Joe Bowen & Jim Ralph Staying Home For Leafs Road Radio Games

September 27th, 2015 | by torontosportsmedia
Joe Bowen & Jim Ralph Staying Home For Leafs Road Radio Games
sports and toronto


“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”


what Joe Bowen wrote on Twitter recently.

Multiple sources are telling me that the direct result of the Toronto Maple Leafs banning Bowen and Ralph from team charters (along with TV folks) is that the radio crew will be left to call the games from a studio, here in Toronto, watching on tv!!!

Can you imagine the New York Yankees going on the road and their road play by play being done from a studio in New York????

What is this, the Durham Bulls???????

Apparently the cost for 2 guys to travel on their own when the Leafs are on the road is in excess of $200k. Neither Rogers nor Bell is willing to eat that cost, so right now, road games will be done from a studio in Toronto….

I’m told it’ a little bit of chicken right now, and of course this could change but as usual, it’s the Toronto Maple Leaf fans getting screwed.

Who is to blame?

I’d imagine we could start with Lou Lamoriello who is the one who likely kicked the broadcasters off the plane.

Oddly enough the team is owned by Rogers and Bell who split the radio rights. So you can continue the blame chain at those outlets.

I’d imagine neither station makes very much money off the radio games, especially when the team sucks as it has and will, so neither station wants to be saddled with the cost.

An insider suggested a compromise may be that the Leafs pick up the travel cost for the radio stations directly. That has yet to be offered up.

For now, take out the nickel and pay Jim and Joe at their lemonade stand!

Happy Sunday



  1. rob j says:

    Biggest homers in hockey should stay home

  2. Steve says:

    How is it Lou’s fault? There’s no reason media have to travel with the team and having the team pay the costs. The free rides are over.

  3. Alex says:

    Well, if the two radio men are employed by the two radio stations that also own the team, wouldnt it just be a “left pocket, right pocket situation?”

    Is the team (Lou) afraid there will be leaks? Did Lou do that in Jersey too?

  4. Steve Jones says:

    Now this is a bush league move if I ever saw one. Why stop there maybe go full simulcast from TV. The thing that doesn’t add up is flights are probably only half of the cost of putting them on the road. Hotel and per diems and other miscellaneous expenses are already being paid. Seems to me this is radio saying we’re going to reduce the quality of the broadcast and blame the club. And yes the fact that the same companies that do the broadcast also own the team is pretty funny.

  5. Billyjoejombob says:

    As usual, commenters have no idea what they are talking about.

    Yes, he did do this in NJ. Hall of Famer Mike Emrick was affected.

    It is not a “free trip.” You pay for the seats. The difference is that now you spend an extra night in hotels and pay for extra day of Per Diems. It also increases the chances that bad weather could force your crew to miss a game.

  6. Bora says:

    Time to get rid of Bowen along with his holy mackinaw.

  7. Species 1967 says:

    How could it possibly be $200k for the two of them to travel with the team to games? The marginal cost of the jet is zero, unless someone has been flying commercial because Bowen and Henny took their spots.

    The Leafs have 41 road games per year. Let’s exaggerate costs to the extreme. Let’s say they are away three nights in hotels for every away game. That’s 123 nights staying in hotels. Clearly they are not away 1/3 of the year, but, again, deliberate exaggeration to make the point. So they each get their own hotel room for 123 nights. We’ll make it a five-star hotel room, $250/night. Might as well throw in $75/day/person for food too. So that’s $325/day for 2 people for 123 days/nights. That comes just under $80,000, and it’s almost certainly 25-50% less than that.

    How is it costing $200,000?

    • torontosportsmedia says:

      So, it’s a number that was provided to me. I think your rationale is off though. The issue is instead of not paying for flights they now have to. 2 guys used to go on the team plane at no cost. Suddenly there is a cost. I think the killer is that instead of just going with the team whenever they go, they have to fly commercial and on commercial itineraries. This has cost implications. For example. If the Leafs play on the west coast and have to fly east – the team can fly right after a game. These two can’t go until there is a commercial flight on that route. That has cost implications. Plus, if they can’t go overnight there is added hotel cost and added per diem costs too. Long winded way of saying that the added cost of flying commercial carries with it other new costs that quickly add up.

      Thanks for the comment though

  8. Ryan says:

    This seems ridiculous at first glance. But how do other teams handle this? Who foots the bill for the radio crew of the Bruins,for example? For that matter, what about the Leaf’s t.v. crew?

  9. Marcus says:

    Sorry to go off-topic, but I was listening to the 8 pm news on The Fan 590, and nearly fell out of my chair. Right after the news announcer signed off, I heard the familiar smartaleck voiceover ask listeners to “listen to Mike and Mike tomorrow morning…”. Mike and Mike the new morning show on 590? Nope, it turned out to be the ESPN voiceover leading into Sunday Night Baseball. Sure was convincing for a second there, though…

  10. Marcus says:

    btw, this away game issue with the Leafs reads like a great set-up for a road trip comedy movie. Joe and Jim rent a panel van with a megaphone on top and leadfoot it to the away games. Potential title: “Home and Homer”.

  11. Happy says:

    You know I really feel for in this situation?
    Not Bowen, not Ralph, not the Leafs or their fans, and definitely not Lou.

    It’s Mrs. Bowen and Ms. Ralph. 365 days of em now!

  12. WestDale Rocks says:

    Marcus, if you’re a Mike and Mike fan, TSN 1150 in Hamilton airs that show every morning.

  13. Brian says:

    If Joe has an issue with this move, Joe should quit. Surely he could lead a comfortable lifestyle after countless years as the Leafs main broadcaster. As for Jim Ralph, he likely shouldn’t be broadcasting anyway. He’s terrible. Paul Henderson is a nice man but again a total homer and would likely not have a job in most markets.
    Let’s see how this goes before we cast judgment. The FIBA Americas were called off a monitor in Toronto. I didn’t read many complaints about that here. It’s not like Leafs broadcasts on TV or radio were exceptional. They were average. If Toronto is trying to hire the best people to manage its team, why isn’t it trying to hire the best people to deliver its team to its fans?

  14. Drumanchor says:

    If this actually ends up being the case, I can only imagine that Bowen will not let his listeners hear the end of it.
    Smart-assed comments at every conceivable opportunity.

  15. Pingback: Toronto Maple Leafs announcers calling road games from a studio this year???

  16. Rob J says:

    Wondering if the Raptors announcers will being doing likewise

  17. Matty Zero says:

    I could see a cash-strapped team doing this, but the Leafs? Weird.

    I would totally watch ‘Home and Homer’.

  18. Jack says:

    Can’t believe the cheapness of Bell and Sportsnet not to have their radio announcers on the road with the Leafs, as they’ve had for decades. I would bet bagels to donuts that NO OTHER NHL team are bailing on their radio announcing teams this season.

    Whether Joe or Ralph would want to do it, why not have them charter a bus and invite fans in some sort of draw/promotion to do the road games in Buffalo. Not a long tri and they all come back the same night. Buffalo Sabres would certainly not bar them from the arena.

    On another tangent – interesting that blowhard Jeff Blair has now been assigned a co-anchor in the morning, in the form of Steven Brunt.

    A long time contributor to Sportsnet and the FAN 590,Brunt left the network a couple decades ago to from a national sports radio network which flamed out quickly. With many mea culpas, Brunt was allowed back to Sportsnet.

    I remember when Tid and Sid came back unfornately to Sportsnet TV, Bob McCown proclaimed the first day that any guest appearing on Tim and Sid would be banned from his Prime Time Sports show. I saw Brunt recently on T & S, thus explaining why he’s been burdened with Blair. No longer a lone bombastic on air wolf, J.B.

  19. Justin says:

    This move is reminiscent of something that would have happened during the Harold Ballard era.


  20. Marcus says:

    @WestDale Rocks – Thanks for the tip!

  21. Dave in Bolton says:

    another example of how dumb this ownership is! hate to say it but I prefer the Ontario teachers owning the team then Dumb and Dumber

  22. Dros says:

    How people think this is an ownership mandate is beyond me.

    Why would Bell and Rogers cut off their nose to spite their face? They’re not going to take the broadcasters off the planes when their radio ratings depend on them being able to go to games. That’s how their stations make money.

    It’s clearly a mandate handed down by the new execs on the Leafs.

    Think, people. Honestly.

  23. KK says:

    @Dros, yup it looks like the new execs wanted the flights to be as private as the dressing room.

  24. Pingback: Holy Friggin Mackinaw -

  25. billyjoejimbob says:

    What do the Dallas Stars do with their radio broadcasts? Next step here?

  26. nickp says:

    This means that if Leafs ever won Stanley Cup on the road, Joe Bowen wouldn’t even be in the building

  27. GreyCountyMike says:

    This is just another typical Toronto sports “controversy.” This market spends more time whining and sniveling about issues off the ice or off the field than any other in North America … and the owners know it. Nothing diverts attention from a subpar product than a “scandal” like this. It ranks right up there with J.P. Ricciardi living in Boston or Vince Carter’s mom getting a free parking spot.

  28. Daniel says:

    This has got to be considered something of a disgrace, no? If the Florida Panthers or Arizona Coyotes did this we’d laugh at them for being Mickey Mouse.

  29. Andrew says:

    @nickp I think I can speak for Joe on this one, he’d just like to be above ground long enough for the Leafs to win the Cup.

  30. Pingback: Leafs radio team to call road games from studio |

  31. Steve Clark says:

    The $200 000 cost is likely in the ballpark and can be brokedn down in the following ways: First of all, you need three guys: Bowen/Ralph and an onsite technician who would travel on the road. I suppose they could contract a guy in the city they broadcast in to come in and set up /troubleshoot, but its highly unlikely an NHL crew has to set up their own equipment. So add in that with the cost of flights/per diem/hotel etc. The Leafs may book rooms for the radio guys under the team/corporate rate and bill whomever is picking up the tab. The problem with that is the fact the Leafs team will charter after a game, while a commercial flight may not be available.

    To Brian: If you are going to rip a guy, at least get his name right. Paul Henderson scored the ’72 Summit Series goal. Paul Hendrick is the Leaf broadcaster, and a fine broadcaster in his own right. He was Sports Anchor with CHCH in Hamilton and had a great career also calling OUA football and basketball before joining the Leafs. Yes, he’s an MLSE employee, and also is the day to day beat guy. If you want to stay employed and have people talk to you, you have to balance criticism and other content.

  32. Pingback: Extra, Extra: Your NXT City Award Winner, Walk of Fame Inductees, and the TTC Helps Out Cyclists | news | Torontoist

  33. Angus Smith says:

    This is a joke, right?
    From the team with the most diasporic and loyal fan base in North America, and the rink with the Foster Hewitt Gondola: the notion that radio play by play – still 100% relevant in an internet age- should be compromised is beyond ridiculous. There are many of us – despite decades of humiliation – that cling to every Leaf game. My grandfather listened to the Leafs on the radio. Denying us that joy is so tone deaf, it is beyond discussion. The broadcast team not being in the rink? Why don’t we just have tweets? Being a Leaf fan is so difficult already. #hewitt #bowen

  34. Pingback: Leafs radio team will still travel to away games - | Hockey News

  35. Drumanchor says:

    GreyCoutyMike, as per usual, hit the nail on the head. Falls into the “Only in Toronto” category, I think.

    As for Paul Hendrick, – he is an old friend of Mrs. Drumanchor and myself, and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Yes, in his current job he may softly lob in his questions to whomever he is interviewing, yet he does it better than anyone in the biz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin