SIMMONS: “The NHL sold us,” says a Canadian broadcasting worker. “The government sold us”


Hockey night in Canada – presented for the first time by Americans.

NBC will send more than 50 broadcasters to Toronto – producers, directors, cameramen, technicians and more – to serve as a global feed to all National Hockey League games played in this hub city, while many Canadian broadcast freelancers, without employed since March, are not at all happy with the snub.

“It’s a travesty,” said a longtime Canadian broadcasting worker, who asked not to be identified for obvious reasons. “The NHL sold us. Our own government sold us. All we want is to work and it is our job.

“I could understand (NBC) bringing people in if we couldn’t get the job done, but there is evidence that we can.”

Canadian hockey broadcasters have long been considered the best in the world. Almost all of the global streams of the Winter Olympics in recent memory were produced and produced by a Canadian. Most, but not all, of the world’s food staff at each Olympic hockey tournament in the past 25 years have been Canadian.

NBC told a Canadian who was inquiring about a job that he was only hiring NBC staff in Toronto to work on the global channel and that he would not consider anyone else. Under the strict conditions of COVID-19, a single broadcast team – known as the Global Stream – will produce the footage for all the networks in the world televising games. These networks include Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and NBC, the American rights holder for NHL games in the United States.

Sportsnet will produce the global stream of games played in the city of West Edmonton, but the Stanley Cup final, scheduled for the city of Alberta, will have Canadian and American streams for individual rights holders.

Sources say NBC was not satisfied that the NHL had two Canadian cities for its return to the game. Apparently, NBC wanted an American hub city, but it is clear that the NHL acted in the best interest of the league . However, in doing so, he also bowed to the rights holder, NBC, and somehow shot quickly at the Canadian government.

It was one thing for the federal government to allow NHL teams to enter Canadian cities under strict restrictions, thereby violating its own Canadian border laws. But it was another thing for them to look the other way, while the NHL negotiated in one way or another to allow the NBC to allow the Americans to take jobs that Canadians are clearly qualified to do.

“I think the federal government has sold an NHL freight bill,” said another Canadian worker, unhappy with the broadcast.

On Monday at his daily press conference, I asked Prime Minister Doug Ford about this snub and he was clearly not sure of the circumstances.

“To be frank, I don’t know who has the contract for the NHL or who has the contract for Monday night football or Major League Baseball, “said Ford, a lifelong sports fan, clearly caught off guard by the question. Then he found his legs.

“I hear you loud and clear and I don’t disagree,” said Ford. “I will examine this. I don’t (usually) get involved in NHL affairs. “

He may be able to ask questions. It is unlikely that he will be able to change anything.

This is more a federal issue than a provincial one, but in one way or another, the professional life of people who wish to leave the CERB does not seem to interest our federal government.

Work for independent broadcasters has been virtually non-existent since the closure of professional sports in early March. Normally, at this time of year, many of the same people who worked at the NHL games in June would have worked at the Raptors, could play CFL games or baseball games if played in Toronto. . The next NHL or NBA season is not expected to start until December. This would mean eight months without work for freelancers.

And with the federal government, paying them CERB for the moment, taken the other way.

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