When Rogers and the NHL signed a new 12-year, $5.2 billion broadcast rights deal, changes were inevitable on Hockey Night in Canada. Though the program will still be hosted on CBC for at least the next four years Rogers, as rights holder, will now have its hand in the operation.
The first changes were announced today, as George Stroumboulopoulos will join the HNIC team as host. The longtime talk show host will not only be featured on the Saturday night broadcast, but will also be part of the broadcast on other channels and platforms.
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry will remain as the Coach's Corner combination.
The news was part of a larger announcement by Rogers that unveiled their team of broadcasters who will appear across channels and broadcasts beyond HNIC as well.
Here is the lineup of headline talent that appeared in Rogers' press release.
George Stroumboulopoulos, Host
· Stroumboulopoulos is one of Canada’s most popular and respected broadcasters. He will be returning to his roots in sports, having spent the first four years of his career as a sports reporter at The Fan 590 (now Sportsnet 590 The FAN)
· Beginning October 2014, Stroumboulopoulos will host Hockey Night in Canada, and will be the studio anchor for Sunday night NHL Hometown Hockey broadcasts on City. He’ll also host other NHL broadcasts on Sportsnet and other Rogers platforms
· Strombo on his new role: “Hockey is one of my deep-seated passions and I'm thrilled to be going full circle, returning to my roots in sports broadcasting. It's a dream for me to work with Ron MacLean and Don Cherry, as well as my old friend Jeff Marek who I started my career with. I'm also looking forward to working with Daren Millard and the entire team at Rogers."
Don Cherry, Analyst, Coach’s Corner
· The legendary Cherry has been captivating Canadian hockey audiences with his engaging opinions on Coach’s Corner since 1980. Cherry will continue to appear on Coach’s Corner every Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada with Ron MacLean
· Grapes on continuing the Coach’s Corner tradition: “I knew that Rogers would never mess with the greatest segment on television. We’re going into our 29th season of Coach’s Corner, and we’re stronger than ever!”
Ron MacLean, Host
· MacLean, with more than 30 years of award-winning experience under his belt, will host Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, and will be front and centre on Sunday nights, the new night for hockey in Canada, hosting Hometown Hockey Community Celebration
· MacLean will also host Hockey Day in Canada, an important Canadian tradition for 14 years
· MacLean on Coach’s Corner and Hometown Hockey: “I’m thrilled about the way Rogers and Hockey Night in Canada intend to recognize the community in the new deal. Thirty-five million voices will play a part, and I’m simply honoured to be a part of the team. As for Grapes and me - year 29 is coming up. For 28 years, Don's been wired but now he's wireless. What a break.”
Daren Millard, Host
· Millard has been a member of Sportsnet’s broadcast team since the network’s inception in 1998. He will host Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet, starting this fall
· In addition, Millard will continue to host Hockey Central @ Noon, Canada’s No. 1 hockey talk radio show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and Sportsnet, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs regional hockey on Sportsnet
· Millard on his new role: "I’ve been at Sportsnet since day one, and I couldn’t be happier to have this new challenge of hosting NHL hockey on the national stage. It’s a privilege to work at Rogers and it’s going to be a privilege working with the likes of Cherry, MacLean and Stroumboulopoulos.”
Jeff Marek, Host
· Marek has been host of Hockey Central on Sportsnet since 2011, and was also the former host of Hockey Night in Canada Radio. He will host Thursday Night Hockey on Sportsnet 360, in addition to the weekend afternoon NHL pre-game shows on Sportsnet, starting this fall
· In addition to his NHL responsibilities, Marek will host Friday Night Hockey and the Memorial Cup
· Marek on his new role this October: "Twenty years ago, George and I used to sit in the producers’ room at The Fan 590 radio station in Toronto and talk about how we had to, one day, work in hockey together. So today’s a great day. To share a place in the presentation of the NHL with George, Daren, Ron and Don is both humbling and inspiring. And, I'm really excited to be part of my first hockey love – junior. The CHL, for anyone who knows me, holds a special place."