TSN Hockey

TSN Hockey

The TSN Hockey logo, used since 2014.
Also known as
  • Leafs on TSN
  • Sens on TSN
  • Jets on TSN
  • Habs on TSN (2011-2014)
  • NHL on TSN (2002-2014)
  • The NHL Tonight on TSN
  • TSN Wednesday Night Hockey
  • Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey
Genre Sports
Starring Various
Opening theme The Hockey Theme
Composer(s) Dolores Claman
Country of origin Canada
Location(s) CFTO Studios, Toronto
Original network TSN
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 1985 (1985) – present (present)
Followed by NHL on Sportsnet
(national cable broadcaster as of 2014-15, briefly 1998-2002)
Related shows

TSN Hockey (formerly the NHL on TSN and The NHL Tonight on TSN) is the blanket title used by TSN's broadcasts of the National Hockey League.

After holding the Canadian national cable rights to the NHL from 1985 to 1998 and again from 2002 to 2014, it was announced in November 2013 that TSN and Bell Media had lost these rights to Rogers Communications and Sportsnet as part of an exclusive, twelve-year media rights deal that took effect in the 2014-15 NHL season.[1] In August 2014, following its loss of national NHL rights, TSN split its singular national feed into four regional channels (itself an imitation of the structure of Sportsnet),[2] allowing the network to air its regional NHL games on the main TSN feeds, still subject to blackout, rather than on part-time channels.[3] With these changes, TSN will only broadcast regional NHL games for the foreseeable future; however, its regional coverage expanded in the 2014 season—while losing the Montreal Canadiens to Sportsnet, TSN added regional coverage of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, alongside its existing rights to Winnipeg Jets games.[3]

The TSN Hockey name is used primarily as a blanket title for TSN's regional NHL coverage, and national segments featuring its analysts, and not used as the on-air title of the broadcasts themselves, which are branded as Leafs on TSN, Sens on TSN, and Jets on TSN respectively.

Regional broadcasts

Toronto Maple Leafs

TSN began airing Toronto Maple Leafs games regionally, presented by Molson as Molson Canadian Leafs Hockey, in the 1998-99 season, when they first lost the national contract. The package was originally for 30 games, but reduced to 17 once TSN re-acquired the national rights in 2002. Ten of those games were ones that TSN acquired from the NHL to air nationally. The other seven, TSN acquired from the Maple Leafs as regional games. However, TSN eventually came to an agreement with the other five Canadian clubs to air these games nationally.[4] Play by play of the regional Leafs games was originally handled by Joe Bowen and Harry Neale. The deal expired at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season and from the 2007-08 season through 2013-14, every Maple Leafs game on TSN was broadcast as a national NHL on TSN game.

Beginning in the 2014-15 season, owing to Bell Canada's ownership stake in the Leafs' owner, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and the loss of TSN's national cable rights, TSN began to air 26 regional games per season, split with Sportsnet Ontario, and aired by TSN4.[3][5]

Ottawa Senators

On January 29, 2014, the Ottawa Senators announced a new, 12-year regional broadcasting deal with Bell Media that took effect in the 2014-15 season; TSN5 began to air regional Ottawa Senators games beginning in the 2014-15 season. The deal also included an extension of Bell's radio rights with CFGO, and French-language regional television rights for Réseau des sports.[6][7][8]

Winnipeg Jets

Upon their return to the city, TSN began broadcasting regional Winnipeg Jets games beginning in 2011, under a 10-year media rights deal with Bell Media that also included radio rights for co-owned CFRW.[9] Winnipeg Jets games not televised nationally by the NHL's national broadcast partners are broadcast by TSN3, and are available in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and parts of Northwestern Ontario.[10]

Regional Jets games were previously carried by TSN Jets, a part-time multiplex channel of TSN exclusive to the Jets' market. The TSN Jets channel was a subscription-based premium service, costing $9.95 CDN per-month during the NHL season, but was available on a free preview basis for the start of the inaugural season. Despite the fee, representatives from both MTS and Shaw Cable stated that "thousands" of their customers had subscribed to the Jets channel.[11] On August 18, 2014, TSN officially confirmed that the TSN Jets feed would be discontinued, and that regional Jets games would be moved to the new TSN3 channel for the 2014-15 season.[10]

Past coverage

National games

TSN owned the national cable rights to the NHL in Canada from 1987–88 through 1997–98, after which CTV Sportsnet purchased the national cable rights to NHL games. Prior to this, TSN's NHL coverage was sparse as they only acquired games a la carte. From 1987-88 to 1997-98, they usually showed games twice per week through the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs they provided extensive coverage of series not involving Canadian-based teams. TSN was the first ever holder of cable rights to the NHL in Canada, although the task of acquiring these rights were complicated by contradicting statements by CBC that it did own the cable rights to the NHL, along with the involvement of competing beer company Molson in Canadian NHL rights at the time (TSN was originally founded by its competitor, Labatt). With the help of a Molson employee who was a friend of TSN's founder Gordon Craig, a deal was reached between TSN, Molson, and the NHL.[12]

TSN's most recent period as national rightsholder lasted from 2002, through 2014. During this period, TSN usually televised three or four games per week during the regular season, with its flagship broadcast, Wednesday Night Hockey, airing on Wednesdays. During the playoffs, TSN had third, fifth, seventh, and eighth choices of first-round series, second and fourth in the second round, and second in the Conference Finals. These changes allowed TSN to broadcast playoff games involving Canadian teams,[13] such as at the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as TSN televised the Calgary Flames' first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals in seven games, and the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Vancouver Canucks lost in four straight games to the San Jose Sharks.

In January 2015, after it was announced that the NHL-organized World Cup of Hockey would be revived in 2016, Bell Media attempted to make a bid of nearly $32 million for its Canadian broadcast rights during a blind auction. However, broadcast rights to the tournament were instead awarded to Rogers; although Bell Media representatives refused to elaborate, the company believed that Rogers' national rights to the NHL had contained provisions allowing the company to match outside offers for such events.[14]

The 1986 Canadian coverage of the NHL All-Star Game was to be provided by CTV. However, CTV had a prior commitment to carry a U.S. miniseries.[15] As a result, TSN took over coverage of the game in Hartford.

Montreal Canadiens

TSN has occasionally held regional, English-language rights to the Canadiens. Its most recent deal ran from 2010 through 2014. They were broadcast on a part-time TSN feed available to digital television services in the Canadiens home market, with Dave Randorf on play-by-play, alongside Dave Reid. Bell Media declined to renew its English-language rights through the 2013-14 season, although TSN Radio station CKGM still owns English radio rights, and Réseau des sports replaced its national French-language rights with regional rights for the 2014-15 season.[3][16] English-language television rights to the Canadiens were acquired by Sportsnet East under a three-year contract.[17]

On-air staff

James Duthie serves as the primary in-studio host with analysts including Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun, and Jamie McLennan. Darren Dutchyshen is a secondary studio host. Barry Melrose and Matthew Barnaby also contribute periodically in the studio.

Gord Miller and Chris Cuthbert do play-by-play for both Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators regional games. Ray Ferraro serves as the lead colour commentator for both Leafs and Sens games, while McLennan serves as secondary colour commentator. On Winnipeg Jets broadcasts Dennis Beyak does play-by-play and Shane Hnidy does colour commentary.

Former staff

The studio hosts were Jim Van Horne (1987 to 1990) and later John Wells (1989 to 1995) and Gord Miller (1995 to 1998), with Bob McKenzie providing studio analysis. Primary play-by-play broadcasters were Jim Hughson (1987 to 1994) and Paul Romanuk (1994 to 1997–98). Colour commentators were Roger Neilson (1987 to 1989) and Gary Green (1987 to 1998). Howie Meeker was also often part of the game-night crew, providing highlights and analysis with the telestrator.

When TSN re-acquired the national cable rights to the NHL in 2002, Pierre McGuire was hired as its lead hockey analyst. After the 2011 NHL Draft, it was announced McGuire had taken a full-time position as a reporter for NBC Sports, effective as of the 2011-12 season. Pierre still makes occasional appearances as an analyst during TSN's hockey coverage and on TSN Radio.[18]

Other broadcasters used by TSN include play-by-play announcers Dan Shulman (1994-1998), Pierre Houde (1996–97), Vic Rauter (2002-2003), and Dave Randorf (2002-2014); and colour commentators Ryan Walter (1993-1998), Randy Gregg (1994-1995), Glenn Healy (2003–08), and Mike Johnson (2010-2014).

Staff changes after losing national rights to Rogers

After the NHL announced that it had accepted Rogers' bid over TSN's to take over national cable rights, news sources such as the Toronto Star[19] and the National Post[20] speculated on where TSN's hockey personalities (such as James Duthie, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Chris Cuthbert, and Gord Miller) would end up. Rogers eventually was only able to lure Dave Randorf and Mike Johnson among TSN's major personalities. Despite getting offers from Rogers, Duthie instead signed a long term contract with TSN.[21] In addition, not only did McKenzie, Dreger, Cuthbert, and Miller also decide to stay with TSN, but all four started to appear on a regular basis south of the border on NBC's hockey coverage (McKenzie, Dreger, and Cuthbert officially joined NBC, while Miller, who did occasional play-by-play work for NBC since 2011, saw an increased role).[22][23] Cuthbert and Miller still end up being broadcast to a national audience whenever Rogers simulcasts NBC's feed of regular season and first round playoff games that they are working.

Theme song

In June 2008, CTVglobemedia acquired the rights to "The Hockey Theme" after the CBC failed to renew its rights to the theme song. A re-orchestrated version of the tune, which had been the theme song of Hockey Night in Canada for forty years, has been used for hockey broadcasts on TSN and RDS since the fall of 2008.[24]

TSN announced on the September 24, 2008 edition of SportsCentre the debut date for the song. It began on October 14, when the Colorado Avalanche visited the Calgary Flames.


  1. "NHL deal with Rogers a huge blow to TSN and CBC: Mudhar". Toronto Star. November 26, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  2. "TSN's expansion to five national feeds debuts Aug. 25". TSN.ca. Bell Media. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Faguy, Steve (August 18, 2014). "NHL broadcast schedule 2014-15: Who owns rights to what games". Fagstein. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  4. "TSN scores with more Maple Leafs games". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  5. "TSN shut out as Rogers signs 12-year, $5.2B NHL deal, CBC job cuts loom after losing editorial control of HNIC". National Post. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  6. "TSN, TSN Radio 1200 become Senators' broadcasters". TSN.ca. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  7. "Senators to sign major new TV deal with Bell, TSN". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  8. "Sens, Lets, and Leafs featured regionally on TSN's feeds". TSN.ca. Bell Media. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  9. "Jets reach broadcast agreement with TSN". Winnipeg Free Press. July 21, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Jets game broadcasts moving to TSN3". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  11. "Winnipeg fans flying to buy TSN Jets". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  12. "From Rookie to Pro". Broadcaster Magazine. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  13. TSN signs new broadcast deal with NHL
  14. "TSN shut out as Rogers wins TV rights to 2016 World Cup of Hockey". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  15. Bostrom, Don (February 2, 1986). "NHL ALL-STARS SKATE AROUND JOAN - BARELY PRO HOCKEY". Allentown Morning Call. p. C8.
  16. "TSN Acquires Regional Rights to 24 Montreal Canadiens Games". CTVglobemedia (press release). October 21, 2010.
  17. "Canadiens, Sportsnet ink new regional deal". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  18. "McGuire leaves TSN for full-time gig in U.S". Vancouver Sun. June 28, 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  19. "Rogers-NHL deal: Where will the personalities end up?". Toronto Star. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  20. "NHL's deal with Rogers turns Canada's sports television landscape on its head". National Post. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  21. "James Duthie spurns overtures from Rogers to stay with TSN". The Globe and Mail. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  22. http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/10/7/6935735/bob-mckenzie-darren-dreger-nbcsn-tsn
  23. http://www.si.com/more-sports/2014/10/06/espn-nba-television-deal-media-circus
  24. "CTV acquires rights to hockey theme song", CTV News, June 9, 2008
Preceded by
NHL English network broadcast partner
in Canada

1987 - 1998
Succeeded by
CTV Sportsnet
Preceded by
CTV Sportsnet
NHL English network broadcast partner
in Canada

2002 - 2014
Succeeded by
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