Surprising news in the world of hockey.

David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail reports analyst Mike Johnson has parted ways with Sportsnet. According to Shoalts, the decision was Rogers.

Johnson’s departure is a significant loss for Rogers hockey coverage. The former Toronto Maple Leafs forward joined TSN in 2011 as a color commentator. He joined Sportsnet’s crew in 2015 after Rogers acquired NHL rights. With Rogers, Johnson displayed a strong, intelligent voice and on-camera presence and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind during broadcasts. He made a serious effort to frequently use analytics in his analysis. Johnson was a refreshing break from other analysts.

Sportsnet’s hockey coverage has gone through considerable changes with the departures of personalities Damien Cox, Glenn Healy, PJ Stock and George Stroumboulopoulos due to both financial restructuring and to attempt shaking up an often bland broadcast. David Amber and Ron McLean were both given increased roles. Johnson appeared set to have a much larger role on broadcasts, as he was one of the bright spots of the previous incarnation of Sportsnet’s hockey coverage, so his sudden separation from Rogers is surprising.

Why would Sportsnet axe Johnson? Your guess is as good as mine. Viewers were fond of Johnson and he was generally seen as knowledgable and entertaining personality and thus throwing him to the curb is a bit of a head-scratcher.

This won’t affect American fans – Johnson is still in the fold at NHL Network in the States, and will be back on NHL Tonight next week.

Sportsnet will quickly have to find a replacement for Johnson, which won’t be easy. His replacement better be a home run hire or else viewers will certainly question the decision going forward.

[Image via NHL.com]

About Liam McGuire

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