Strombo Talks About Hockey Night in Canada

The big news in this country is that George Stroumboulopoulos is being replaced as host of Hockey Night in Canada by Ron MacLean. Ron MacLean had the gig before Strombo, and Strombo visited my basement a few months into his first season as host to talk about the big change.

We actually had to discuss his start on The Fan 590, his role on 102.1 the Edge, MuchMusic and his CBC shows first, so I've done you a favour and edited the 1:50:46 of audio (the longest episode of Toronto Mike'd at the time) down to the twenty minutes of Hockey Night in Canada chatter.

Here's George Stroumboulopoulos talking to me about criticism of his new role at Rogers Hockey. Considering this week's news, it's a rather interesting listen.

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Canadaland gets to the bottom of the Strombo effect on Canadian and American TV.

National Crisis: Strombo Needs Job

June 23, 2016 @ 10:21 AM


Solomon is the only one qualified to be working on national TV. The other two, not so much.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

Ryan G

Strombo seems like a genuine guy, and humble too. But like many Canadians, I feel there's just something too modern about him in that capacity, and HNIC just feels better with Ron Maclean at the helm, who also seems like a nice fella. I agree with you too Mike about Bob Cole calling games - he's a legend and gives that old timey delivery and sound.

Speaking of which, I don't know if this guy is around anymore but there was a sports reporter in the U.S., Scoops Callahan, who'd go to press conferences and talk / ask pro athletes questions in that old style from the 20's..although i don't know if that was just from the movies or it really existed:

June 23, 2016 @ 11:04 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan G

Like Max Mercy in The Natural!

Strombo is a genuinely nice guy. But, so is Ron MacLean. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you'd be hard pressed to find two nicer guys....

June 23, 2016 @ 11:11 AM


I know a lot of "nice guys". It doesn't mean they're all qualified to be on air.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:19 AM

Ryan G

@Argie - I agree with your point.. but do you think Strombo should not be on air anywhere, tv or radio?

June 23, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


That's for sure, and for the record, I never thought Ron MacLean should have lost the gig in the first place.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:30 AM



With all due respect you can't make a decision that someone is a "nice guy" because you interviewed them for a few hours. I've met a few hard core criminals who seemed like pretty cool guys too ignoring their lengthy criminal record. Now, before everyone goes off the rails I'm not saying they're evil, I'm just saying TM can't make those statements.


You're right & on the flip side some of the biggest fucking douche bags in the world are qualified to be on the air.

Unfortunately Strombo works in a type of media that is marching towards extinction (or at least being a very endangered species). There just isn't much out there. The best sports casters seem to be those who are highly understanding of the game & have a rougher harsh opinionated edge. Strombo understands hockey, that's clear. He lacks that gritty rough opinionated side though.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:33 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


You don't have to argue everything.

In my experience, he's a very nice guy. I've met him a couple of times, we talked "on air" for two hours and about 90 minutes in my living room afterwards. If he's a serial killer on the side, he's successfully fooled me. It wouldn't be the first time.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:47 AM

Ryan G

Mike, it's refreshing these guys are so candid on your 'casts, and don't seem "on". I think this is part of the reason why they work. If they were being interviewed on cbc or elsewhere in a conventional format, studio,etc, rather than the basement of your house (or wherever it is), I suspect they might come across a little less honest.

You're like the Brian Linehan of 2016.

June 23, 2016 @ 11:57 AM

James Edgar

Not having cable and not not watching HNIC as a result I can't comment on his performance on HNIC but my impression is he's a Good guy.

First he rides motorcycles . Yes assholes ride bikes ,I know more than a few , but most of the people I run into on bikes are pretty cool. So he gets a bit of a break there.

Second he rides sports motorcycles. Also worth a break to me as my friends on sport bikes are my most fun friends. Note He has had a harley in the past and may have gone back to the darkside (Not harley per say but Cruiser bikes in general) recently ,but I don't think so.

Third he rides to LA and back every summer and has done for a few years. People who ride long distance solo are also people i tend to like so one more break from me.

My personal experience is that I met him once at the racetrack at shannonville , he was gracious and we talked far longer than he needed to.

Could he be a serial killer ? Sure but so could pretty much every person you meet on a daily basis.

June 23, 2016 @ 12:13 PM


I've never been a fan of GS. The voice (slight lisp) and the quick pace was kind of annoying. Yes, I've heard he's a good guy and probably an interesting person that you would want to have a beer with.

His passion and knowledge is in music - not hockey pucks.

I don't think not being gritty hurt Strombo. The role needs someone who is passive and simply generates opinions from the panel. Its a moderator's role which if anything should be filled by a person who blends in the set - not someone like Strombo who, by his appearance takes over the set.

June 23, 2016 @ 12:31 PM

Ryan G

@Argie, i completely agree with your statement below - well articulated. It's sometimes difficult to identify why someone does or doesn't work - this sums it up nicely.

"I don't think not being gritty hurt Strombo. The role needs someone who is passive and simply generates opinions from the panel. Its a moderator's role which if anything should be filled by a person who blends in the set - not someone like Strombo who, by his appearance takes over the set."

June 23, 2016 @ 12:59 PM


I'm still waiting for HNIC to bring back Dave Hodge. I suppose I'll have to let that one go.

June 23, 2016 @ 1:32 PM


Me too.

June 23, 2016 @ 2:48 PM

Hot Take

Strombo is too nice.

June 23, 2016 @ 3:13 PM


Simply...Rogers put two nice guys in awkward and embarrassing positions needlessly…

the important distinction here is that Ron MacLean was on his way out (for whatever reasons)… Strombo just applied for a vacant position…

June 23, 2016 @ 3:48 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I exchanged emails with Dave Hodge this week. He's coming on my podcast.


According to MacLean, he was on his way out because Gary Bettman wanted it that way. So yes, Strombo filled a vacant position, he didn't oust Ron.

June 23, 2016 @ 3:52 PM


@TM. Your whole "great guys" Just reminds me of how Craig Smith was when he was moderator of SOWNY. It's like some star struck kid who imagines these personalities can do no wrong.

The whole Strombo/MacLean/Hodge thing speaks of a bigger problem with HNIC. It's future. The media industry eats it's young. Now, as it faces extinction, all that's left is the old timers. Youth haven't just left the building. They've decided that broadcasting is a poor choice for a career (hardly surprising given the near weekly layoffs). So there is nobody left to take the wheel in the future. The next Ron Maclean, Strombo or Don Cherry isn't waiting in the wings. They just don't exist.

Exactly how does Gary Bettman have control/influence over a Canadian media firm? Doesn't surprise me though. Bettman was on CBC Radio 1 a few months back commenting on Calgary NEXT, the future home of the Flames. The guy was an arrogant asshole & he pretty much demanded that Calgarians use tax money to pay for the Flames new arena. The CBC morning show host really took him to task & even the other right wing media outlets supported the CBC. I guess Mr Bettman doesn't leave his socialist mecca's much, but it doesn't work that way out here. Nor should it. The public should not be funding stadiums for private sports & entertainment firms.

On that topic, I see the NHL nixed Quebec City for a hockey team. Wasn't it separatist Paladeau who demanded taxmoney fund that? And wasn't he chairman of Quebecor which then owned the Sun Media chain who employed Ezra Levant who never seemed to bring this up? If Trudeau lent them 5 bucks for a pop he'd freak out it was wasted tax money.

Sometimes I'm glad I live in Alberta.

June 23, 2016 @ 9:07 PM

Jim S.

Three words with regard to Strombo's sojurn as host of HNIC. Upper case. IT DIDN'T WORK!

June 24, 2016 @ 8:30 PM

JIm S.

Better yet. One word. Upper case. AWFUL!

June 24, 2016 @ 8:31 PM


Strombo sucked. Our group stopped watching hnic before the game, during intermissions, and after the game cause he sucked. I remember when they sat him initially on the outside and he kept grabbing someone's arm to speak and make a comment. He should stick to maybe restaurant commentary. Lol

June 25, 2016 @ 1:49 PM

HNIC VIEWER AND Hockey purist

Simply put... And you can delete this comment as you've deleted my other He sucked and added nothing. I remember trying to watch him initially and was amused when they seated him on the extreme left of the tv screen and he needed to grab the arm of the commentator to his left .... When he needed to speak or interject. Our group stopped watching hockey pre and post show and during intermission because of Strombo. We always tuned in to Ron and don. All the hockey purists feel the same way I do. Maybe hnic should have considered putting some big red couches on the new set??!!

June 26, 2016 @ 10:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


No idea what you're referring to. I haven't deleted a single comment on this thread.

June 26, 2016 @ 10:28 AM



He could be referring to your script problem. A few times I've posted & it appears to post but then the post cannot be found. Other times you get 3 or 4 of the same posts.

June 26, 2016 @ 12:07 PM

Not a Strombo fan.

Subject came up today about hockey given the worlds are on. Consensus is that we are all happy Strombo is no more. Maybe the only mistake HNIC made was not to put big red couches on the set!!! Ha ha

September 21, 2016 @ 4:55 PM


Ron MacLean is so hokey. He rambles on trying to be clever by tying together random things. He is completely boring and the reason we DON'T watch HNIC. We will watch again when Ron's Hokey Night In Canada is done.

December 30, 2017 @ 7:10 PM

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