Were the Habs one of the teams complaining about Hockey Night in Canada?

Posted: March 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

At least three Canadian NHL teams complained vociferously to the CBC about its Toronto-centric bias, according to a column by Bruce Dowbiggin in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. The complaints were aired at the NHL board of governors meeting in Ottawa on All-Star weekend.

The piece reports that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke attacked the public broadcaster for what he considered to be unfair treatment of him and his coach (at the time) Ron Wilson. But Dowbiggin also suggests that “other Canadian teams, including the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators, blasted the network for the Toronto-centric nature of the program”.

Dowbiggin goes on to write that “three of the seven teams in Canada said that HNIC was mainly concerned with Toronto and very little about other Canadian clubs.”

So who was the third club complaining about the Toronto-centric bias of HNIC? Was it Montreal? Calgary wasn’t at the meeting so that leaves Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Montreal. I certainly hope it was Montreal.

It continues to amaze me that the most popular show on our public TV network is allowed to act like it’s a homer Toronto broadcast. All season, the HNIC gang have delighted in the Canadiens’ woes and when Toronto beat Montreal last Saturday, the broadcast ended with lengthy commentary about what the win meant for the Maple Leafs with nary a word about what it meant for Les Boys.

Don Cherry has made a career out of hating the Habs, a trait that goes back to his losing days behind the bench with the Bruins. During a Habs-Bruins series a couple of years back, Ron MacLean asked Grapes in the intermission what he thought of the game so far and Cherry replied – ‘What are you trying to do? Get me in trouble?’ Like how nuts is that? Cherry can’t even comment on a Habs-Bruins series because all he’ll be able to say is how much he’d love to see his beloved Bs crush Les Habs. That would be quite provincial if he worked for a private Boston TV station. On a network subsidized by Canadian tax-payers – which, for the moment, also includes Quebec tax-payers – that’s an outrage.

So did Montreal president Geoff Molson join his fellow Canadian hockey bosses in their condemnation of the all-T.dot-all-the-time attitude at Hockey Night in Toronto? I certainly hope so.

I remember ranting and raving to CBC programming boss Kirstine Stewart a few years back about this and she looked at me like I’d just escaped from the asylum. (Okay I get that look quite a bit from a wide range of people but that’s fodder for another blog.) I was telling her about a Carolina-Montreal playoff series – that horror show when the good guys won the first two in Raleigh then promptly dropped the next four in typical psychotic Habs fashion – which began on CBC with a montage of all the greatest moments in the history of the Hurricanes franchise. I know, I didn’t realize there were so many great moments either. But the ace Habs-hating Toronto-based Hockey Night in Canada team dug them up. No great Habs moments. Just great Hurricanes moments. Hilarious. Or tragic. Take your pick.

Is it possible CBC will lose its most lucrative sports property because of this Toronto-centric bias? When you think about it, it’s just crazy. You’re going to risk your most profitable franchise simply because the folks running it can’t get beyond their Leafs obsession. Actually that’s kind of funny.

– Brendan


  1. Justin says:

    CBC will lose their licence not because of Cherry, or because of a Toronto centric approach but because they can’t pony up the money it will cost.

    The Canadian NHL teams only have themselves to blame. Forget CBC, forget TSN, SportsNet et al, go straight to the people. Broadcast the games via the Web. They already do via NHL Game Center live, but because of their byzantine black out rules, you have to be living in Kazakhstan to see the Habs play.. Well, that is unless you figure out a way to get past their trivial geo restriction check (VPN anyone?)

    I doubt the third Canadian team was the Habs. Who in Montreal watches the CBC when you have RDS ? I doubt Molson cares. It was Edmonton.

    • topshelfbk says:

      I agree that it probably wasn’t Molson. And I for one watch the Habs on CBC. Why? Well I’m a bit of a masochist. Actually I’m no fan of RDS’s broadcasts either. The sound is lousy and they couldn’t pull together an entertaining intermission segment if their lives depended on it. And don’t get me started on Benoit Brunet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s