Hockey Night in Canada: How CBC lost it all

Rogers Sportsnet unveiled their new broadcast studio of the upcoming NHL hockey season, during a media tour at the CBC building in Toronto on Sept 29 2014.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)



By David Shoalts

Published: Friday, October 10th, 2014


The victors strode into the CBC’s Toronto headquarters at 250 Front St. West on June 1 in an especially humiliating denouement for what was left of the public network’s sports department and its version of Hockey Night In Canada.

Not only had Rogers Communications Inc. wrenched the Canadian national broadcast rights to NHL games from the CBC’s grasp with a stunning $5.2-billion payout over the next 12 years, but the Visigoths were actually at the gate. Part of the ensuing deal, in which those in charge of the CBC meekly handed over the company’s airwaves for free, was that the Rogers people connected to Hockey Night, along with some people hired from rival TSN, would use the CBC’s studios and take over the show’s office space on the north side of the eighth floor – the plushest in the building thanks to the show’s status as the network’s biggest money spinner.

The cash-strapped national broadcaster may have lost a Canadian institution it held for 62 years because it could not hope to match the money Rogers threw at the NHL, but no one was actually going anywhere. The show’s staff stayed put and the new bosses moved in.Hockey Night will continue to be broadcast on the CBC’s stations across the country – the show makes its season debut Saturday night after Rogers officially unwrapped its new toy this week with Wednesday Night Hockey to cover the NHL’s opening night – but the money all goes to Rogers now.

The only revenue the CBC will get is from renting its studios, offices and some staff to the conquerors.

Not long after the Rogers people moved into the CBC building, a notice went up: The eighth-floor boardroom was now off-limits to CBC staffers. If they wanted to use it, a request had to be made through Rogers.

“I’d say weird is a great way to put it,” oneHockey Night staffer said of the atmosphere in the offices on the eighth floor, adding that another emotion has a greater hold. “I’m angry at the CBC for how they handled this. I think a lot of people are mad. They fired 50 people in sports and those are people with families. This didn’t have to happen.”

It didn’t have to happen, staff at both the CBC and Hockey Night say, because they believe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his marketing chief John Collins were willing to offer the CBC a compromise that would have saved a scaled-down version ofHockey Night for the network that still would have been a significant source of revenue. Those staffers also believe the CBC executives missed this chance because of their failure to recognize the changed broadcast landscape and to see the threat posed by Rogers and BCE Inc., which owns the TSN and CTV networks. The CBC negotiators insisted throughout an exclusive negotiating period with the NHL that any new deal would see the network stick to a regional and national schedule by carrying all games played by Canadian-based NHL teams on Saturdays.

Read More HERE


  1. Really disappointed in Rogers first broadcast of HNIC. Ron McLean needs to be the host and the post game show was lacking. Why get rid of an interesting show like After Hours where you learn something about a player?

  2. Well, if you, the “Chickens” (CBC) let the wolves (Rogers) into your barn, voluntarily, what the hell did you expect, those of you crying maudlin !

    Of course, it’s a little weird! It would be a helluva lot “weirder” if you got fired and had no job at all !

    The (male) sports reporter is going the way of the dodo bird, if the lesbian females in power had their way.

    It starts with HNIC, sports expert Brook Ward and then, poof, the only ones left will be castranos,, NDP types, lesbians, and beancounters.

    They all deserve each other, actually ! LOL

  3. “The (male) sports reporter is going the way of the dodo bird, if the lesbian females in power had their way.” WTF??
    Wow! Someone hates women in power… hate to break it to you, white man… the world is changing — thankfully for the better 🙂

  4. Lesbian females in power? O_o. That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard Stephen Harper called.

    I watched Rogers’ version fo HNIC. (No longer “Hockey Night in Canada” I guess.) .. I switched to the NBC feed and we all know how bad NBC is. It was better than HNIC.

  5. Hockey Night in Canada goes the way of the Don Messer Show! Surprised? Suprised that all sportscasters and broadcasters are now required to have long hair, a bust and a high pitched voice? Don’t be. What do you think would happen when Harper put one of his favorite women in charge of the CBC? Someone once said,”when women are doing the hiring, only women will be hired”. What’s next?

  6. OH NO! WOMEN LIKE HOCKEY?!? Women are broadcasters?!?!

    Are they even 50%? No.

    I think your male centred, misogynic, knuckle dragging, world view is still safe for now.

  7. CBC lost the rights to hockey night in Canada, because the Harper government is hell bent on destroying the public broadcaster. Harper has cut revenues to CBC since he cheated his way to power in 2006. Heck he did not allow CBC to renew the hockey song that it licensed for the past 35 years. You can now hear it on CTV and watch hockey on Rogers.

    Stephen Harper is an embarrassment to Canada

  8. George Snuffleupegus is dreadful…and he needs to grow up , get out of the skinny pants and be a man. Its going to be a very long winter listening to Nick Cryptiquotes and Mad Dog MacLean. Kudos to Rogers for showing some Montreal games and giving us other choices than Toronto/Buffalo. Thank God for TSN, and after football, NBC on Sundays. Its a new world…no CBC Fantasy Hockey Pool this year…that sucks!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here