It was an event that stopped all the talk in Canada. It was broadcast live on television for nearly an hour in our neighbors to the north. Dozens of members of the press showed up to cover it and provide context to it.
It was, of course, the announcement of Hockey Night in Canada's host roster on Monday. Sometimes, Canada cannot be more Canada. In situations like this, it's almost weirdly charming.
Rogers made the worst-kept secret in Canadian sports media official on Monday, naming George Stroumboulopoulos the new host of Hockey Night in Canada. Stroumboulopoulos currently hosts a talk show on CBC (which will end this summer to coincide with his new gig) and has been largely known as a music presence in the past. However, he is Canadian, and therefore his sanity goes out the door during hockey season.
“Hockey is one of my deep-seated passions," said Stroumboulopoulos in a statement. "I'm thrilled to be going full circle, returning to my roots in sports broadcasting." Stroumboulopoulos served as an intern and a hockey and basketball reporter at The Fan 590 to begin his career nearly two decades ago.
So what does that do to HNIC's current host, Ron MacLean? Well, he will now host CityTV's Sunday Night Hockey, AKA Hometown Hockey. Part-College Gameday, part-Hockey Day in Canada, MacLean will spend Sunday nights introducing NHL coverage from various small communities throughout the country. He also will remain the host of the annual Hockey Day in Canada.
Of course, what you're all really wondering about is Don Cherry. Grapes will return with Coach's Corner for at least the first couple of years of the Sportsnet deal. Though MacLean has his Sunday night gig, he will still be with Don for Coach's Corner on Saturdays.
Jeff Marek, whom many Americans may be familiar with through the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast, will host coverage on Thursday nights. That game will typically air on Sportsnet 360, and be a US team vs. US team "star vs. star" matchup. He'll also be the host of Sportsnet's Friday night junior hockey games, and host two hours of HNIC pre-game coverage on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Darren Millard will be the network's main host for Wednesday Night Hockey. That game will typically feature at least one Canadian team. Play-by-play, game and studio analysts and reporters have yet to be named, but will be handled in the near future.