Pierre McGuire to be stationed between benches for NBC, CTV for men’s Olympic hockey

The 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver promise to be a ‘monster’ event, so it’s only appropriate that North American broadcasters have the analyst who made the phrase popular right down at ice level.

For the first time ever, NBC’s Pierre McGuire will be stationed between the glass for Olympic hockey. McGuire will offer his patented inside info for U.S. games on NBC and Canadian games on CTV. Games featuring other nations will be decided between the two broadcasters.

“We’re really, really happy about it,” said NBC executive producer David Neal. “I think it’s a terrific addition to our coverage.”

Getting the idea off the ground required the participation of three different entities: the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) and Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS).

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OBS is spearheaded by Manolo Romero, who has been responsible for many broadcast innovations, such as virtual graphics that added nation flags and names of swimmers on top of the water in Olympic pools.

Neal noted the original idea of putting a broadcaster down at ice level came from McGuire and Sam Flood, a co-ordinating producer at NBC, in 2004. The innovation launched in 2006, but not in time for the Turin Olympics in Italy. McGuire has increased his stock in recent years thanks to his tireless schedule and unique vantage point.

“The insights he gathers from down on the ice, some of it is just (from observing) body language,” Neal said.

Thankfully in the international game, body language is universal.