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.”
There are many slogans used to describe Saskatchewan. I think I added one Saturday morning. The tweet read "Saskatchewan---we don't change time and we go from 52 below one Saturday to zero the next." I then let Premier Brad Wall know he could have that if he wanted. Yes, he did retweet and favourite the comment as did many others. I actually think I was trending in Saskatchewan for a short time. That's scary! While I said he could have it if he wants it, I'll be choked just a little if the phrase shows up on a brochure or something. Somehow, I don't think I have to worry. Then again, Pat Fiacco might want it for Tourism Saskatchewan. I doubt it.
I'm sure Tim Hortons is just fooling us with the latest roll up the rim campaign. I'm 0-15 so far. I am the JP Arencibia of coffee drinkers I guess. Is anyone winning? I haven't heard of people winning a lot of free coffees, but you go into the store and it says X amount of people are winning so again---it just must make me the Arencibia of coffee drinkers. I'm sure soon to be graduating U of R journalism student Arielle Zerr is now reading this and fuming seeing she is one of the biggest Arencibia fans out there. Sorry Arielle!
Speaking of the Blue Jays, I had a chance to watch one of their games this weekend. There is still a thought out there this team can win the American League East. I just don't see it. The Yankees loaded up again, Baltimore is better, Tampa remains a solid club and the Red Sox are the Red Sox. It will be damn tough for that team to contend and they will have to win the in-division games to have a chance. Then again, they should be better than the Cubs. CSI may have to be called in at times after their pitching staff gets murdered by the likes of St. Louis, Cincy and Pittsburgh. Let the fun begin!
Another year where Saskatchewan fails at the Brier. I don't think Steve Laycock would have lasted long had his draw attempt in 10 not sailed through the house in his last round-robin game, but it is somewhat disturbing knowing another year has passed by and our Brier drought continues. Can we lobby Ottawa and get an order-in-council to mandate a Saskatchewan win? Can we find Kevin Martin a job in our province? Perhaps Sammy Richardson needs to dust off his slider.
Congrats to Kevin Koe. His rink wins the Tim Hortons Brier and will become the first Team Canada at the event in Calgary next year. However, adding Team Canada and Nunavut means some teams won't be there. A pre-qualification event will be held with Nunavut, the Yukon, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island competing with one team advancing. The reason Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are there is because of Brier wins from 2012-2014. Yes, this means the day could come where Saskatchewan isn't represented at Canada's national mens curling championship. This idea is just dumb. We stick with a bronze medal game, but eliminate some provinces. I'm not sure the Canadian Curling Association has thought this out. I'm OK with Team Canada and I actually think that is long overdue, but I'm not OK with some provinces not being included. Someone needs to enlighten me how this is supposed to improve the sport and grow it. Saying sorry you're not good enough is not a reason for me.
I will be honest here. Part of me is pulling for the Winnipeg Jets to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Yes, this Oiler fan feels somewhat dirty for saying that, but it had to be said. By the way, I love the fact the Jets play so many Saturday afternoon games. It gives us folk a chance to hit Highway 1 heading East Friday night or early Saturday morning, go to the game and then turn around and come back well before midnight on Saturday. The question now is "When do I take advantage of this and do it?" Hey Vanstone....ROADIE!!!!!!
The Swift Current Broncos aren't going away. This last week of the WHL season will be a great one with advantage going to the Broncos when it comes to the schedule to wind things down. The Pats have a huge game against Prince Albert Wednesday night. The Raiders are playing some great hockey and should be considered that team you don't want to play in the first round, but Regina might. With just two home games left, its time to get that playoff buzz in the building.
While on the topic of the Raiders, the greatest player to ever wear their jersey (no, not Curtis Hunt) had his uniform retired in Dallas on Saturday as the Stars paid tribute to Mike Modano. It was a great ceremony as all retirement ceremonies go, buy why were former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach there? Does Roger Staubach even know who Mike Modano is? It seemed strange.
It can't be easy for the Kootenay Ice right now with the Tim Bozon story floating above them, but they have to be congratulated. You can talk about model franchises in the league, but put the Ice right up there amongst the top. They clinched a playoff spot this week meaning for the 16th straight year they are going to the playoffs. They have had runs that have ended as WHL and Memorial Cup champs in those 16 years and the people of Cranbrook have never seen their team not make the playoffs. It only makes the playoff drought the Pats have had over the last umpteen years that much worse. We don't have to worry about that this year though do we. What would the longest streak be for the Pats when it comes to playoffs? They made it every year in the late 70's and 80's didn't they?
Less than two months away from the return of Jack Bauer. A new "24" starts May 5. Can't wait! This installment of the show will also star Yvonne Strahovski of "Chuck" and "Dexter" fame. I'm OK with this!
I can't believe the amount of people asking me about Kevin Glenn saying he would be a good fit here as the backup. With all due respect to Kevin, the Riders don't need him. Darian Durant is entrenched as the starter which is what Kevin wants to be. The cost for what would be a backup quarterback is too high and it prevents Tino Sunseri from perhaps being groomed as the next guy once Durant gives way in a couple of years. It just doesn't make sense. Some say he makes a good insurance policy should Darian get hurt and with the style of play he has that chance is likely. Its a valid argument, but its also a what-if. Lets roll the dice if it comes to that.
Would the Stampeders perhaps be smart in trying to get Glenn back? You have the oft-injured Drew Tate and the improving, but not proven as a starter Bo Levi Mitchell. Glenn had a great year under center last year for Calgary so bring him back and let him compete for that number one job. The price has to be right though and if the stories are correct, Ottawa is asking way too much. Rumour has it they want Winnipeg's first round pick from the Bombers. Rick Walters isn't that stupid. Joe Mack might have been.
Word out of Calgary is the CFL and the players association are miles apart on a new CBA. This league isn't stupid enough to have a work stoppage. I'm sure the players are being greedy because of new TV money and while the salary cup does deserve to go up a lot with the new TV money in there, lets just relax and take a reasonable approach to things. I can't even imagine what it would be like in these parts if there was no CFL in the summer because of a lockout or a strike.
CFL commish Marc Cohon surprised me at the Grey Cup when he announced during his "State of the League" address that the CFL had better ratings in the US than Major League Soccer. However, I read a report this week that staggered me even more and that report states more people are going to NHL games than NBA ones. The building is more full for hockey games than basketball games. This makes me wonder about that "No one cares in the US" attitude that is so prevalent and why no one is hopping on the "What is happening to the NBA" bandwagon. What this report doesn't do is break it down between Canada and the U-S. We all know that we jam our buildings to the seams in Canada and that doesn't happen in places like Florida and Nashville. Take the 6 Canadian teams out of the equation and what do the numbers say. Its still an interesting discussion.
How much does ego mean in the WWE? Quite a lot. Paul Levesque (Triple H) has a major role within the company as many wrestling fans know. In fact, I am told he does a lot of the booking or script-writing. Levesque should know the people want to see Daniel Bryan in the main event of the upcoming WrestleMania, but he is content in having a no marquee value bout between Randy Orton and Dave Batista as a "marquee" event with the belt up for grabs. This leaves the WWE's most popular wrestler in Bryan to fight you guessed it----Triple H. Don't be surprised to see this match be the final match at the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania in a couple of weeks. It will be somewhat sad to see the match for the belt which should be the last or 2nd to last bout likely be the 3rd last match or earlier because no one wants to see it. Its not quite in the same category as a Dixie Dragon vs Bucky McGraw match, but its close when it comes to viewer appeal.
George Stromboulopoulos as the new host of Hockey Night in Canada? Hearing that and word the new Rogers consortium is ready to add Paul Romanuk as its number 2 hockey guy behind Jim Hughson has me feeling a little ill. No offense, but what does George S know about hockey? We know he is a Habs fan. Where does this leave Ron McLean? Where does this leave Elliotte Friedman? Where does this leave PJ Stock? Oh wait, I've gone too far. There will be something definitely wrong in Canadian broadcasting if someone like Romanuk is doing hockey on a full time basis while other junior and junior A guys looking to take a step up get shafted as do the likes of my good friends Rod Pedersen and Peter Loubardias. Paul Romanuk? Cmon Rogers, you can do better than that can't you?
I'm not always sarcastic, sometimes I'm asleep!
I think that's about all for now. Have a great week!
Former Cardinals and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall announced his retirement Sunday. He didn't do it with a press conference. He did it with an article and its one every football fan should read as it is a powerful one and is one where I don't find a lot of flaws. You can read it by clicking here
It appears Ervin Santana's willingness to lower his asking price has pushed him closer to signing with a new team, and it seems the Blue Jays and Orioles are currently the favorites to land the veteran right-hander.
ESPN Deportes first reported Saturday that Santana, the top remaining free-agent pitcher on the market, agreed to a one-year deal worth about $14 million with the Blue Jays, but Santana and his representatives had set a 5 p.m. ET deadline for a better offer from the Orioles before accepting Toronto's offer.
According to FOX Sports, however, Santana has set no such deadline and is willing to wait before deciding to sign with a new team.
An industry source said Saturday that Santana had drawn interest from Toronto and at least one other team, but there were still some things to iron out. According to The Baltimore Sun, Santana received similar offers from the Blue Jays and Orioles, with Toronto's proposal considered more attractive.
The Blue Jays haven't commented on any of Saturday's reports, but with two spots in their rotation up for grabs, it makes sense that they would be interested in Santana at a discounted price. FOX Sports reported on Friday night that Santana was hoping to sign a one-year deal with a strong offensive team as soon as possible. The Blue Jays, Orioles, Rangers, Mariners and Royals had all been mentioned at various points as potential landing spots for the 31-year-old right-hander, who went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings for Kansas City last season.
Santana turned down the Royals' one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer in November, so if he signs with another club, that team will forfeit a Draft pick and the Royals will receive an extra pick in the Draft's compensatory round between the first and second rounds. The Blue Jays' first-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft is protected, and they actually have two first-rounders this year after not signing top pick Phil Bickford in 2013. So, if Toronto does reach an agreement with Santana, the club will only have to forfeit a second-round pick.
If the Orioles were to sign Santana, they would have to give up their third-round Draft pick.
The usual weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain
--As I look outside and see nothing but white, I am reminded baseball's opening day is less than a month away.
--The Buffalo Bills are not going to come to Toronto for their annual game this year. They say they'll be back. I doubt it. Kiss the NFL goodbye Toronto. Its not coming anytime soon.
--It would seem as if the Stampeders aren't interested in signing Nik Lewis to a contract extension. Can you imagine Nik in green? In the CFL, never say never---remember that!
--Kevin Glenn wants to be traded. I don't blame him for that because the REDBLACKS certainly did not give him a fair shake, but if he thinks he's starter material he's sadly mistaken. Where is he going to go? There is some talk he could end up in Saskatchewan. With all due respect to Glenn, making him the backup would be an insult to Tino Sunseri. He could be next up in a couple of years and its time to start developing him.
--Here's a legitimate question. On Tuesday night after trading Roberto Luongo, the Canucks went with Pat Conacher Junior as a backup in Phoenix. On the same night, the Oilers went with U of A goalie Kurtis Mucha even though many wanted Canadian womens national team goalie Shannon Szabados to have the honor. What happens if for whatever reason the "backup" has to play? Has that ever happened before? In Mucha's case it would be alright, but what goaltending experience does Conacher Junior (yes, he is former Pat coach Pat Conacher's son) have? St. Louis went with some rec league goalie once that they had to fish out of somewhere. What happens if this guy or gal actually had to play.
--Speaking of goalies, the injury to Pats goalie Daniel Wapple is hopefully not serious, but it did not look good when he went down against Edmonton Wednesday night. When Wapple gets back in the lineup, I hope he is wearing Pats colours for pads instead of his old Medicine Hat ones. Those ones must be extremely comfy for him.
--The Red Wings retired Nik Lidstrom's #5 on Thursday night. There is no doubt he is the best defenseman the NHL has seen in the last 25 years. Where does he rank overall? I would put him 3rd behind Orr and Coffey. The only reason I put Coffey ahead of Lidstrom is he sort of revolutionized the position by making a defenceman an offensive force.
--A tip of the cap to CTV's Darrell Romuld for an outstanding feature on my friend and co-worker Phil Andrews. Its on CTV Regina's webpage. For those that don't know Phil, you will after this. Its a great piece!
--I keep thinking Roger Goodell is joking when he says he wants converts to be placed at the 25 meaning a 43 yard PAT. That's just dumb! Its beyond dumb! Baltimore's Justin Tucker may be right when he says Goodell is trying to eliminate the kicker from the game. If you want a longer convert, make it a 30 yarder, but 43 is dumb. It baffles me as to why Goodell keeps trying to ruin what already is seen as the best game in the world by many. I hope Marc Cohon is not as dim when it comes to this as Goodell is.
--I will admit to being very surprised Sam Gagner is still with the Oilers. I like Gagner, but I thought he was headed somewhere at the trade deadline.
--Brian Lawton is as good on TV as he was on the ice.
--Who was the guy who wrote the jet to the female WestJet pilot? WOWWWWWW!!!! Someone needs to join the decade currently in progress!
--For my money, TSN's Sara Orlesky is the best female journalist out there right now. That includes those you find south of the border. In fact, the gap between Orlesky and some of the women broadcasters south of the border is a large one.
--The CRTC won't give us ESPN or Fox Sports One and now they say Canadian porn channels need more Canadian content. Who monitors this and where does one apply? There's a beaver joke in here somewhere but I will reluctantly let it pass.
--For those asking, my debut behind the mike on High Impact Wrestling on Access 7 is March 25. It is on that date that HIW and likely my life changes. I watched the first edition this past Tuesday and it seemed as if my Locker Talk partner Pete Paczko wasn't missing me. Hmmmmmmmm!!!!
--Good luck to the Cougar womens basketball team in Edmonton this weekend as they try to bring home a Canada West title and a trip to the nationals. A win over Saskatchewan Friday night will accomplish the latter.
--Whoever takes Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in the NFL draft is making a mistake. Manziel couldn't get it done against tough SEC teams like Auburn and Alabama who are monsters on defense. If he can't do it against them, what is he going to do against NFL caliber defenses.
--After being off my satellite radio since January, the Dan Patrick show has resumed. I would love the opportunity to have a beer or three with Patrick or Colin Cowherd. They are my favourites.
--Is there some kind of discount at Regina car dealers for cars that don't have signal-lights. It would seem as if many in Regina are driving those types of vehicles these days----especially when conditions are less than ideal!
New head coach Tom Higgins introduced the coaching staff for the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday, which includes three former coaches from the Quebec football conference.
Noel Thorpe returns as the team's defensive coordinator and adds assistant head coach and defensive backs coach to his responsibilities this season. In 2011 and 2012, Thorpe was part of the Université de Montréal coaching staff.
The team's new offensive coordinator is Rick Worman. He is returning to the CFL after a brief stint with Mississippi Valley State University. A former quarterback in the CFL, Worman has been a part of two Grey Cup championships over his coaching career. In 2012, he served as a scout for the Ottawa RedBlacks.
Ryan Dinwiddie returns for a second season as quarterbacks coach and is expected to work closer with the rest of the offensive staff. Erik Campbell also returns for his second season as receivers coach as does Mark Speckman as running backs coach.
Former Université de Sherbrooke head coach André Bolduc will make his CFL coaching debut as the team's offensive quality control coach and special teams assistant. Jean-Vincent Posy-Audette, a former member of Bolduc's staff at Sherbrooke, is the team's new defensive assistant and special teams assistant.
Former defensive end Anwar Stewart will make his coaching debut in 2014 after being named the club's new defensive quality control coach. Stewart spent 13 years in the CFL.
Tim Bozon, a member of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice, is in critical condition at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital suffering from meningitis.
Bozon was admitted to RUH on Saturday, where he was diagnosed with Neisseria Meningitis, according to Saskatchewan Health. Just one night earlier, the native of Switzerland had scored a goal in Kootenay’s win over the host Saskatoon Blades at Credit Union Centre.
Bozon’s parents, Helene and Phillippe, arrived Sunday from Switzerland.
“Our Timmy is keeping fighting …. Thank you so much for your wonderful wishes,” Bozon’s parents wrote on Bozon’s official Twitter account.
Bozon was drafted in 64th overall in 2012 by the Montreal Canadiens.
Several teams, including the Ice and Blades, are being offered Prophylaxis, normally an oral antibiotic, for one to two days. According to Saskatchewan Health, only those who may have come in contact with oral secretions are considered vulnerable.
“In (the) case of sports teams it becomes a bit more complicated because teams may share water bottles etc; and be in close contact with teams they play against; so other teams and referees are also being considered close contacts,” according to Saskatchewan Health.
This is a Regina sports blog with a focus on everything going on in the world of sports and whatever else interests me. I'm a freelance Regina sportscaster who is never afraid to let his views on sports be known, and is never afraid to cheer on Regina's teams because they are a major part of the fabric that makes Regina the great city it is.