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WATCH: Strombo to host Hockey Night in Canada

Rogers announces George Stroumboulopoulos will anchor new HNIC broadcast team

The overhaul of ``Hockey Night in Canada'' has begun.

Rogers executives took over a CBC-TV studio Monday to tout an upcoming NHL broadcast season that, under its guidance, will ``be a season like never before'' with a ``fresh face.''

That fresh face is CBC-TV personality George Stroumboulopoulos, who will be the new host of ``Hockey Night in Canada,'' taking over from veteran anchor Ron MacLean, whose Saturday night role will be trimmed to co-host of Coach's Corner.

Rogers boss Scott Moore admits Stroumboulopoulos was recruited in a bid to attract a broader audience to the media giant's various sports channels, especially as younger viewers appear to be increasingly tuning out of TV entirely.

``We want to get a little bit younger, we want to catch that demo that is not necessarily coming to the television at all _ that are either playing video games or not going out and participating in the games _ we want to get a new breed of Canadian fans that get passionate about the games,'' Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties, said following a televised news conference.

``I think George does that, I think George brings a different sensibility but one of the great things is having him with the rest of the team. He'll sort of be like that 'Sesame Street' thing - one of these things is not like the others - but he'll bring something different and his own unique take on hockey broadcasting.''

The shakeup is Rogers' first major personnel change since acquiring the NHL broadcast rights in a blockbuster $5.2-billion deal in November.

MacLean and Don Cherry will continue to host their popular Coach's Corner segment, and MacLean will still host the annual ``Hockey Day in Canada'' show. In addition, MacLean will be involved in a new Sunday night telecast, ``Hometown Hockey Community Celebration,'' on City.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet personalities Daren Millard and Jeff Marek will also be part of the Rogers broadcast package. Millard, who will continue to host ``Hockey Central at Noon'' on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, will also host ``Wednesday Night Hockey'' on Sportsnet. Marek will be at the helm of ``Thursday Night Hockey'' on Sportsnet 360 in addition to weekend pre-game shows on Sportsnet.

Stroumboulopoulos, a 41-year-old Montreal Canadiens fan is a six-time Gemini Award and Canadian Screen Award winner who has worked as a television personality and radio broadcaster with CBC since 2005.
    
Before that, Stroumboulopoulos spent four years as a host at MuchMusic. 

He started his career, though, in sports radio, as an NBA and NHL reporter with the Fan 590. 

There has been some criticism that Stroumboulopoulos doesn't have enough of a sports background, but Howard Bloom with Sports Business News disagrees.

"He's an accomplished journalist. He's entertaining," Bloom says. "I think it's a great choice."

Bloom adds that by keeping MacLean and Cherry on Coach's Corner, Rogers will appease the traditionalists. As long as Rogers doesn't go as far as Fox did in the 90s by adding a "glow puck," Bloom says, the company should be successful.

"They'll discover pretty quickly if they go over the edge."

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  1. Ziggy posted on 03/10/2014 10:18 AM
    Is Rogers expecting a flabby, 40 year old balding, skinny jean wearing hipster to bring along CBC's youth viewership?
    I'm guessing this will miss the mark.
    If the plan is to continue with the most annoying, ill informed, self aggrandizing broadcast crew on the air, it would make sense to bring along the king
    1. Sonny posted on 03/10/2014 10:24 AM
      @Ziggy YES. I like how Rogers beat out Bell Media the parent of this company on it. You listeners can talk and be outraged about it.
  2. William Paul posted on 03/10/2014 12:16 PM
    not Sports anymore. It's who fits the suit. Rogers would have hired Pamela Anderson if she were available
  3. Benny8 posted on 03/10/2014 02:26 PM
    Can't stand the guy and can't stand listening to him ever since he had a short-lived Sunday night show on CFRB. To each his own, I guess.
  4. dama posted on 03/10/2014 03:06 PM
    Change is inevitable, sooner or later Ron and Don has to go, they have been at it for the longest time and I like Ron and Don, I think Ron works well with Cherry .. no one can replace Don Cherry,, what a "colourful guy".

    I reserve my critic on Strombo, his name is difficult to pronnouce too, can imagine Don Cherry trying to call his name???

    Strombo, based on the shows I watched, he is a good interviewer, nice ,, relax interviewing and always allowed his guests to project themselves.. as a Hockey host.. yet to be seen but I think he will do wellll

    just have to like the change..
  5. Whiskyhowl posted on 03/10/2014 03:54 PM
    It's about time that a true Habs fan will be on HNIC to counter the overwhelming Leafs bias.
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