Monday afternoon, Rogers presented their massive, expensive new NHL studios to the world. Everyone was impressed by this new combination of hockey and visuals that will hopefully make Hockey Night in Canada all the better. However, one other change was announced that might not make some so thrilled.
I think it’s no secret that our site, along with others around the web, love Tim Thompson’s opening montages that used to kick off most CBC broadcasts. Sadly, it appears Sportsnet will cut back on them this year for more contemporary, quick-cut, shorter opens. Rogers’ Senior VP of Production Gord Cutler explained it thusly:
“I think it goes to what our vision is for the overall presentation,” Cutler said. “I don’t really think there was anything that was a part of Hockey Night in Canada that was sacrosanct, where we said, ‘oh we absolutely have to have that.’ … It’s about a feel for the country on Saturday nights.”
Some openings will feature essays and voiceovers, he said, while some games will not have an opening at all.
“It doesn’t mean there won’t be musical openings,” Cutler said on Monday. “It just means that there won’t be a musical opening every week.”
Thompson is still employed by the CBC and will be under the Rogers umbrella for HNIC work.
Look, Rogers is free to try out whatever they like and see what fits. But those montages were, in my opinion, a masterclass in the art of short filmmaking, even if they were just clips of hockey players and fans. What Thompson is able to do with music and visuals is a skill that should be cherished. I hope Rogers finds more to do with him, and if not, I hope perhaps an American network sees there’s goodwill to be won by using his work.
Because otherwise, we wouldn’t get stuff like this.