Hockey Night in Canada (often abbreviated Hockey Night or HNIC) is a branding used for Canadian television presentations of the National Hockey League. While the name has been used for all NHL broadcasts on CBC Television (regardless of the time of day), Hockey Night in Canada is primarily associated with its Saturday night NHL broadcasts, a practice originating from Saturday NHL broadcasts that began in 1931 on the CNR Radio network and continued on its successors, and debuting on television beginning in 1952. Initially only airing a single game weekly, the modern incarnation airs a weekly double-header, with game times normally at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. (ET). The broadcast features various segments during the intermissions and between games (such as Don Cherry's Coach's Corner), as well as pre and post-game coverage of the night's games.
The Hockey Night in Canada brand is owned by the CBC and was exclusively used by CBC Sports through the end of the 2013–14 NHL season. Beginning in the 2014–15 NHL season, the brand is being licensed to Rogers Communications for Sportsnet-produced Saturday NHL broadcasts airing on CBC Television as well as the Rogers-owned City and Sportsnet networks. Rogers had secured exclusive national multimedia rights to NHL games beginning in 2014–15, and sub-licensed Saturday night and playoff games to CBC.
Hockey Night in Canada has its origins in the General Motors Hockey Broadcast which transmitted Saturday night hockey games of the Toronto Maple Leafs beginning in November of 1931 over the Canadian National Railway radio network. In 1933, the CNR's successor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC), commenced broadcasts of Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons games on its Quebec stations. In 1934, Imperial Oil of Canada took over the sponsorship from General Motors Products of Canada and the broadcast became known as the Imperial Esso Hockey Broadcast. The broadcasts began at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (around the start of the second period of play). Starting in 1936, the games were broadcast on the CRBC's successor, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The series acquired its present title around the same time, coined by Foster Hewitt. In much of Ontario and points west the show featured the Maple Leafs and were hosted by Gordon Calder with play-by-play announcer Hewitt and colour commentator Percy Lesueur. Montreal broadcasts were hosted by Doug Smith and Elmer Ferguson broadcast for Montreal Maroons games in English and René Lecavalier broadcast Montreal Canadiens games in French. After the Maroons folded in 1938, Smith and Ferguson provided English broadcasts of Canadiens games. The great popularity of the radio show (and its announcer Foster Hewitt) across Canada made it an obvious choice for early Canadian network television programming.
Although never carried on any U.S. stations, the Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts became quite popular among listeners in the northern United States. If a U.S.-based team (located in either Boston, Chicago, Detroit or New York City) was playing in Toronto on a particular Saturday night, thousands of fans in the U.S. city whose local team faced the Leafs would often listen to the CBC broadcast via skywave reception, with the game often drawing far more listeners during the HNIC broadcast period than any local station. CBC Radio aired Saturday night HNIC broadcasts through 1965, then Sunday Night NHL Hockey through 1976 after which the games moved exclusively to television coverage nationally. In Toronto, CFRB (originally a CNR Radio affiliate) continued to simulcast Maple Leaf games for many years alongside CBC Radio's Toronto station CBL.
Hockey Night in Canada began airing on Saturday nights on CBC Television in 1952, just weeks after television broadcasting commenced in Canada, retaining Esso as sponsor. It continued to feature regular season NHL games on the English network every Saturday evening during the NHL season and retained many of the features such as the Hot Stove Lounge and the three stars selection which originated as an Imperial Oil gasoline promotion and survived even as sponsorship eventually passed from Imperial to Molson and, later, Labatt.
Until the 1990s, there was only one game televised each Saturday night in any particular locality and up to 1968, regular season games were still not broadcast in their entirety. In the 1950s, the HNIC telecast followed the lead of the radio broadcast by coming on the air at 9:00 p.m. ET, with the game typically being joined in progress either just before the start or during the early portion of the second period. In the early 1960s, the broadcast time was moved ahead to 8:30 p.m. ET, which allowed the game to be joined in progress late in the first period. Starting in the fall of 1968, regular-season games were shown in their entirety with a broadcast start time of 8 p.m. ET. Beginning with the 1966–67 NHL season, all games broadcast on HNIC were in colour.
In 1970–71, the Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL, meaning that there were now three possible venues for an HNIC telecast. During the 1979–80 and 1980–81, 4 more Canadian teams, the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames, joined the NHL. The Oilers and Flames were featured frequently; in contrast, as Quebec Nordiques were owned by Carling-O'Keefe, a rival to the show's sponsor Molson, they were rarely shown.
After Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, the network began showing occasional double-headers when Canadian teams visited Los Angeles to showcase the country's most popular player. These games were often joined in progress as the regular start time for HNIC was still 8 pm ET and the Kings home games began at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time (10:30 pm ET). Beginning in the 1995 season, weekly double-headers became the norm, with games starting at 7:30 pm ET and 7:30 PT (10:30pm ET, respectively. CBC claims that Instant replay made its debut on a 1955 HNIC broadcast. CBC director George Retzlaff made a kinescope recording of a goal, and replayed it to the television audience seconds later.
Olympic women's ice hockey champion Cassie Campbell joined Hockey Night in Canada as a rinkside reporter, becoming (on October 14, 2006) the first woman to do color commentary on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
On July 23, 2010, Trevor Pilling was named the executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, replacing Sherali Najak.
In September of 2012, Steve Sloan and Joel Darling were named co-executive producers of Hockey Night in Canada. Trevor Pilling was promoted to the head of CBC Sports programming.
CBC's current deal with the NHL began runs through the 2013-2014 season, a deal that will be replaced in 2014-15 by a sub-licencing deal with Rogers Communications (see below). The deal includes airings of games on the conventional over-the-air CBC Television network as well as carriage of those broadcasts through digital media including CBC Sports. The deal came after controversy and discussion before and during the 2006-07 NHL season, when private broadcaster CTV globemedia attempted to acquire exclusive Canadian distribution rights to the NHL for its own networks including broadcast network CTV and cable channels TSN and RDS. Such a package, which would have left CBC without NHL hockey, would have increase TSN's previously existing coverage of NHL games. The attempt also came at a time when CTV globe media had outbid the CBC for Canadian television rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympics (along with Rogers Media) as well as the major television package for curling. Despite the rumors, it always seemed that CTV was unlikely to be interested in the nightly playoff coverage currently provided by the CBC since weeknight games in April and May would conflict with new episodes of CTV's slate of American programming. As well, the title Hockey Night in Canada could not be used as the name is owned by CBC unless CTV globemedia paid royalties to CBC for use of the name. The current deal with CBC and TSN maintains the 50-plus-year tradition of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, but also allows TSN to expand its coverage. A caveat of the deal limits CBC to the number of games per Canadian team it can show so that the seven Canadian-based teams, particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs, can distribute more games to regional carriers, thereby increasing the value of their local packages.
In addition to television coverage, CBC produces a daily programming, Hockey Night in Canada Radio, that premiered October 1, 2007 on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 122 (aka Sports Play-by-Play 1). While the broadcaster trumpeted HNIC Radio's launch as the return "back to the radio airwaves" for HNIC, the programming does not feature actual game coverage. Sirius' HNIC Radio is separate entity on which only a few of CBC's HNIC commentators regularly appear. After the merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio was completed, the show moved to NHL Network Radio, which is found on Sirius channel 207 and XM channel 211.
2014: Takeover by RogersEdit
In negotiations for a new contract with CBC, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had reportedly recognized the broadcaster's financial difficulties, and had offered CBC a smaller package which would have consisted of a national doubleheader on Saturday nights (as opposed to regional coverage of multiple games), reduced playoff coverage, and the loss of digital rights and the All-Star Game. Rights to the remaining properties not covered under the CBC's contract would have been offered to other broadcasters. However, CBC Sports' staff, including executive director Jeffrey Orridge, continued to insist that it have exclusivity for every Saturday night game involving Canadian teams. In turn, CBC was unable to reach a deal; the league had reportedly aimed for its next round of Canadian television contracts to have a value of at least $3.2 billion in total. BCE (owners of Bell Media and previous cable rightsholder TSN) made a bid for sole national rights to the NHL, and attempted to contact the CBC in regards to forming a partnership. However, CBC Sports' staff did not respond. In turn, Rogers Communications also made a bid of its own.
On November 26, 2013, the NHL announced a 12-year deal with Rogers for exclusive television and digital media rights to all national NHL broadcasts beginning in the 2014-15 season; the deal was valued at $5.2 billion, twice as much as what NBC paid for its own long-term contract with the league in 2011. As part of the deal, CBC sub-licensed a package of games from Rogers, allowing the network to continue airing Hockey Night in Canada at least the first four seasons of the agreement (2014–15 thru 2017–18). The last CBC-produced Hockey Night broadcast aired on June 13, 2014, when the Los Angeles Kings clinched the Stanley Cup in a four-games-to-one Final series over the New York Rangers; the broadcast closed with a season-ending montage, set to Queen's "The Show Must Go On" that included highlights from the season and playoffs interspersed with images and sounds from CBC's six decades of NHL coverage.
The new season marked a significant change in format for Hockey Night, as games are no longer split by region. Instead, CBC is joined by Rogers' over-the-air City network, the Sportsnet family of specialty channels, and FX Canada, who air other games nationally alongside CBC and share the Hockey Night in Canada branding. Decisions on network assignments for the games are made on a week-by-week basis, and ensure that viewers have on-air access to every Hockey Night game as they are being played. CBC continues to feature coverage of the NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, though it may be possible for coverage of the latter to be simulcast on a Rogers network if needed. The NHL Winter Classic aired in 2015 on CBC, but moved exclusively to Sportsnet the following year.
CBC does not pay any rights fees to Rogers or the NHL; however, Rogers assumed responsibility for production and all advertising sales during the telecasts. CBC does not receive any advertising revenue, although Rogers agreed to include promotions for CBC programming in its Hockey Night telecasts on the network, and the corporation still receives some revenue from Rogers for its use of CBC-employed production staff and personalities during the games (such as producers Joel Darling and Sherali Najak), along with its rent of offices and Studio 41 of the Canadian Broadcasting Centre for both Hockey Night and Sportsnet's overall coverage.Hockey Night in Canada had been a financial boon for CBC Television, which by one estimate received half of its total advertising revenue from the broadcasts. In order to assign responsibility for the content of the telecasts, compliance with regulatory guidelines, and advertising to Rogers, the HNIC broadcasts are broadcast on a part-time television network owned by Rogers' Sportsnet subsidiary, which is affiliated with CBC's English-language television stations. A license for this arrangement was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in April 2015.
The loss of NHL rights came as other reductions in funding and revenue had been occurring at CBC, which in turn led the Crown-owned public broadcaster to make budgetary, staffing, and programming cuts in its overall services; it also led to a decision by CBC in April 2014 to no longer directly compete for NHL or other pro sports broadcast rights. Among the staff members laid off were the advertising sales staff who handled Hockey Night under CBC. CBC President Hubert T. Lacroix, in an internal memo to staff notifying them of the Rogers deal, noted that though the arrangement with Rogers "may not be the ideal scenario" for the CBC, he felt the network would have suffered a major blow in prestige had it been shut out from NHL broadcasts entirely. Lacroix believed the deal "is the right outcome for Canadian hockey fans," as it allows Hockey Night in Canada to remain on CBC and be made available to a wider audience and at a low cost to the broadcaster, especially in the lead-up to the 2015 Pan-American Games and 2016 Summer Olympics, whose broadcast rights are owned by the CBC. CBC staff also described the agreement as a "structured exit" from NHL coverage in the event that Rogers does not extend the agreement.
Rogers' Hockey Night is guided by Scott Moore, who was named to the position of president of Sportsnet and its NHL coverage in January 2014; Moore has been with Rogers Media since 2010, and previously served as president of CBC Sports. After announcing its deal, Rogers set forth on reviewing on-air content and production of games and ancillary content, including the retaining and sharing of announcers and other personnel. The first major reveal of Hockey Night's new look came on March 10, 2014, when CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulos was tapped to become studio host of Hockey Night and City's Sunday night Hometown Hockey package, working alongside Sportsnet's Daren Millard and Jeff Marek. The hire of "Strombo," who is an alum of Toronto sports radio station CJCL and had been hosting his own CBC talk show (which ended its 10-year run in 2014), has been seen as an effort by Rogers to expand Hockey Night's appeal toward a younger demographic.
Though Ron MacLean ceded hosting duties for Hockey Night to Stroumboulopoulos, he remains alongside Don Cherry on the Coach's Corner segment, and serves as the on-location host of Sportsnet's Hometown Hockey games. Cherry, who has been termed as "iconic" by Rogers resident Keith Pelley, remains under contract with CBC through 2018. Besides MacLean and Cherry, several other CBC Hockey Night veterans continued in roles with HNIC and Rogers' NHL coverage, including game announcers Jim Hughson and Bob Cole, analysts Glenn Healy, Craig Simpson, Harry Neale, Garry Galley, Greg Millen, and JP Stock, and reporters Scott Russell, Scott Oake, and Cassie Campbell-Pascall. New hires include game announcers Dave Randorf, Paul Romanuk, and Mike Johnson.
Content and features on Hockey Night are spread out and featured on CBC, City, and Sportsnet, including Coach's Corner, which will remain for at least two years according to TSN personality Bob McKenzie.
The brokerage agreement between CBC and Rogers reduced CBC's total advertising revenue, which fell by 37% during the final three months of 2014, in comparison to 2013. Industry analysts reported that, despite the increased promotion for other CBC programming that is available through the arrangement, that CBC may experience even larger losses in advertising revenue during the Stanley Cup Playoffs due to games nearly every night over its duration.
In June 2016, Rogers announced that Strombopolous was leaving the show and that MacLean will be returning to host with David Amber. MacLean will host the early game along with continuing to co-host Coach's Corner, while Amber will be hosting the late game. MacLean will also be continuing as host of Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sundays.
Hockey Night in Canada coverage typically begins at 6:30 P.M. ET, a little more than 30 minutes prior to the opening faceoff of the first games with the pre-game show, Hockey Central Saturday, hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos and a panel of Sportsnet personalities.
Prior to the Rogers takeover, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight aired prior to the first game, which was hosted by Ron MacLean, Kelly Hrudey and Mike Milbury, if he was not on assignment for NBC.
The first game of the Saturday night doubleheader typically originates in Eastern Canada, beginning at 7 pm ET/4 p.m. PT. CBC stations air the night's featured game, usually involving the Toronto Maple Leafs. The broadcast team usually consists of CBC/Sportsnet lead broadcast team of Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson. Prior to the 2014–15 season, additional games involving Canadian teams were split to air regionally on different parts of the country; for example, Winnipeg Jets games were often seen in Central Canada, and Ottawa Senators games in the Ottawa area and Eastern Canada. As of the 2015–16 season, the second-most important game is allocated to Sportsnet, and the remaining game to City or other Sportsnet channels if needed. Commentator teams for these games include Paul Romanuk and Garry Galley (games in Montreal) and Bob Cole and Greg Millen (games in Ottawa) and broadcasters of teams that are regionally contracted to Sportsnet, if needed. While second-tier games were typically shown on City in the inaugural season, these games were moved to Sportsnet (with City sometimes airing all-U.S. games or simply simulcasting CBC's game) in order to encourage pay television subscriptions.
At the end of the 1st period, MacLean hosts Coach's Corner, featuring himself and former NHL Coach of the Year Don Cherry. On Coach's Corner, Cherry analyzes the game's first period, shares his opinions on current issues surrounding the sport or league, and gives tips on various points of hockey, with MacLean acting as Cherry's foil. There are times in which Cherry tends to be controversial; for example, in 2003, Cherry stated that the majority of players wearing facial protection in the NHL are French-Canadians and Europeans (though a study done by a lawyer confirmed Cherry's assertion). In any case, this controversy led to "Coach's Corner" being put on a 7-second delay for the rest of the season by the CBC. The 7-second delay has been subsequently removed from the broadcast, although the segment is still only shown live during the telecast of the first game that enters the first intermission. The theme music played in the opening is "Flame Of Victory", from the Network Music production library. There are also interviews with players in between periods, during which the players often brandish towels with the HNIC logo on it.
The second game airs at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT, 8 p.m MT) originating from a Mountain or Pacific Time Zone city and usually featuring one of the three teams from Western Canada (the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, or occasionally Winnipeg Jets). Since hurry-up faceoffs were introduced, it is extremely rare that a regular season game runs longer than 3 hours, and every double-header game is seen in its entirety. The broadcast team usually consists of Dave Randorf, Louie DeBrusk, and Dan Murphy although sometimes Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson alongside secondary analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall call the late game if it is deemed to be the marquee game of the night. Scott Oake is usually the ice-level reporter.
Beginning in the 2013 NHL season, the first intermission of the second game features a short analysis segment with Ron MacLean and Don Cherry, followed by the segments Inside the Game, and Scoreboard Saturday—which features highlights from earlier games.
Only on rare occasions has HNIC broadcast regular-season games involving two U.S.-based teams, and this has usually been due to exceptional circumstances. Special occasions have included Wayne Gretzky's final game in 1999 (which actually took place on a Sunday afternoon), the retirement of Steve Yzerman's jersey in 2007, Sidney Crosby's comeback game in Pittsburgh against the New York Islanders in 2011, and the league's major outdoor games (such as the Winter Classic (though the 2014 edition and 2016 editions featured a Canadian team) and the Stadium Series (though the 2018 edition featured a Canadian team).
Game 2 is followed by a post-game show; from the 2000–01–2014–15, CBC aired After Hours, an extended post-game show that Scott Oake and Kevin Weekes hosted most recently. The program featured a wrap-up of the night's games, along with an extended interview and viewer questions with an NHL player or coach. Following After Hours, and late local newscasts in the west, CBC previously aired Hockey Night in Canada Replay—an abbreviated encore of the night's featured game. After Hours and the encore presentation was discontinued as of the 2014–15 season. After Hours was revived for the 2016–17 season.
Peter Puck (a series of three-minute animated shorts produced by Hanna-Barbera) were regular between-periods features on HNIC (and on NBC's NHL telecasts in the U.S.) in the 1970s.
CBC also provides extensive Stanley Cup playoff coverage every spring with a focus on Canadian teams. They also have exclusive English-language rights to the Stanley Cup Finals. While its playoff coverage and rights to the Finals will continue under the Rogers sub-licensing agreement, coverage will be shared with Sportsnet.
For years, all playoff games involving Canadian teams were aired by the CBC, though not always on a national basis. From 2008–2014, rights to individual series were instead picked using a draft-like setup; in the first round, CBC 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th selections among opening round series, and TSN had the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th selections. CBC tended to select series involving at least one Canadian team and series involving teams with strong Canadian fanbases (such as Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, and Pittsburgh); as a result of this arrangement, if more than 2 Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs, it was likely that at least 1 series involving a Canadian team would be broadcast by TSN.
During the first 3 rounds of the playoffs, the NHL usually gives higher priority to NBC's requests to schedule afternoon games on the weekends, which results in little or no post-season contests on Saturday nights. This may include holding a playoff game on Saturday afternoon even if a Canadian club is the home team (like Game 1 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final hosted by Montreal Canadiens).
Hockey Day in CanadaEdit
Since 2000, the CBC has aired an annual special Hockey Day in Canada broadcast to celebrate the game in Canada. The broadcast includes hockey-related features all afternoon, leading up to a tripleheader of NHL action featuring the seven Canadian teams (Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets). One exception was the 2008 edition that featured four games including two American teams (Detroit and Colorado) along with the six Canadian teams; this was due to the NHL's schedule format at the time, as there was no inter-conference games between Canadian teams. Lead commentators, Don Cherry and Ron MacLean broadcast from a remote area. The broadcast includes live broadcast segments from smaller communities right across the country and features panel discussions on issues facing "Canada's game" at both the minor and pro levels. The day is usually in mid-February, but was broadcast in early January in 2002 and 2006 due to the 2002 Winter Olympics and 2006 Winter Olympics, respectively; the 2007 event was also held in January (January 13), though no sporting events key to Canada were scheduled. The 2010 events were held on January 30 because of the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in February. The 2014 event was held on January 18 due to the 2014 Winter Olympics, which were held from February 8 to February 24.
Hockey Day in Canada has also featured special events, such as world-record all-night pick-up hockey games from Red Deer, Alberta (in 2001) and Windsor, Nova Scotia (2002). Viewers got to see the games after the CBC ended regular programming for the night, without commentary.
Hockey Day in Canada was held in Whitehorse, Yukon on February 12, 2011. The Edmonton Oilers hosted the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs visited the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks welcomed the Calgary Flames.
With the arrival of the new Winnipeg Jets for the 2011-12 NHL season, there was an odd number of Canadian teams in the NHL, meaning HDIC again required the presence of an American team. This season, the Jets played the Pittsburgh Penguins.
HDIC will continue under the Rogers arrangement, with Scotiabank becoming title sponsor. As Sportsnet also holds national broadcast rights to the Canadian Hockey League, the 2015 edition included a primetime QMJHL game between the hosting Halifax Mooseheads and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
- 2000: Toronto, Ontario (February 19th)
- 2001: Red Deer, Alberta (February 24th)
- 2002: Windsor, Nova Scotia (January 5th)
- 2003: Iqaluit, Nunavut (February 15th)
- 2004: Shaunavon, Saskatchewan (February 21st)
- 2005: No Hockey Day in Canada due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout
- 2006: Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador (January 7th)
- 2007: Nelson, British Columbia (January 13th)
- 2008: Winkler, Manitoba (February 9th)
- 2009: Campbellton, New Brunswick (February 21st)
- 2010: Stratford, Ontario (January 30th)
- 2011: Whitehorse, Yukon (February 12th)
- 2012: Prince Edward Island (February 11th)
- 2013: Peterborough, Ontario (February 9th)
- 2014: Lloydminster, Alberta (January 18th)
In January of 2005, due to the NHL lockout, the CBC cancelled that year's broadcast. Rival TSN aired a similar broadcast instead "Hockey Lives Here: Canada's Game" based from the World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. It also featured NHL players competing in an exhibition game to raise money for various charities in Hamilton, Ontario. TSN did not revive its version after the lockout ended.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, CBC replaced Hockey Night in Canada with a block of Saturday night movies branded as Movie Night in Canada, hosted by Ron MacLean from various junior hockey venues. A labour deal was reached in time to contest the 2005–06 NHL season.
CBC's own on-air talent was also locked out during the summer of 2005, nearly missing the start of the hockey season. Some journalists have suggested that this helped cause TSN and the CFL to end their sublicense deal with CBC after the 2007 season, as games from that league aired without commentary during the lockout.
During the 1994-95 and 2012-13 lockouts, the CBC ran classic Hockey Night in Canada games in its place. During the latter of the two lockouts, the games were selected by viewer polls at HNIC's website.
Availability outside of CanadaEdit
As mentioned previously, during the era that HNIC was on radio, it was broadcast over several powerful CBC clear-channel stations whose nighttime signals reached much of the northern United States. As a result, the games had a following throughout the northern U.S., and especially so in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and New York, the four U.S. cities that had NHL teams at the time. Foster Hewitt always acknowledged these listeners in his opening greeting, "Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland" (before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949; the line is immortalized in the opening montage of today's Hockey Night telecasts). This continued into the television era (despite waning in recent years with the expansion of local team TV coverage on regional sports networks), although some C-band satellite dishes can still receive the CBC's over-the-air feeds. U.S. cable television outlets near the international border (including markets such as Metro Detroit (which includes Windsor, Ontario); Seattle, Washington; Buffalo, New York; Burlington, Vermont and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) typically carry a nearby CBC affiliate on their systems (though some cable systems carry a non-regional station). As a general rule, CBC stations are carried within about 150 miles of the border, and are not blacked out of sporting events.
Beginning with the 2008–09 season, Hockey Nights main games were simulcast weekly in the United States on NHL Network, complete with pre- and post-game shows. If U.S.-based teams appear in these games, the telecast is blacked out in the markets of the participating teams or is televised instead by the U.S. team's local broadcaster. For example, if the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins in "Hockey Night"'s main game, the NHL Network's telecast is blacked-out in the Boston area and the game is instead televised by the Boston-based New England Sports Network (NESN). In the 2009-10 season, only the first game of the HNIC doubleheader is simulcast live on NHL Network, with the second game and post-game After Hours program being shown in tape delay on Sunday, the sole exception being the Hockey Day in Canada event. Since the Rogers takeover, however, HNIC games on NHL Network now feature games regardless of broadcaster (either CBC or a Rogers network).
NHL Center Ice offers some Hockey Night in Canada games at the same time as the CBC broadcast. Usually these games are the regional Hockey Night games from either Ottawa or Montreal. Center Ice usually only shows the 7 p.m. ET games because the late games are usually national.
Beginning with the 2006 playoffs, the NBC networks (originally OLN and Versus) simulcast the CBC's coverage of some games, generally first and second round match-ups from Western Canada, instead of using their own crews and announcers. In the early 1990s, SportsChannel America covered the Stanley Cup playoffs in a similar fashion. Versus, and its current incarnation as NBCSN, continues to use CBC and Sportsnet feeds to augment its own playoff coverage, sometimes even picking up a Canadian broadcast of a game involving two American teams.
Hockey Night in Canada is also broadcast live (and occasionally as-live) in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ESPN and ESPN America. When the broadcast is shown on the main ESPN channel it is also available in high definition on ESPN HD. The pre- and post-game segments are not included, but the entirety of the two games are shown, as well as the segments between periods.
Hockey Night in Canada is also seen in some other European markets on ESPN America, distributed on multiple cable and satellite platforms.
Until its closure in 2014, Canadian Forces Radio and Television rebroadcast HNIC games to Canadian Forces members stationed overseas.
Hockey Night in Canada is available on Cayman 27 in the Cayman Islands as part of their regular Saturday night programming.
- Jim Hughson: 1985–1986, 2005–present
- Paul Romanuk: 2014–present
- Bob Cole: 1973–present
- Dave Randorf: 2014–present
- Rick Ball: 2011–present
- Harnarayan Singh: 2008–present
- Bhupinder Hundal: 2014–present
Color commentators Edit
- Craig Simpson: 2007–present
- Garry Galley: 2007–present
- Cassie Campbell-Pascall: 2006–present
- Greg Millen: 1995–1998, 1999–present
- Louie DeBrusk: 2016–present
- Kelly Hrudey: 1998–present
- John Garrett: 1986–1998, 2014–present
- Randip Janda: 2014-present
- Harpreet Pandher: 2014-present
- Bhupinder Hundal: 2014-present
Rinkside reporters Edit
- Scott Russell: 1989–present
- David Amber: 2011–present
- Cassie Campbell-Pascall: 2006–present
- Elliotte Friedman: 2003–present
- Scott Oake: 1988–present
- Christine Simpson: 2014–present
Studio hosts Edit
- Ron MacLean: 1986–present
- David Amber: 2016–present
Studio analysts Edit
- Don Cherry: 1981–present
- Elliotte Friedman: 2012–present
- Nick Kypreos: 2014–present
- Kelly Hrudey: 1998–2012, 2016–present
Current broadcast teams Edit
Prior to the 2014–15 season, Hockey Night in Canada was split regionally in various CBC stations. As of this season, it is now split with CBC Television, City, and selected Sportsnet channels. Before Sportsnet acquired national NHL broadcast rights, CBC Television used to have fixed broadcast teams. After Sportsnet acquired the rights the quantity of nationally televised games have increased and there is no fixed broadcast teams. Sportsnet has mixed in its own broadcasters with some of the original crew and they all shuffle weekly for which Canadian market team they do play by play and color commentary they do.
- Dean Brown: 2000–2014
- Chris Cuthbert: 1984–2004
- Ken Daniels: 1992–1997
- Bill Hewitt: 1958–1982
- Foster Hewitt: 1952–1960
- Danny Gallivan: 1952–1984
- Dick Irvin, Jr.: 1984–1999
- Dan Kelly: 1977–1980
- Mark Lee: 1997–2014
- Jim Robson: 1970–1985
- Parminder Singh: 2008–2010
- Don Wittman: 1979–2008
Color commentators Edit
- Keith Dancy: 1952–1966
- Marc Crawford: 1998–1999, 2008–2009
- John Davidson: 1983–1986, 1998–2006
- Gary Dornhoefer: 1978–1989
- Gerry Pinder: 1978–1981
- Pat Flatley: 1998–2000
- Bob Goldham: 1960–1975
- Foster Hewitt: 1958–1967
- Brian Hayward: 1995–2004
- Dick Irvin, Jr.: 1966–1999
- Don Marshall: 1977–1980
- Pit Martin: 1979–1980
- Brian McFarlane: 1964–1983
- Howie Meeker: 1969–1987
- Harry Neale: 1986–2008
- Bobby Orr: 1977–1980
- Jim Peplinski: 1990–1995, 1997
- Walter Pratt: 1970–1978
- Chico Resch: 1978 playoffs, 1988
- Steve Shutt: 1990–1994
- Kevin Weekes: 2009–2014
- Inderpreet Cumo: 2011–2014
- Bhola Chauhan: 2011–2014
- Surinder Chahal: 2014–2015
Rinkside reporters Edit
- Chris Cuthbert: 1984–2004
- Martine Gaillard: 1998–2004
- Brenda Irving: 2001–2006
- Jeff Marek: 2009–2011
- Andi Petrillo: 2011–2014
- John Wells: 1979–1984
- Mitch Peacock: 2010-2014
- Bruce Rainnie: 2003–2014
Studio hosts Edit
- Mike Anscombe: 1970–1972
- Ward Cornell: 1958–1971
- Ted Darling: 1955–1970
- Jack Dennett: 1959-1975
- Bill Good, Jr.: 1970–1977
- Dave Hodge: 1971–1987
- Dick Irvin, Jr.: 1966–1999
- Brian McFarlane: 1964–1989
- Wes McKnight: 1952–1958
- Ted Reynolds: 1970–1976
- Frank Selke, Jr.: 1960–1965
- George Stroumboulopoulos: 2014–2016
Studio analysts Edit
- Rick Bowness: 1993–1996 playoffs
- Damien Cox: 2014–2016
- Howie Meeker: 1969–1987
- Walter Pratt: 1970–1980
- P.J. Stock: 2007–2016
- Red Storey: 1970–1977
- Kevin Weekes: 2013–2014
The television show's original theme song was "Saturday's Game", a march composed by Howard Cable. The CBC and the advertising agency responsible for the broadcasts at the time, MacLaren Advertising, later replaced the tune with the "Esso Happy Motoring Song."
1968-2008: The Hockey ThemeEdit
The companies later commissioned the composition of yet another theme "The Hockey Theme" composed in 1968 by Dolores Claman and orchestrated by Jerry Toth. The CBC's most recent licence to use "The Hockey Theme" expired at the conclusion of the 2007–08 NHL season. Claman's publisher issued a statement on June 4, 2008, claiming the CBC had informed them it would not be renewing its rights to the composition. CBC Sports head Scott Moore denied the reports, saying that the CBC wanted to keep the song and that negotiations on a new licence agreement for the song were still ongoing.
2008: CBC Loses the Rights to The Hockey ThemeEdit
n the early evening of June 6, 2008, the CBC announced it could not reach an acceptable agreement to renew its licence, to the outrage of some viewers across the country. Perpetual rights to "The Hockey Theme" were subsequently picked up by CTV, which began using it for hockey broadcasts on its TSN and RDS sports channels beginning in the 2008–09 season. (The theme would also later be featured during the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, aired on CTV.) The CBC said it had offered nearly $1 million for perpetual rights to Claman's theme, but that Copyright Music was asking for $2.5 to $3 million for those rights. Copyright Music turned it down because it was, "...a settlement that barely covered our legal bills, let alone losses." One proposed payment method would have allowed CBC to continue using the theme at a cost of $500 per play, for a total cost of $65,000 annually, while not actually giving CBC ownership of the music. Despite being contacted by 5 parties interested in buying Claman's theme, "[Copyright Music] had no desire to start a bidding war"
Moore has been quoted as saying, "We have no real idea why the deal fell apart. We're not sure why because the other side hasn't communicated with us." Yet, Copyright Music states that Moore gave them an unrealistic deadline of 24 hours to meet him when his client was 5 timezones away.
Moore has also been quoted as saying that he didn't think the Hockey Night in Canada show would lose viewers if he lost the theme song. "Hockey's a game, not a song," he said. Mike Myers disagrees with this ambivalence towards the song calling it, "...the second anthem [of Canada]" Canadian jazz fusion band The Shuffle Demons even jokingly introduced the song as "...[Canada's] national anthem" during performances. In an informal poll on CBC's website which puts forth the question, "Can Canada go on as we know it without the Hockey Night in Canada theme?", (3361) 84% respond no.