TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 06: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against Joffrey Lupul #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on November 6, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

For its third year of pairing with the NHL to produce a behind-the-scenes documentary series leading up to the league’s annual Winter Classic, Epix is rebranding and undertaking a bigger endeavor. This year, instead of covering two teams, Epix Presents Road to the NHL Outdoor Classics will follow four teams for the two outdoor games that will be played in January.

As reported by Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, the series will film the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs in anticipation of their New Year’s Day matchup at Toronto’s BMO Field, along with the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues before they face off Jan. 2 at Busch Stadium.

The Epix series will also play on Rogers in Canada for the third straight year. This time around, however, Rogers will rename the series for its Canadian audience, thus requiring Greenburg and his production team to create different animations and graphics packages for the show. In Canada, the show will be titled All Access: The NHL Outdoor Winter Classics.

Producer Ross Greenburg told Ourand that the idea behind following four teams in this year’s series was to create a quicker pace for the four episodes. During the 60-minute episodes, the series will focus on one game that each of the teams play that week. Additionally, the plan is to follow two individual players away from the ice in every episode.

As with most of the behind-the-scenes documentaries that Greenburg has produced for HBO and Epix during his decades-long career, the storylines will develop depending on what happens each week. It certainly helps to have some inherent star power, as last year’s series with P.K. Subban, then with the Montreal Canadiens. Perhaps the Maple Leafs’ rookie sensations Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, along with fellow young stars William Nylander and Connor Brown, will be the breakout stars of the series. The Chicago Blackhawks figure to provide some compelling television as well, with stars like Patrick Kaine, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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