Rogers has unveiled its new “all-star” broadcast lineup, but its doesn’t appear that Canada’s regional hockey markets will get the benefit of the network’s now monopolistic status.
Last November, Rogers signed a 12-year, $5.2-billion deal, giving the broadcaster rights to all nationally televised hockey games and control of the CBC’s flagship program, Hockey Night in Canada.
Much of the new talent lineup (announced Thursday) reflects the transferred ownership of Hockey Night‘s services, with “new additions” like Glenn Healy, Kelly Hrudey, Craig Simpson, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, P.J. Stock, and Garry Galley, all of whom come to Rogers from the CBC.
Longtime play-by-play callers Bob Cole and Jim Hughson also head to Rogers from the CBC and Hockey Night.
(See the full Rogers Sportsnet on-air hockey lineup here.)
Mike Johnson and Darren Pang are heading to Rogers from TSN, the rival network that managed to retain the majority of its well-known on-air talent, even in this new dawn for televised hockey in Canada.
Vancouver radio personality Rick Ball – who has worked with the CBC for the past three seasons and with TEAM 1040 and the Canucks for the past six – also joins Rogers, but he’ll be leaving Vancouver to be the new team’s voice of the Calgary Flames.
For Canucks broadcasts, John Shorthouse and John Garrett will man the TV helm, returning to the positions they already had last season and before.
But the majority of the blood is flowing to the network’s head in Toronto, where Rogers will surely air its in-studio panels and analysis shows and, of course, Hockey Night in Canada. The longtime Saturday night program, now 62 years old, will be hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos and Ron MacLean, as well as established Sportsnet anchors Darren Millard and Jeff Marek and newcomer Leah Hextall.
Rogers still hasn’t announced whether it will be replacing Don Taylor and Craig McEwen, who were both let go from Sportsnet’s Pacific bureau earlier this month, or what its plans are for its Vancouver operation.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun last Friday, Taylor said he felt for a long time that Rogers would work to concentrate its network in Toronto and pull back from its regional coverage – even its regional existence.
“Once they got that big (NHL) contract, Rogers’ famous $5.2 billion, all of us got thinking that they’d have to start cutting back in other areas,” Taylor said. “One area they thought they might cut was the Pacific region and sure enough they did.
“I don’t think that 10 o’clock show, the Pacific show we called it, will be done out here anymore. That will be done from Toronto. I am out of the loop but I think the morning show will still be done out here. I figured it made more sense to do it the other way around.”
The Connected Morning show is currently hosted from Vancouver by James Cybulski and Caroline Cameron.