I have held off on commenting on the Toronto Star story earlier this week about Ron MacLean‘s pending reinstatement as host of Hockey Night in Canada — mainly because I was waiting for the official announcement to happen. But nothing’s officially announced yet. Seems like they are still working out the details.
Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann, one of the few prominent American sportscasters who actually cares about hockey, was ranting and raving this week about how his buddy George Stroumboulopoulos was being dumped as host. Olbermann called it the “the dumbest thing I’ve seen in 36 years in TV sports.”
Well, Olbermann has a right to express his opinion, but with all due respect Olbermann does not live in Canada. He has not fully experienced the cultural experience of Hockey Night in Canada the way Canadian sports fans have. And any Canadian who has been watching this show religiously for all their lives and who remembers what the old days of HNIC were like will tell you the last two years of Rogers rule have been terrible. Strombo and his skin-tight suits have been a bad fit. His hipness turned the die-hard fans off, and the bad ratings are proof of that.
The bottom line is the fans have been mad about Ron MacLean’s departure from day one. They want him back, and that ought to be that. Too bad, Olbermann.
Reinstating MacLean on Saturdays will be a big step in the right direction for Hockey Night in Canada, but lots of fans feel Rogers needs to go even further than that. The fans want even more changes to what has been a boring, soul-sucking broadcast the last two years. They want even more of these Rogers on-air people gone. I notice the bloodthirsty people on social media have it in particularly for (1) Damien Cox, and (2) Nick Kypreos.
Bottom line is Rogers needs to make it a much livelier telecast next year to get the fans back watching. Anyway, it does seem like the viewers are being heard and that Rogers is making an effort to try and right the ship.