Spring Doesn't Melt the Ice in Canada

Hockey Night in CanadaSpring is rapidly thawing out southern Canada and the north is not far behind. As the sun climbs up past the Tropic of Cancer even the northern lakes feel the heat. But not all the ice is experiencing the thaw, especially the ice on hockey arenas across North America.

All the major networks will air the NHL Playoffs but only CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) will hold the title of “Hockey Central.” This is because the venerable broadcast has been going on longer that any sustained sporting event in North America.

Beginning in 1931 with the General Motors Hockey Broadcast, HNIC began broadcasting the Toronto Maple Leaf games. Then a subsequent variation included the two Montreal teams, the Canadiens and Maroons. In 1952 the great radio broadcast morphed into its classic Saturday night television program and the sport’s legend took wing. Since then CBC has shown the greatest hockey games the world has ever seen.

But it is in the spring that HNIC takes flight with the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The beginning series features a game a night until the first leg has been completed. And of course to complete the great action hockey personalities Don Cherry and Ron MacLean analyze the games and other aspects of the playoffs. In a portion of the broadcast called Coach’s Corner Cherry is often outlandish in his comments. But he is always entertaining and his observations are popular. In fact, with his patented high-necked collars and extremely loud jackets, Cherry is the most colourful colour man in sports .

HNIC lost it’s traditional them song last year because former executives 1960’s never thought to buy the rights ad finitum. However, CBC put on a song contest that was an instant ratings coup in itself garnering hundreds of entries from across Canada. Canadian Gold by Colin Oberst of Alberta won the contest and now his theme is becoming embedded into the psyche of hockey fans all over North America and, because of satellite, the world.

Always a spring groundswell in Canada the NHL playoff season is the most grueling sports contest in the world. And its great that Hockey Night in Canada will be there until the Stanley Cup is presented sometime in mid-June.

About the author

I am the author of four published novels and I find that blogging gives me better contact with people than writing stories, although I still write fiction. I have a tourism blog called “Travel to Nova Scotia” and one about the music business entitled “Music Before the Money.”

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