The Blackhawks are no strangers to the Winter Classic. They’ll appear in the game for the third time in the last five years when they face the Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium.
They also aren’t strangers to appearing in all-access shows. As they did in their last two run-ups to the game, the Hawks will take viewers behind the scenes — on the ice and off — in NHL Original Productions’ ‘‘Road to the NHL Winter Classic’’ on NBCSN. The first of three episodes, which also will follow the Bruins, will air at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The second episode is at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 27, and the hourlong finale, which will include an in-depth recap of the game, is at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 6, after the Hawks-Penguins game.
Crews began filming last week, following players and coaches around their locker rooms and homes to help build the hype for the NHL’s annual showcase. Fortunately for the struggling Hawks, the show will focus more on them off the ice than on it.
‘‘The fans want to see a lot more off-ice,’’ said Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer and the executive producer of the show. ‘‘Over a two-week period, I don’t think you need to get in-depth on this game and that game. It’s really about getting people to learn about the teams and their personalities.’’
The show caught the Hawks at a critical time. Within the last five weeks, they’ve changed coaches and made a
major trade. In fact, one of the show’s storylines revolves around new coach Jeremy Colliton and how he has been trying to turn the team around since replacing Joel Quenneville on Nov. 6.
‘‘This is the introduction of the coach to the world, even to the folks in Chicago,’’ Mayer said. ‘‘This is an amazing opportunity to get a glimpse into who he is and what’s his style. And whether the teams are doing well, not doing as well, I still think that these shows can survive just being based on all the amazing personalities and the great storylines of where we can go.’’
Those will include Corey Crawford, who overcame a long battle with a concussion. Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews also will be featured.
Ross Greenburg, a former HBO Sports president and a 54-time sports Emmy winner, is producing the show for the eighth consecutive year. Actor Bill Camp is the narrator.