TORONTO – Veteran sportscasters Steve Armitage (above) and Mark Lee (lower) are the latest high-profile casualties of budget cuts at the CBC.
Armitage, 70, lent his booming voice to CBC sports events for some 49 years — handling play-by-play on 29 seasons of “Hockey Night in Canada,” 27 Grey Cups and 15 Olympic Games.
“I loved my job,” he said. “I felt like I had been dodging the bullet. I really thought if the sports department was going to take a major hit, I’d be high on their target list because of the years I had worked.
“I was probably due to go. I didn’t want to go because I liked my job, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.”
The majority of CBC sportscasters are hired on contract. Of four prominent sportscasters the network had on staff, Scott Russell is keeping his job. Armitage and Lee were let go, while Brenda Irving is moving to another department.
The CBC lost NHL hockey rights last November to Rogers Media in a whopping $5.2-billion deal, leading to a dramatic loss of advertising revenue for a network already struggling with federal budget cuts.
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