TORONTO – Hockey Night in Canada will have a new host this fall.
On Monday Rogers unveiled its NHL broadcasting “dream team” set to anchor national coverage across all Rogers properties, including the Hockey Night in Canada brand. The team will be led by George Stroumboulopoulos.
The 41-year-old Stroumboulopoulos, who first made a name for himself as a Much Music VJ and increased his popularity as host of his own CBC talk show, will host Saturday’s iconic Hockey Night in Canada and anchor Sunday night’s NHL Hometown Hockey broadcasts on City.
“Hockey is one of my deep-seated passions and I’m thrilled to be going full circle, returning to my roots in sports broadcasting,” Stroumboulopoulos said via press release.
The interviewer and host spent the first four years of his career as a sports reporter at Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “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, Ron MacLean, Daren Millard and Jeff Marek will also be cornerstones of Rogers’ coverage of 500 NHL regular-season games, starting this fall.
“We know how passionate fans are about hockey, and so we’ve brought together the best anchors to deliver the best hockey experience to Canadians,” said Scott Moore, president of Rogers’ Sportsnet and NHL properties. “George is one of the smartest and most versatile broadcasters in the business, and Ron and Don are icons in the hockey world. Along with Daren and Jeff, our new broadcast team brings a tremendous amount of talent, expertise and personality – and most importantly, they all possess a supreme passion for hockey.”
Cherry and MacLean will continue the popular “Coach’s Corner” every Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, a first-intermission institution since 1980.
“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,” Cherry said via a statement.
MacLean will also host Hockey Day in Canada and Sunday’s new Hometown Hockey Community Celebration, which will bring a weekly NHL broadcast to various hockey communities around the country.
“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,” MacLean said. “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.”
Millard, who has been a member of Sportsnet’s broadcast team since the network’s inception in 1998, will host the new Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet, in addition to his current role of hosting Hockey Central at Noon host and Toronto Maple Leafs regional hockey on Sportsnet. Marek will host Thursday Night Hockey on Sportsnet 360, in addition to the weekend afternoon NHL pre-game shows on Sportsnet. In addition to his NHL responsibilities, Marek will host Friday Night Hockey and the Memorial Cup.
“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,” Marek said. “So today’s a great day.”
In November 2013, Rogers Communications paid $5.3 billion to secure a 12-year deal with the NHL for exclusive national broadcast and multimedia rights in Canada, beginning with the 2014-15 season.