The Pen Flip Heard Across the Country

On March 14, 1987, Dave Hodge had had enough of the way decisions were being made at CBC Sports with regards to live sports programming. Here's footage of the last straw and the pen flip heard across the country.

It really has become the stuff of legend, and I've been lucky enough to speak with a few people who were there, as well as Dave Hodge himself. Let's begin with Ron MacLean, who witnessed the entire incident and would go on to replace Dave at Hockey Night in Canada.

Paul Romanuk, currently calling games for Hockey Night in Canada, was even closer to the flip. Here's how Paul remembers that day.

Also working for CBC Sports that night was Ken Daniels, now the radio voice of the Detroit Red Wings. Here's how Ken remembers the pencil pen flip.

Last but not least, I asked the man himself about that night. Here's Dave Hodge telling me all about his pen flip.

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Comments (15 - click here to join in!)

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

This is so awesome. Covered from every angle! I lived in Montreal then so did get to see the Habs/Flyers in OT.

March 28, 2018 @ 8:38 PM


I remember watching that night. CBC then goes to a movie "Heidi" or another movie if I recall instead.

March 28, 2018 @ 9:57 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


The Heidi Game was November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets.

I think the CBC went to Anne of Green Gables.

March 28, 2018 @ 10:05 PM


wait a its march 1987 and the game went into overtime which means the playoffs had started?????

March 28, 2018 @ 10:43 PM

Retrontario Ed

Awesome job Mike. This is fantastic!

March 28, 2018 @ 11:31 PM


Wow - fantastic post! THANK YOU!!!

March 29, 2018 @ 8:23 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Much like now, the NHL playoffs didn't start until early April. This was definitely a regular season NHL game.

March 29, 2018 @ 8:28 AM

James Edgar

Awesome coverage Mike. I Think i was actually watching. But the 80's are a little hazy to be honest. No not drugs and booze ( i did drink to excess occasionally i was in my 20's after all) i just find most things a little fuzzy beyond about 3 days ago these days.

March 29, 2018 @ 9:42 AM


I remember watching this and being in agreement with Hodge. I didn't think much would come of it -- maybe someone would tell him not to do things like that -- so I was stunned when I heard he was fired for it.

March 29, 2018 @ 2:31 PM


LOL that is the pen flip? I though he would be angry and throw it at the camera. He got fired for that?! L O L CBC was wildin'.

March 29, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Interestingly, if you listen to he way Dave phrases it, he's never actually told he's fired.

March 29, 2018 @ 4:31 PM


Looks like a pen to me, who said it was a pencil? Anyhow, what he said & looking away at the end said much more than the flip.

March 30, 2018 @ 9:17 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Listen to the Ken Daniels clip. He was 99% sure it was a pencil.

March 30, 2018 @ 9:29 AM

Gary M

Outstanding, Mike!

I'll be the outlier here and say Dave was nuts. It was bonus coverage of a regular season game with no massive implications in the era before Pro Line. I just can't see that kind of a petulant outburst on camera. I get why people enjoyed it. We all love when someone sticks it to the man. But it was an odd battle to pick and a questionable way to do it. Nowadays the phrase "white male privilege" would get thrown around.

March 30, 2018 @ 3:47 PM


Why is Paul Romanuk even on this show? He doesn't even belong on TV anymore. He should be selling peanuts and sushi at the ACC! Put Joe Bowen back on TV where he belongs!

March 30, 2018 @ 5:22 PM

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