The NHL 2011-2012 season started last week, but the official Android app didn’t land until yesterday. Correction, the official apps didn’t arrive until yesterday because the NHL has decided to split its official app into two offerings: the free NHL Gamecenter and the $ 19.99 NHL Gamecenter Premium.

Gamecenter is an Android 2.1+ companion for all things NHL. Users tell the app the name of their favorite team, which then changes the background to reflect that franchise’s logo and provide quick links to tracking them. Live scores are available for every game, as are previews with television listings, season series, and head-to-head history between opponents. There’s also a schedule page showing when your favorite team is at home or away,

Other standard features like standings, news articles, player profiles, and game photos are also available in both apps. However, if you want live radio broadcasts, video highlights, and exclusive “Best of the Week” videos, you’ll have to pony-up for the Premium version. Hockey fans who want live game video will have to purchase an additional subscription to the annual NHL GameCenter Live broadband service. That service also gives users access to desktop streaming. It will cost $ 159 for a one-time payment or 8 monthly payments of $ 19.95.

I’ll be honest and admit that I only pay attention to hockey during the winter Olympics, so I won’t speak on how effective this app is at capturing the on-ice action. However, I can’t imagine people will be too thrilled at the prospect of spending $ 180 for the privilege of watching hockey matches on their phone, especially considering that broadcasts are still subject to blackout restrictions. If you love hockey and absolutely need to have it on all devices at all times, then head over to the Android Market to download the apps.

Install app

(free version)

Install app

(premium version)

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