Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 191: Dave Hodge

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 191In this 191st episode, Mike chats with TSN's Dave Hodge about his years at Hockey Night in Canada, the pen flip, his work on TSN's The Reporters and his hope he'll never be labelled a homer. This episode is exactly 1:34:28.

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I'm really looking forward to downloading and listening to this one. I always felt Hodge was the best HNIC host (no disrespect to Ron Maclean, of course). And I've often wondered how Coaches' Corner would have evolved with Hodge there instead of Maclean. Hodge, as I recall, would really go at it with Cherry when he disagreed on something. Maclean would challenge Cherry at times, but set him up to do his thing. One isn't necessarily better than the other -- just different approaches. Would Cherry have stuck around so long if Coaches' Corner were more of a debate than a soap box? Would Hodge have been told by CBC to stand down and let Cherry be the star? We can only speculate.

I remember the pen flip well. I was watching that night. I was young at the time and shared Hodge's frustration, so I gave a little "stick it to the man" fist pump when the pen went into the air. In my youthful naivety I was surprised to hear when he was fired. I read an interview a while ago in which he talked about it but I'll look forward to hearing him talk about it on the podcast.

September 7, 2016 @ 3:36 PM

Rob J

What a get!! Looking forward to his opinions on homerism.

September 7, 2016 @ 7:56 PM


I've always been a big fan of Hodge. Will listen for sure.

September 8, 2016 @ 9:41 AM


Hey Mike. Another great podcast. I could listen to Dave Hodge all day - have always liked him (for most of the 50 years he's been broadcasting).
I had to tell you this tidbit; I copied the podcast on to my mp3 player this afternoon. I never do this, but I left my radio at home today, so no Bob + Damian, so I wanted something else. I started listening to this episode on my computer at work (as usual), but saved the second half for the train ride. Anyway, podcast ends, and I swear to God (or your preferred deity), the next thing up was the Rheos "Ballad of Wendel Clark".

September 8, 2016 @ 5:30 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Looking forward to listening to this, almost seems like I grew up listening to Dave Hodge

September 8, 2016 @ 10:42 PM

James Edgar

Another great one Mike.
BTW I finally thought to pass on a link to you to one of my coworkers after listening. And he is super excited to listen and go through the archive. I wish i had told him about it before.

September 9, 2016 @ 9:57 AM

Blind Dave

First half done, second half tomorrow.

Great pod!

And yes, I saw the pen flip too and loved it.

September 10, 2016 @ 10:46 PM


Really enjoyed this.

I loved his 'Pen Flip' story and the reasons for it, it'll live forever.

I also loved his thoughts on the 'Mark Shapiro/Stephen Brunt' story. Mike, you bring it up all the time and I guess I understand that (but not really), but Dave is right, the Mark Shapiro story is one that needs to be told, and Stephen Brunt is the best story teller in the business. As Dave said (someone who comes across as very anti homer-ism), just because its done by Rogers doesn't mean it needs to be taken as a 'PR Piece', its just an interesting story.

I don't really like 'Marty York Toronto Mike'. I think your projecting a bit with this.

September 12, 2016 @ 3:13 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


You're right, the Brunt doc on Shapiro really bothered me. It felt so fluffy and soft. I really felt like it hurt Brunt's rep being attached to that.

But I've beat this dead horse enough. I don't want to be Marty York on Rogers, I try to be fair to them, but that one irked me.

September 12, 2016 @ 3:24 PM

Rob J

Wow, in one statement, Hodge begrudges Donaldson a hit, criticizes the hometown scorer for bias, and questions the objectivity, integrity, and credibility of the Jays' 'broadcasters' is he still employed in this market?!

September 12, 2016 @ 3:37 PM


I thought Hodge was a bit harsh in talking about Wilner's suspension. He was suggesting that if it were him he would have quit instead of accepting a suspension. That's a lot easier to do if you're a prominent hockey broadcaster in Canada, because there's a tonne of hockey work here. If you're a baseball broadcaster -- and baseball only -- they've got you by the short hairs. The options are a) leave the country, b) stop broadcasting baseball, c) accept the suspension. I don't think there's anyone who makes a living as a baseball broadcaster in Canada who doesn't work for Rogers, is there?

The other homerism stuff was fine, though, and I agree with it. I mean, the examples were Toronto, and the Jays, which is a bit unfair. I catch other teams' broadcasts via Gameday quite often and the Jays broadcast crew is hardly the most homeristic out there. Virtually every game broadcast crew is heavily homer. Even Vin Scully calls Dodgers players and managers by their first names. And you don't have to listen to the likes of Hawk Harrelson very long before you find Buck's "get up ball" rather tame. But Hodge didn't seem to be saying there was something unique about the Jays' crew -- they're just the most familiar examples on a Toronto-based podcast.

September 12, 2016 @ 3:53 PM



I get that, but Brunt has done those magazine pieces on Sportsnet for years. Its not like this is the first one. Plus, while he was doing the piece on Shapiro, he was also doing this piece on Colabello.

If he where under orders, the above article doesn't get posted.

Much like what Dave Hodge said, the Shiparo story is one that needed to be told, and Brunt was the best one to tell it. Nothing more than that. I think that when you strip away your emotions and just look at the facts, you may feel a bit differently about it. If Dave Hodge, the guy who seems to hate homerism the most, doesn't have an issue with the piece, I'm not sure why you would. Like I said, he did these type of pieces all the time, and you didn't get upset with them. Fair is fair.

September 13, 2016 @ 8:35 AM



100 percent. Im pretty sure that anyone who complains about the Blue Jays broadcasts don't watch other teams. Its all the same. They are all there for the hometown team. That's their purpose. Boston does the same thing, New York does the same thing. We don't complain about them, but complain about the Jays? Like I said before, lets not be Marty York about this, be fair.

September 13, 2016 @ 8:37 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Ok, I'll bury this beef along with the Fearless Fred one.

Although if Brunt ever comes on, I'm asking him about it.

September 13, 2016 @ 8:40 AM



You can do what you want, I guess I just don't understand why there was a 'beef' in the first place, much ado about nothing. If Dave Hodge thought it was fine, I can't see anyone other than Marty York being upset about it, and he's just trolling everyone.

September 13, 2016 @ 8:57 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


It's not just Marty York. Steve Simmons, for example.

I'm a Brunt fan, but when I watched the piece I was very disappointed. At the time, AA leaving and the hiring of Shapiro was a touchy subject with Jays fans, so the network aired a "documentary" about all the good work he did in Cleveland, how he loves his family, and how AA leaving wasn't his fault. I felt like a PR piece, and I felt (and feel) it was beneath him.

September 13, 2016 @ 9:32 AM



But here's the thing, he did the exact same thing for Roberto Osuna. If you're going to get upset about one, should you not get upset about the other? It was no different, a touchy feely examination of his journey. He's done others too. I don't get why your get upset about one, but not the other. And I can say, when I watch other teams, they do the same thing, just just not as good. Brunt does them all the time. Is it homerism, or just good storytelling? I think its #2.

I think you get in trouble when you use the 'feeling'. Feelings are totally subjective and influenced by your point of view regarding the topic. Like I said, you didn't have bad 'feelings' about the Osuna piece, probably because you where in a different head space. Sometimes feelings lack logic, they can be bias. I feel my kid is a perfect athlete, but the facts say otherwise. Parents on my kids hockey team FEEL that they're kids are great, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

I just happen to think the Dave Hodge way of looking at things is the best way to look at it, it was a story that needed to be told, and Brunt is the best story teller in the business. And again, to quote Hodge, Brunt wasn't gushing.

I think that your previous interactions and concerns about 'bias' played into how you feel about this. It doesn't make any logical sense that you'd be disappointed about this piece, while not being disappointed with the others that he did as well, all while at the same time he write a negative article on about Colabello.

September 13, 2016 @ 9:43 AM


I'm a massive Dave Hogde guy dating back to his time with CBC. I thought he was better than Ron Maclean, but that may be because of my age and because he was who I grew up with. Comes accros as a hosts with the utmost integrity, something that's missing from the journalists of today, where integrity has been sacrificed for attention, a la Stephen A Smith/Steve Simmons. He's part of a dying breed.

I'll agree with others regarding the Brunt/Shipiaro debate. I never quite understood Mike's fascination over it. Totally within his rights to bring it up the 6/7 times he has on his podcasts, although I always said to myself, really, the Brunt thing again, we've been there Mike, let it go.

I always thought it was fine, par for the course with what Brunt has done in the past. I never got that Rogers PR reaction. Ces la vie, but glad Mike is moving in, the proverbial dead horse surely has been beaten down at this point.

September 13, 2016 @ 10:15 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm pretty sure I brought it up with Marty York, Steve Simmons and Dave Hodge. I'm dropping it now.

I happen to believe a piece about the President is quite different from a piece on a player, but I've said my piece.

Moving on! Anne Mroczkowski is dropping by in a couple of hours.

September 13, 2016 @ 10:28 AM


It was more than those three. Pretty sure you brought it up on a David Shoalts podcast, as well as an Elvis podcast. May have been others

Regardless, I'm glad we're moving on.

Looking forward to listening to your new podcasts.

September 13, 2016 @ 10:51 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Probably! I stand corrected.

September 13, 2016 @ 10:54 AM


Anne should be interesting, depending on how forthcoming she is. I've never heard the background on her departure from Global. I'm curious about her thoughts on the difficulties female broadcasters face as they get older. It's always seemed to me that women are less likely to be given the opportunity to age on television. Whether she was a victim of that, I don't know -- she could also have been someone who was just making too much money at Global, and making money will get someone fired from a media job these days.

On that note, I'll also be interested in hearing any insights she has into her former co-anchor Gord Martineau's abrupt "retirement." I'm sure that will come up! (Though I suspect she'll be careful about what she says.)

September 13, 2016 @ 11:02 AM


I feel privileged to have been alive during the Dave Hodge era when broadcasters could be more opinionated because even if you're comments got you fired, you'd likely find another job. If the broadcasting landscape was the same in the 80s and 90s as it is today, I doubt Dave would have been hired by TSN. He likely would have been blacklisted by Rogers and Bell after the pen flipping incident and his subtle jab at Harold Ballard on Global.

September 13, 2016 @ 4:41 PM

Ima Fakeologist

I watched the Hodge flip in the day. Talk about an event that has blown up far too big for such a trivial incident. It shows how important the (rigged) sports entertainment business is to too many people. That's a more important topic to discuss.

September 15, 2016 @ 2:04 PM


Agree with others, the Shapiaro-Brunt thing jumped the shark a few episodes ago. Much ado about nothing.

September 16, 2016 @ 9:52 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Message received.

September 16, 2016 @ 9:57 AM


Hodge always struck me as a bit "prickly" but I do agree with his having high standards. I wish that Mike had explored Dave's early days a bit more. Being a regular Mon-Fri evening sports guy on Canada's largest radio station CFRB was a big deal. At such a young age. So much talent there, and exacting standards. Same with his Argo days; he was allowed to talk but since this was before 1980 Mike didn't seem to interested in pursuing that further. Mel Profit, wonder who remembers him now...there ARE some of us over 50 on here who saw a lot of this era firsthand.

The pen flip had to be addressed I suppose, and his musical tastes were there to break the ice, but I fast forwarded that part. I'd rather get straight to the good stuff. I'm with Mr. Fakeologist on this one.

But Hodge was allowed to talk, great coup getting him on the show. I wish there was another two hours of this.

September 20, 2016 @ 6:32 PM


@ JR

That's interesting, re: music. I actually loved that part because I had no idea he was so deeply into music, and so current in his tastes. It was a side of Hodge I never knew existed and was completely unexpected, and I thought it really fleshed this interview out. He was much more than a sportscaster after that.

Re: CFRB, Argos ... I get that. That part of his career was of less interest to me but it predates my Hodge memories. To me he is HNIC then post-HNIC. But I do always love hearing about someone's early days (like Jim Van Horne's CHUM days) so I probably would have enjoyed whatever came out of the discussion you're suggesting.

September 20, 2016 @ 7:03 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Dave said I had an hour, so I really didn't have time to dwell on the pre-CBC stuff.

And I knew right away the music talk was going to be necessary. There was no way I was cutting that.

September 20, 2016 @ 9:23 PM



It's a generational thing, I remember Van Horne and Roger Ashby as 1050 CHUM deejays, Hodge as a sports guy on CFRB. Big name radio people before HNIC, TSN and Roger, Rick and Marilyn.

October 19, 2016 @ 7:24 PM

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