Rogers, with their multi-billion dollar monopoly on nationally-broadcast NHL action in Canada, has been announcing the broadcast team for their eons of games in pieces throughout the summer. We broke the story that they’d brought over former TSNers Paul Romanuk and Dave Randorf for their play-by-play squad along with lead CBC play-by-play man Jim Hughson. Other hires have broken over social media the past couple of months, including the return of the legendary Bob Cole.
The new Hockey Night in Canada consortium made their entire list of hires available on Thursday, and it’s a list of over 40 different Canadian broadcasters (and one American). Many of them were already with Sportsnet, with a ton of others coming over from CBC, and a few stolen away from TSN, including rising star analyst Mike Johnson. He’s probably the biggest name Sportsnet has gotten from TSN in this whole transition.
CBC castoffs George Stromboulopoulos (Hockey Night in Canada) and Ron MacLean (Rogers Hometown Hockey) will be the main hosts for the package. Sportsnet vets Jeff Marek and Darren Millard, and former NESN anchor Leah Hextall will host on the other forty nights a week that the Rogers networks have hockey. Marek will remain host of Sportsnet’s CHL package.
The analysts to work with Hughson, Cole, Romanuk and Randorf will be familiar names. Johnson — who’s been impressing hockey fans a lot in recent years with his acerbic, intelligent work — will be joined by former CBC analysts Craig Simpson (who in all likelihood will be lead analyst), Glenn Healy and Gary Galley.
Reporters are a combo of ex-CBCers and Sportsnet vets. Arash Madani, Roger Millions, Dan Murphy, Gene Principe and Chris Simpson return. Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Scott Oake join from CBC, though I hope HNIC will continue to be somewhat progressive and use Campbell-Pascall as a game analyst from time to time.
Now, we read you a long, long list of studio analysts: Don Cherry, Damien Cox, Elliotte Friedman, Glenn Healy, Kelly Hrudey, Billy Jaffe (the American!), Mike Johnson, Chris Johnston, Nick Kypreos, Doug MacLean, Scott Morrison, Darren Pang (who will continue in his role with the Blues), John Shannon, Mark Spector and PJ Stock. That is a lot of people.
Rogers also owns regional broadcast packages to four Canadian teams (and they may add some Montreal Canadiens telecasts, according to one source, though a Sportsnet rep told me there were “no plans” for that as of yet) and they made some changes to those crews. Most notable: former San Jose Sharks analyst Drew Remenda now teams with Kevin Quinn on Edmonton Oilers games. CBC’s Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey will call Calgary Flames games. Paul Romanuk and Dave Randorf replace Joe Bowen on Rogers’ Leafs broadcasts with Greg Millen, and John Shorthouse and John Garrett stay together with the Canucks.
Well, now I’m ready for hockey, and the season is still more than a month away.