Rogers Decision to Shelve Ron MacLean Unpopular with Canadians: Angus Reid

When Rogers signed a landmark $5.2 billion, 12-year deal for NHL rights in Canada, it also meant changes for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. The first major change was the replacement longtime host Ron MacLean with George Stroumboulopoulos, a move seen to attract younger audiences to the broadcast.

According to the latest poll by Angus Reid to 1504 Canadian adults, the move to replace Ron MacLean appears to be an unpopular one.

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Poll data shows 74% of respondents agreed Ron MacLean’s reduced role this year has hurt Hockey Night in Canada’s brand, while 48% said they saw him “too little” on the broadcast.

As for well-established CBC host George Stroumboulopoulos, 60% of pollsters said they do not see him as a credible replacement for Ron MacLean as the host of HNIC, with 41% noting they’re seeing him “too much”, while half say his airtime is “just right”.

Last Saturday, Don Cherry complained on air to Ron MacLean saying “Why are we tight? Why are we tight?” when told by the latter they were short on time, marking the first time Cherry vented on air about their new limit of five minutes on air, versus six minutes previously with the CBC.

President of Sportsnet, Scott Moore, told the Globe and Mail Cherry’s dispute was just “a tempest in a teapot”, saying the latter was frustrated because he “had a lot to get in” on Coach’s Corner.

Unnamed sources close to HNIC told the Globe this was seen as a test of wills between Cherry and his new Rogers bosses.

Cherry responded in an interview to say “got it straightened out,” but didn’t want to say anymore. Speaking to Sportsnet 590 The Fan, he noted “Sometimes I have a little too much coffee, I guess.”

When Angus Reid asked about the look and feel of the new Rogers Sportsnet broadcasts versus the old CBC broadcast, almost half (49%) of respondents said “it’s different but nothing major.”

However, when asked about balanced coverage of all NHL Canadian teams versus broadcasts too focused on teams in Ontario and Quebec, respondents favoured Rogers Sportsnet at 75%, compared to just 65% for the CBC when it came to balanced coverage.

Rogers spent $4.5 million on its new Hockey Central Studio in Toronto, which has 11,000 square feet, nine separate sets and 52 monitors, and took six months to build. The company also now powers NHL GameCenter LIVE, which is being marketed as a way for people to stream games on their smartphones and tablets.

What do you think about Strombo replacing MacLean? Yay or nay? Or will you need more time to decide?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Corey Beazer

    I think it’s fine to bring in new talent to usher in the new Rogers generation, but they are cutting down Ron Maclean way too much. They have him for five minutes on Saturday, then send him on a plane to some random spot in Canada for Sundays Hometown Hockey.
    At first I had thought he would be hosting the whole Sunday game, but Strombo still handles most of the airtime. Feel bad for Maclean, the best sports host of our generation deserves better.

  • Definitely miss Maclean, a true professional that always did his homework and was able to share interesting facts, anecdotes and more. As for Strombo? Way too casual, it may take him some time to find his groove.

  • Tim

    I can’t stand, Strombo. His wardrobe is boyband-light and he doesn’t drink beer. He probably sips green tea and stevia during the game. I’m not a macho dude nor one who enjoys the company of said people, but I like the my on air hockey personalities to fit the part. He looks like a fish out of water on that stage.

    There’s a reason all of his attempts to enter the American market have been a complete disaster. That reason is that he sucks.

    Bring back Ron Maclean.

  • Kosmo

    I find the new setup really, really bad. So bad, that I switch to another channel before the game and during the second intermission, which I never did before.

    I don’t see why Rogers brought Strombo – because of his “knowledge” about the sport? If they want to attract young audience (who, BTW said that young people are not watching hockey?!) they should bring a nice young lady instead! 🙂 Really, they should’ve kept Maclean and the panel as intact as possible and they should have increased the time for “Coach’s Corner”! But no, they increased the ads chasing bigger revenue and I’m guessing that they achieved exactly the opposite if others, like me, are changing the channel!

  • Chrome262

    Anything to do with CBC in general is lame and with piss poor production values anyway, and this Rogers version is just as lame. The only person who actually made CBC not look like a high school sports program was Ron Maclean. George is a joke with anything concerning sports, and they should of had more Ron to lessen the effect. Of course they could of went with less Don Cherry, but then you would lose even more of the trailer park demographic.

  • Crosseyedmofo

    cant argue much with any of this

  • Kyle Mitton

    CBC is boring now, I am not a huge fan of Don personally but he is spot on with his observations. I want credibility not bought talent. George is a hell of a guy but so very wrong as a host

  • SOB

    The stupidest thing I have seen is when they put a puck with the team logo into their fancy machine and presto all the screens come alive. Give me a break. We all know that the puck doesn’t do a dam thing.

  • FragilityG4

    The CBC contract is only four years long … After that they’ll most likely be out of the picture for good.

  • michelle

    Can’t stand George. The show needs more Don and Ron. I just don’t think of George as a hockey person more of an entertainment interviewer. I change channels during the break. I also don’t like the whole hometown hockey, that much sap should not be flowing in winter.

  • Hey, it’s still Rogers-related! 🙂 thanks

  • CMfly

    Never could stand Strombo still can’t.. Also wayyyyyyy to many commercials now, not even worth watching between periods anymore.

  • Max Power

    Terrible, corporate decision. Surprised the Rogers social media spin-doctors haven’t jumped on this one too. I love how someone commissioned a poll on it! ahaha

  • ????Dennis

    I don’t even feel like a hockey fan anymore. Rogers ruined hockey for me. It all seems so flashy and not personal anymore, if that makes any sense… Ron and Don were entertaining and and enjoyed their hockey insight. They complemented each other very well. The broadcasters are boring and their colour commentary feels like a baseball game. Rogers turns everything they touch to shit. The greedy bastards have no love for for the sport, just the viewership. I watched ever Leafs game last year. I have yet to watch more than 3 full games.

    Parents get their kids into watching hockey with them… Not George strombolips (or whatever the yuppies name is. Dude is annoying and totally turns me off the game. Keep him on much music to cater to the boy band fanatics. If his dumb ass replace Ron during the Olympics, it will be a dishonour to all Canadians. Geez, just made me think about him hosting the Stanley Cup finals…. So sad. Rogers you royally f’ed up hockey.

  • Kev

    Just Watch it on RDS !

  • fredf

    You claim not to be macho but you want your host drinking beer. Stupid comment.
    I agree that his wardrobe is boyish and he has no gravitas however.

  • Parksy

    Paul Romanuck is also part of the problem…..unfortunately he’s started to do Leafs games too. He couldn’t even pronounce some players names at the beginning of the season. There is a reason TSN canned him and he fled to Europe.

  • Mitch

    Ron is and always be a Canadian hockey icon, bring him back and give George a smaller role, then maybe he can grow into it….. In 10 or 15 years

  • Tim

    I don’t want him drinking beer on air. I just want to know that he has one occasionally. I think Strombo’s straight edge lifestyle is probably what allowed him to succeed to some extent. Not spending your time in bars indeed allows for more productive things (The ratings agnostic CBC certainly helped as well) and I don’t disparage people who have substance abuse problems and choose not to partake. However, this also gives him his overly high energy, high-on-life, slightly spastic demeanor, where he can’t help but talk ten miles a second. It’s why he leans in and gazes into other’s eyes intently. For better or worse it’s why he doesn’t fit in with “the boys” on stage. He’s a Toronto urbanite with bad fashion sense and he doesn’t drink beer. It doesn’t jive with hockey fan culture in this country and I don’t know how Rogers didn’t see that. Strombo just wants to have a hip, happening, non-confrontational time with his hockey buds…and it doesn’t work. He needs to go.

    Bring back Ron Maclean.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Where do I sign up the “Get rid of Strombo” campaign?

  • gmd

    You mean TVA Sports? 🙂

  • ????Dennis

    Yes I totally agree with… I miss the good old Joe Bowen. Watching the leafs isn’t the same without him.

  • So that’s where he went. He did some of the early Canucks games and man were they brutal. I know he deleted his Twitter account prior to starting the job. Maybe some rust on his part.

  • Ryan W

    I love Strombo—–but not in this role. He’s a great ‘interview-er’ but it does not flow in this role with now being “the guy” on CBC. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Rogers would want to take away the face of hockey coverage in Canada for the last 30 years?

  • mike

    Strombo is brutal to watch & to hear….please bring Maclean back next year…or this year!

    Strombo can do the Sunday gig

  • hrdmapl

    I get the bit about appealing to the younger crowd, but what about those of us who have been part of the hockey viewing audiences for many years…let’s even say generations in some cases. Do we not count….? It’s just one more way to get me even less interested in watching hocking…still love the game and my team….but… Personally, I like MacLean and would like to see more of him. Strombo is ok, but to me a bit slick….

  • CityKat

    Bring back Ron Maclean .. I change the channel anytime Strombo is on.

  • Maclean gets 10 seconds of airtime then it goes back to Strombo.

  • Sick of George

    Bring back McLean. George doesn’t have the understanding of hockey, in comparison of McLean. Where is the petition for ‘bring back Ron’ ??

  • Jay

    The dropping of Ron SUKS big time. He was a perfect balance to Donald S. He needs to be back. The people who need to leave is Rogers !!!!

  • Anne

    I like Strombo as an on-air personality..but not for hockey. Ron MacLean is far more knowledgeable about the game and much more at ease discussing hockey than George will ever be. I can’t handle watching the round table talk hockey when George tries to participate. Please bring back Ron..

  • Megan

    Strombo is horrible.

  • Sparky McBiff

    HNIC was the last thing that CBC was good for. Now they’ve almost completely pooched that by shoving George Streombotightpants down our throats.
    Unfortunately soon Don and Ron will be completely gone and hopefully the CBC will disappear at the same time since that is the only reason anybody tunes into them anymore.

  • Marnie

    Sad sad sad. Not going to be the same at all. As for attracting a younger crowd, not so much. My teens are disgusted in the decision. I guess we’ll be looking for a new normal. Obviously the executives are thinking out their asses. A shame really. Loved Ron! An established ICON for many true Canadian hockey fans. Boo!