Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Change ‘em up?

Recently, the first major personnel changes to next year’s Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) telecasts were announced.  In these announcements, George Stroumboulopoulos was named the new anchor of HNIC, replacing Ron MacLean who has held the position for the past 28 years.  Now, what’s up with this?

Back in November of 2013, Rogers acquired the Canadian NHL broadcasting rights in a blockbuster 12-year, $5.2-billion deal.  As a result, starting next year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) no longer has these rights.

To Canadian hockey fans, this is a huge deal and a huge change.  If you’re not a hockey fan, follow other sports, and/or live in the United States, this move is akin to replacing Chris Berman from ESPN and ABC Sports.  With this comparison in mind, I hope now you can get the gravity of the situation.

On the plus side, the president of Sportsnet and NHL properties for Rogers spoke positively of the CBC, suggesting that the CBC has been “where the tradition of broadcasting hockey began.”   However, in the same breath, he added that it is his hope to bring a “fresh face” to the game.  To the latter comment, I think the message that MacLean passed on was right on point: "George…don’t screw this up, it’s a big show.”

For me, the story behind all of this change is simple: You have a big conglomerate that swoops in to take over, pushing aside a much smaller and vulnerable entity that can’t do anything about it.  Then, in the process, those who are taking over believe that they know what is best for everyone and, in turn, do as they please.  And is this move best for HNIC?  We’ll surely see!  All I can say is: Don, watch your comments on the earrings!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to get at is change for the sake of change is not the best of approaches.  In this disaster in the making, I lay responsibility for everything that happens squarely on the shoulders of the decision-makers who’ve fouled things up for everyone.  And if the conglomerate behind all of this won’t listen to this forewarning, the only thing left to do is this: Blame it on fast foods!

So, some are saying that this “new blood” will serve to “shake things up” and is a good thing for HNIC.  On the other hand, there are many others who say that you should “never mess with a good thing” and believe that what MacLean had was definitely a “good thing.”  What do you think of the whole situation?  Read about it here and comment below!

- B. J. T. Pepin

1 comment: