Major Changes at Hockey Night in Canada

B.C. Lions radio play-by-play Rick Ball is the new voice of CBC's late Saturday games

B.C. Lions radio play-by-play Rick Ball is the new voice of CBC’s late Saturday games

Hockey Night in Canada is finally getting a much-needed makeover. Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey will takeover calling the main 7:00pm Pacific/10:00pm Eastern game on many weeks this season. Scott Oake will continue to report rinkside and host After Hours for the second game of CBC’s doubleheader. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy will continue to call the 7:00pm Eastern Toronto Maple Leafs broadcast most weeks. Bob Cole and Garry Galley will mostly do Canadiens and Senators games. CBC has demoted Mark Lee to Winnipeg Jets regional broadcasts, where he will work with Greg Millen. Dean Brown also remains with CBC to call selected games. CBC will only have four games twice this season, however, on Hockey Day in Canada and again on April 6. Kevin Weekes will also stay with Hockey Night in a new role.

In my opinion, it’s about time CBC made a change. Lee really brought down the quality of CBC’s western broadcasts. I’m not too familiar with Ball; however, I’ve heard good things about him from those in British Columbia. Hrudey’s new role will allow him to stay closer to home (he lives in Calgary). Usually during the playoffs Hrudey spends most of April and May in Toronto, away from his family.

I wonder if this might be the opportune time for CBC to move Bob Cole further aside. I’m a big a fan of Cole as anyone, I grew up with him, but if CBC really wants to promote Ball and Hrudey as the team of the future they should call a Conference Final. I don’t know if it will happen this year, but it seems that Ball is CBC’s secondary play-by-play commentator of the future.

CBC’s rinkside reporters will largely stay the same. Andi Petrillo, Elliotte Friedman, Scott Oake, David Amber and Cassie Campbell all return.

EDIT (1/17):  CBC has made all of this official now. Kevin Weekes is taking Kelly Hrudey’s old spot in CBC’s studio. Elliotte Friedman is now part of the main studio panel, while Andi Petrillo takes over the iDesk. Don Cherry will do Coach’s Corner at the end of the 1st intermission of both the early and late games.

CBC has also confirmed that Cole, Brown, Galley and Millen will split up regional games in the east, while Lee and Millen will do regional Jets games.

I’m not sure exactly what motivated CBC to switch Weekes and Hrudey; however, it is worth noting Weekes lives in Toronto and Hrudey lives in Calgary. Instead of having both travel across the country weekly, this makes more sense.

2013 Maple Leafs TV Schedule

James van Riemsdyk was the Leafs major addition in the offseson. He will make his home debut January 21 on Sportsnet Ontario.

James van Riemsdyk was the Leafs major addition in the offseson. He will make his home debut January 21 on Sportsnet Ontario.

Sportsnet Ontario released its 2013 Maple Leafs broadcast schedule today. Sportsnet is slated to show 14 Leafs games in Ontario. CBC and TSN will combine to show 24. That leaves 10 Leafs games unaccounted for. It is still unknown whether those will air on Leafs TV, or possibly Sportsnet and/or TSN (or some combination). The latter is a possibility though. What happens with those other ten Leafs games is probably the most interesting aspect of this season’s TV schedules.

Joe Bowen and Greg Millen return to the broadcast booth on both networks, with Paul Hendrick reporting rinkside. Sportsnet will also have 30 minute pregame shows with Hockey Central.

Here is the complete broadcast schedule. All times are Eastern.

Monday, Jan. 21, Buffalo @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Jan. 31, Washington @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET

Monday, Feb. 4, Carolina @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Monday, Feb. 11, Philadelphia @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Monday, Feb. 18, Toronto @ Florida, 7:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 21, Buffalo @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 28, Toronto @ NY Islanders, 7 p.m. ET

Monday, March 4, New Jersey @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 14, Pittsburgh @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 21, Toronto @ Buffalo, 7 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 26, Florida @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET

Thursday, April 4, Philadelphia @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Monday, April 8, NY Rangers @ Toronto, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, April 25, Toronto @ Florida, 7:30 p.m. ET

CSM News: October 5

A few quick points I’d like to share heading into the long weekend. Hope everyone enjoys the turkey.

Old is new… CBC is following TSN in showing classic hockey games to replace live NHL matches. The broadcasts will begin the first Saturday of (what was supposed to be) the regular season, October 13. Fans can vote online for their choice of 5 available games. The options for the first week are: Boston vs. Montreal (1979 too many men, hey gotta include Don Cherry in here), Montreal vs. Ottawa (1992, the Sens first game), Toronto vs. Detroit (1993 playoffs game 7), NY Rangers vs. New Jersey (1994 playoffs), and Toronto vs. Pittsburgh (2000, Mario’s first game back). Games will air at 8:00pm local.

Live Hockey on Saturdays… Sportsnet has the best solution yet to the lack of NHL hockey this fall, show the next best thing: the AHL. There are 4 American League teams based in Canada, and 3 more based in the US who are affiliates to Canadian NHL teams. Oklahoma City (Edmonton’s affiliate) has, in particular, loaded up on young talent from their NHL parent.

Sportsnet will show games on Saturday night, with the first on October 13 when the Toronto Marlies host the Rochester Americans at 5:00pm ET on Sportsnet One. Joe Bowen and Greg Millen will call the game, with Paul Hendrick rinkside. Jeff Marek, Brad May and John Shannon will host Sportsnet’s broadcasts.

On October 20 Sportsnet One will have a doubleheader. First the Hamilton Bulldogs play the Marlies in Toronto (same commentators as the previous Saturday) at 7:00pm ET. That game is followed by Chicago @ Abbotsford. Sportsnet will use a mix of their Flames and Canucks broadcast crews with Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer in the booth and John Garrett rinkside. Roger Millions will host the broadcast.

Good to know that those HD production trucks TSN and Sportsnet share will be put to use this winter.

Baseball Playoffs… The MLB playoffs begin on Friday with the new wildcard games. The Cardinals play the Braves at 5:00pm ET (commentators: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Joe Simpson) and then the Rangers host the Orioles at 8:30pm ET (commentators: Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz and Cal Ripken).

The Divisional Series open on Saturday with the Athletics playing the Tigers at 6:00pm (commentators: Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez) followed by Reds @ Giants at 9:30pm (commentators: Anderson, Darling and Simpson).

Jamie Campbell will host Sportsnet’s baseball playoff coverage with analysts Gregg Zaun and Pat Tabler.

Ryder Cup Ratings… An average of 471, 000 viewers watched the final day of the Ryder Cup on TSN as Europe came back to shock the Americans. It was the second highest rated Ryder Cup ever in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. It rounds off what was an up year for golf in Canada. In April an average of 1.8 million watched the final round of The Masters.