel 5’s strategy to expand into the Northern Colorado market with news, sports and weather coverage tailored to the region.

During the past year, KGWN has gained a toehold with Northern Colorado cable television subscribers through a deal with Johnstown-based US Cable, and recently opened a Northern Colorado newsroom and sales center in downtown Fort Collins.

The 7 p.m. Sunday game will be broadcast over the air from Channel 5’s Cheyenne transmitter, carried to about 5,000 subscribers of US Cable in Northern Colorado, and fed to the Central Hockey League television network for broadcast in Oklahoma City.

 “This is something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” Channel 5 General Manager Joan Turner said. “It’s something we really wanted to do this year, during the current season.”

Eagles radio play-by-play veteran Tory Holt, who broadcasts games for Regent Broadcasting’s 99.9-FM “The Point,” will handle the TV broadcast, with Channel 5 sports reporter Chris Fink adding ice-side interviews with players. The broadcast will be produced by Fort Collins-based MediaTech Productions Inc.

Turner said a narrow window in CBS’ coverage of the National Collegiate basketball tournament allowed for coverage of the Eagles game, the second in a possible seven-game series that opens the Eagle’s defense of its 2005 CHL championship.

“There are some things I can’t preempt,” Turner said, “and March Madness is one of them.”

Turner said Channel 5 chose Media Tech to manage the production after getting bids from Denver-area producers.

“We wanted to keep the money we had budgeted for this local,” she said. “We wanted to keep it right in town.”