The big change at Hockey Night in Canada for the upcoming season is the removal of Paul Romanuk, who called a conference final last season. The official word from Rogers PR is that "Paul Romanuk has elected to move on to a new challenge" but that's simply PR spin. There is no way Paul elected to move on... he was told his services are no longer required.
I've always liked the way Paul calls a game, and was surprised so many Leafs fans passionately hated his work. I was also surprised so many Leafs fans disliked Glenn Healy's analysis, so what do I know? Before you accuse me of favouring a past guest on Toronto Mike'd let me assure you I was a big Romy fan well before I met the man. But yes, he did appear on my podcast, and not only was it a great episode, but he was incredibly giving. Prior to this news he was set to return this August to kick out the jams with me. I hope we can still do that one day as Paul's a huge music fan.
Hear my deep dive with Paul Romanuk below.
Paul was performing double duty at Rogers. He was the voice of Sportsnet regional Leafs games, and he called Hockey Night in Canada games nationally. His replacement for regional Leafs games is not Joe Bowen (sorry Leafs fans) but John Bartlett, who was most recently calling Montreal Canadiens games. Bartlett will also call some games for Hockey Night in Canada.
I don't know why Rogers parted ways with Romanuk, but I would speculate there were two primary reasons:
- The aforementioned vocal minority of Leafs fans who seemed to despise him calling Leafs games
- The rapid rise of Rick Ball who seems primed to become the number two guy after Jim Hughson
If you have further insight, please share in the comments.
In other Rogers Hockey news, Darren Millard has left Sportsnet. He's been there since its launch in 1998. Rumour has it he'll now take a job with the Vegas Golden Knights.
And meanwhile, there's no news yet on whether Bob Cole is calling games this upcoming season. He remains my favourite. Tell me why I'm wrong in the comments.