(Bob Cole: Courtesy CBC)
Broadcasting can be a cold business. One day, you're the next best thing and executives are kissing your butt. The next day, you walk into the studio and find your replacement broadcasting in your place (that is a true story). For the 80 year old Bob Cole of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, he's wondering if he's going to have a job next season.
With Rogers taking over the entire NHL media contract in Canada starting with the 2014-15 season, many long-time CBC employees including Cole are wondering what their futures will be.
Cole has been calling hockey for CBC on radio or television since 1969. Between 1980 and 2008, he called every Stanley Cup Finals until he was replaced by Jim Hughson. He has called the historic 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, three Olympic Hockey Finals (1998, 2002 and 2006) and many other memorable hockey moments. While he is no longer the main announcer on Hockey Night in Canada, he remains on the package as the "B" play-by-play man.
Now as Rogers prepares to take over, Cole is wondering if he'll have a job next season. The Hockey Hall of Fame announcer tells the Toronto Sun:
“No one has called me .. I thought somebody might call, tell me something, say hello, you know.."
Cole adds: "I still love what I’m doing. I just want to do games. I’m not doing as many as I want or as many as I used to."
You could say that Rogers doesn't owe Cole anything. He's not their employee and they can hire and fire who they want. That is true, but with the Hockey Night in Canada brand being folded into Rogers' rights, the least the company can do is let Cole know its plans for next season. So why hasn't Cole been called?
There's no doubting his passion for the game: “There has to be Hockey Night In Canada, doesn’t there? It’s still our night. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know who’s going to be in charge. I don’t know what the show is going to look like. But it has to be there, right?"
At least for the next four years, Bob. Here's hoping that you'll be a part of the new era in Canadian sports broadcasting.