I believe that hockey fans have suffered enough with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. This Stanley Cup Finals have been bad enough with the lacklustre play of the teams involved, (looking at you Rangers) and the only thing which has overshadowed shoddy play is the quality of the commentary (looking at you Bob Cole). The whole experience is just awful and worst of all, it’s dated.
It opens up with a montage set to bad music, followed by the HNIC so-called theme song which has never had the same effect since the original was sold off to CTV and TSN. Then follows an inane introduction by Ron McLean where he cites poetry, gives a history lesson or quotes an old time rocker in a professor’s voice and then Cole mistaking names like a drunk uncle at a wedding who calls everyone Andy. A commercial break for a yelling Don Cherry who is always oblivious to the studio guy calling time offers a great occasion to go to the bathroom. The Hot Stove sometimes follows, which is basically a talk show which mimics TSN’s panel minus the zingers, analysis and general sense of fun.
There’s a brief National ad to remind us that ‘real’ news is also happening and the whole thing is wrapped up with a post-game interview where obvious questions are asked and duly answered. All of this is bearable because the idea is that hockey is important to Canadians, CBC is important to Canadians and having a national accessible media source for hockey means as much to the family in suburbia with all the bells and whistles in HD as it does to the log farmer on the other side of the country with a tube.
But the CBC’s latest decision to endorse While the Men Watch is the last straw. All these annoyances are petty and barely noteworthy in comparison. We can laugh off the name flubs and mute the awful pre-show because we Canadians love hockey. We CANADIANS- not male or female.
The CBC should be as embarassed by this decision as the time McLean made those 9/11 comments. It’s further proof that CBC is so far removed from the current viewership, it’s almost irrelevant. The sports fans of today are both male and female. And we are FANS. Those watching want to watch. Those who do not want to watch can find something else to do. The idea that a network should cater to the non-fan is almost as ridiculous as separating them on gender lines.
The CBC does not cater to the young generation, much the way election campaigns do not target that demographic. The problem? This is your future demographic and they have money to spend. No youth, no future. The formula’s quite simple. The CBC is making its decisions like it’s trapped in a time warp- a time when sexist notions were more socially acceptable and old rock was cool. Their motto is Canada Lives Here. It’s an Old Canada if that’s the case and it still has old notions.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.