The Globe and Mail reports that Rogers Media, the owner of Sportsnet, and the rightsholder of NHL national broadcasts in Canada, will replace George Stroumboulopoulos after two years as host of the popular show “Hockey Night in Canada“. It’s who he’s being replaced by that has canadian hockey fans surprised.
Ron MacLean, Stroumboulopoulos’ predecessor, is expected to return to the show. Rogers Media sought and received the approval of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before asking MacLean to come back. Bettman, and MacLean had a couple of on-air clashes over labor issues when MacLean previously hosted the program.
There are concerns among Rogers Media staff members over MacLean regaining behind-the-scenes power over Hockey Night. MacLean, who did not wish to comment on the report, has protested in the past that his influence was more perception than reality.
Having lost his spot on the show, and now regained it, the big question that looms going forward is whether MacLean will operate as he once did or make concessions to appease the NHL. We’ll find out soon enough.