From Foster He­witt to Don and Ron

Cel­e­brat­ing 65 years of hits and hi­jinks on Hockey Night in Canada

Bayview Post - - Classyfieds -

In the fall of 1952, first hit the air­waves in Mon­treal, and 65 years later, Canadian fam­i­lies across the coun­try still hun­kered down in front of the TV on Satur­day evenings to watch the good old hockey game.

For years, the Satur­day broad­cast would be­gin with a game in progress, but in 1968, started show­ing a game in its en­tirety a year after the net­work added colour. It was a brave new world.

Foster He­witt, a lo­cal kid who at­tended Up­per Canada Col­lege, helmed the broad­cast in Toronto as the play-by­play an­nouncer, whereas Rene Le­cav­a­lier han­dled the du­ties in Mon­treal. He­witt re­tired in 1958 and passed his mi­cro­phone on to his son Bill who took over the role.

One el­e­ment of the show that re­mained rather con­sis­tent was the iconic theme mu­sic, aptly dubbed “The Hockey Theme,” which was com­posed in 1968 by Dolores Cla­man. The CBC used the mu­sic on the broad­cast un­til it man­aged to lose the rights to CTV in 2008.

There have been many more mem­o­rable hosts on the show, from Bob Cole and Howie Meeker to Dave Hodge, but since Don Cherry and Ron Ma­cLean joined the crew, they have been syn­ony­mous with it and with hockey in Canada.

Cherry is, of course, a for­mer pro hockey player and coach who joined the broad­cast team in 1980 to work along­side Hodge be­fore be­com­ing a colour com­men­ta­tor in 1981, launch­ing the now leg­endary Coach’s Cor­ner seg­ments in be­tween pe­ri­ods of the game be­ing broad­cast. Ma­cLean took over for Hodge in 1986 and be­came the perfect foil to Cherry’s over-the-top blus­ter over the last three decades.

Al­though there was a slight mis­step when Ge­orge Stroumboulopoulos and his skinny pants tried to hep up the set, that didn’t last long.

re­li­ably re­turns to us ev­ery Satur­day of the sea­son, and while the faces and songs may change, our great Canadian game re­mains the same.

Foster He­witt from his broad­cast perch in Maple Leaf Gar­dens

Ron Ma­cLean and Don Cherry, to­gether for more than three decades

Hockey Night in Canada’s Bob Cole (left) along­side Bobby Orr

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