Rumours began to swirl on Sunday night that George Stroumboulopoulos (here on referred to as George, because I’m not spelling that last name over and over again), former veejay with MuchMusic and current host of Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, would be taking Ron MacLean’s place alongside Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada. The rumours started from a tweet sent out by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, and knowing how reliable McKenzie is, it seemed as if were only a matter of time until this news became official.
My initial reaction was one of anger mixed with confusion. George replacing Ron? How could this be? I had not cared for anything regarding the Rogers takeover of NHL games up to this point, but this simply didn’t seem right. Though Don may speak from his gut instead of his head more and more these days, the ebb and flow he has with MacLean on Coach’s Corner is a weekly Saturday evening highlight. It’s an institution! No way should these two be broken up.
But people are creatures of habit and resistant to change, and maybe I was unwilling to let go of the Cherry/MacLean combo I have become so accustomed to. Then I started to wonder, even if this turned out to be true, maybe I was indeed being a little harsh toward George. The poor guy hasn’t even been given a chance, and here I am already dismissing him in favour of the old guard. Change can be good, it can make a strong program like Coach’s Corner or Hockey Night in Canada in general even stronger, and considering I’m a fan of his current show and the way he conducts interviews, I see no reason why George can’t be an asset for the show.
News broke Monday afternoon that Hockey Night in Canada would indeed be receiving a makeover, but that the tandem of Ron and Don would remain intact, and would be joined by George, as well as Sportsnet’s Darren Millard and Jeff Marek on the Hockey Night in Canada team.
In my opinion, Coach’s Corner should feature just Cherry and MacLean next year, as I don’t feel adding a third person to the mix will benefit the show. If it were George replacing Ron, that could work, but having the two of them would probably be a tad bit redundant, as they would both play a similar role in contrast to Mr. Cherry.
As a second period panel though, the trio of George, Millard, and Marek could be quite entertaining. As I stated earlier, I’m a fan of George’s current show, and he is quite the fan of the game, so his transition into a hockey-only discussion should be smooth. Millard may not be as good a set-up man as James Duthie, but I have no gripe against him. Finally, Marek is as funny as he is knowledgeable, as seen by this hilarious clip of him entering the Tim and Sid show, Ric Flair style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0LkgNDnYS0
This five-man unit of Cherry, MacLean, George, Millard, and Marek has great potential. We have familiar faces mixed with fresh talent, all of whom can entertain in both a serious and comedic sense, so I’m going into the 2014-15 season of Hockey Night in Canada with a sense of optimism. Most importantly though, the biggest ‘plus’ could mean we hear and see less of P.J. Stock on HNIC broadcasts.
Photo Credit to o.canada.com