The CBC hosted a HNIC event in Toronto on Thursday. We were there. Kyle Patrick, a student at the College of Sports Media filed this report.
Guest post By: Kyle Patrick
Hockey is finally back. Which of course marks the return of Hockey Night in Canada for it’s 60th year.
The 2013 edition of Canada’s flagship show promises to be one of the best yet. It will not only be taking a step forward in it’s production, but the show will also be allowing it’s fans to take a journey back through time.
There will be a microsite accessible through cbcsports.ca that will give fans the opportunity to see 60 years worth of brilliant hockey moments.
Aside from allowing fans to relive some of their fondest memories, they’ll be giving people the chance to make new ones, as the HNIC crew will hit the road this season.
Host Ron MacLean and the always-colourful Don Cherry will be heading to each Canadian NHL city for special editions of HNIC and Coach’s Corner.
While Ron and Don are the main attractions, there will also be a national concert series hosted by newcomer Daryn Jones. Jones previously worked on MTV Live, then moved to CBC last year to host Over the Rainbow. There are also plans for an end of end of season TV network special.
Things will get underway this Saturday with a tripleheader that kicks off in Winnipeg. Jones’ face will be front and centre alongside Rebecca Makkonen when the two host a Simple Plan concert outside the Bell Centre in Montreal prior to the primetime game between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
As well as the concert, CBC will be sending teams on-site in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver to connect with fans and to distribute free giveaways and prizes.
As much as the NHL lockout hurt the league’s fans, CBC is doing a good job trying to either maintain fan interest, or to acquire some new ones by putting themselves out there.
Back inside the studio, more changes were made by the company. The action will be brought from puck drop in the East game to the final whistle in the West. MacLean will be on the desk alongside Glenn Healy, PJ Stock, Elliotte Friedman and Andi Petrillo on the Chevrolet iDesk. Petrillo becomes the broadcast’s first full time in-studio female broadcaster.
While Ron and Don will make a second, briefer appearance now during the first intermission of the night’s second game. The extra appearance adds something a little extra for fans out West.
Fans in the East will have Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson on the microphone for their games, while out west it’ll be the new duo of Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey.
A mix of Bob Cole, Dean Brown, Mark Lee, Greg Millen and Garry Galley will take care of any additional regional games.
The biggest addition to the broadcast for fans should be Hockey Night in Canada: 2nd Screen presented by Budweiser.
The new feature will allow fans to sign in using their Facebook login info on their smartphones, tablets or computers. From there, they can try and predict player and team performances to win weekly prizes. There will also be a grand prize at the end of the season.
2nd Screen will also allow fans to connect with their friends on the app, there will be a live scoreboard tracking each user’s point total, a live Twitter feed, a live NHL scoreboard and a schedule of upcoming HNIC games.
In a year where fans were left so uninvolved due to all the action happening in the boardroom, instead of on the ice, CBC is doing an exquisite job of bringing fans back into the game in a totally new way.
The innovations made to HNIC will allow fans who felt disregarded by the NHL to become more involved in the game they cherish and love.