The New Hockey Night in Canada Overview: Rogers Style

The New Hockey Night in Canada Overview: Rogers Style

Last year, when we heard of the $5.2 billion TV deal between Rogers and the NHL, we all wondered what exactly it meant for Hockey Night in Canada.

In short, we were told it would mean more hockey. Most of us were thrilled with this. Most of us were similarly annoyed that the contract didn’t take effect until the 2014-15 season. But we were happy none the less. We were happier, however, that Hockey Night in Canada, a CBC tradition since 1931, would be upheld and preserved. The national relevance of the CBC really depended on this inclusion (because really, now, what do we watch the CBC for?). Also, for Rogers, preserving HNIC was a point of admiration in the public’s eyes.

Sep 14, 2013; Belleville, Ontario, CAN; CBC television commentator Don Cherry (right) and Ron MacLean (left) during the first period intermission at Yardmen Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The other plus for Rogers was the acquisition of former HNIC personnel. This meant that Rogers could create a supergroup of commentators and analysts to be used across platforms. This meant Don Cherry and Ron MacLean’s popular Coach’s Corner segment could be preserved. Also, other commentators were retained from HNIC – Jim Hughson continued his play-by-play voice of the Leafs, as well as the longest tenured broadcaster (maybe across all of sports) Bob Cole is back.

Jun 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Hockey Night in Canada anchor George Stroumboulopoulos poses for photographers on the red carpet of the 2014 NHL Awards ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Adding to Sportsnet’s team was George Stromboulopoulos (below, right), who was named the new host of HNIC.

Lastly, Sportsnet brought its hockey analysts to the party to join the likes of HNIC’s Elliote Friedmann. Helping the pre-game show and the intermission segments from Sportsnet are Nick Kypreos and Damien Cox.

The first we saw of this mega deal happened this past Saturday, Oct. 11. The CBC had the Toronto Maple Leafs televised, as it usually does, as they faced the Pittsburgh Penguins. Simultaneously, CityTV had the Montreal Canadiens visiting the Philadelphia Flyers, which is a change for English-speaking Ontario residents who did not get usually get Montreal games… and if they did, it would be in French via SRC (which back in the antenna days was channel 25 or 61) or RDS. Meanwhile, Sportsnet 360 (formerly The Score) aired the Calgary Flames at the St Louis Blues. And that’s not even all for the early slate of games!

The Ottawa Senators at the Tampa Bay Lightning was on Sportsnet 1. Much to my surprise, we also had non-Canadian action airing in Canada via a national telecast. The Washington Capitals at the Boston Bruins took place on the FX channel. For the late Western games, CBC had the Edmonton Oilers at the Vancouver Canucks as they normally would for their doubleheader while Sportsnet 360 covered the Winnipeg Jets at the San Jose Sharks.

Oct 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Montreal Canadiens right wing P.A. Parenteau (15) celebrates his game winning, shootout goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Canadiens defeated the Flyers, 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately for Canadian teams, at the end of the first period, Toronto was down 3-0, Calgary was defunct 2-0 (in the first two minutes), Ottawa was also in the red, 1-0. Montreal was down 2-love, and Winnipeg was minus two as well. In the first night of Hockey Night in Canada under Rogers’ watch, after one period, Canadian teams trailed 10-0 (not exactly the start anybody had hoped for…).

However, Montreal stormed back from 3-0 to defeat Philly in a shootout, courtesy of newcomer P.A. Parenteau’s shootout winner. Ottawa also reversed their deficit by winning in a shootout (the 10-0 deficit in the first period of early games ended with a surplus of 10-5, which produced a 2-2 record).

Pretty much all viewers of hockey Saturday night saw the big table of all the games across HNIC’s new bounty of channels. But what you may want to know is what these channels are and where you can find them. To help you navigate your television for hockey Saturdays, I have devised a helpful chart for you to put on your fridge, or your coffee table, or maybe on your phone… or wherever is the easiest place to access it.

ChannelOld AntennaCableBell ExpressVuRogers Satellite
CBC565208 / 1050 (HD)5 / 514 (HD)
CityTV317214 / 1053 (HD)7/519 (HD)
Sportsnetn/a22405 / 1405 (HD)22 / 501 (HD)
Sportsnet 360n/a53410 / 1410 (HD)53 / 503 (HD)
Sportsnet 1n/an/a1409 (HD)502 (HD)
FXn/an/a1290 (HD)507 (HD)

Speaking of the cellphone, games are now available on phones, computers, and tablets as part of the new generation of viewing. However, you may not need more than a television on Saturday nights.

What are your thoughts on Rogers’ hockey package? Let us know in the comments section below.