Bob Cole will return to the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast booth for a 50th and final season.
Sportsnet says Cole, 85, is scheduled to call 10 games, starting with the Montreal-Pittsburgh matchup Saturday, Oct. 6. The network says the games will all be in the first half of the 2018-19 season.
“There are so few broadcasters and voices in sport that transcend the way Bob’s has over the last half a century and we are honoured to have him call this last season for Sportsnet on Hockey Night in Canada,” said Scott Moore, president, Sportsnet & NHL Properties, in a release. “Bob is a true professional in this industry and he will pour his heart and soul into these games, focusing on doing the job that he loves and delivering the call to our hockey audiences from coast-to-coast.”
Whether Cole would return at all was in question after the legendary broadcaster was left out of calling any NHL play-off games last season for the first time in five decades. Cole told the Toronto Sun in April, the decision to sideline him wasn’t mutual and that Rogers had decided to go with other broadcast teams.
“Hockey has been my passion for as long as I can remember,” said Cole. “It’s been an honour and a privilege serving Canadian hockey fans across the country and being part of the Hockey Night in Canada institution. I’m looking forward to getting to the rinks for this last season, seeing familiar faces and getting out there to do what I love most in the world.”
Cole started his hockey broadcasting career with VOCM-AM St. John’s, NL and moved over to CBC Radio in 1969.
He was the radio voice for the 1972 Team Canada-Soviet Union Summit and while Foster Hewitt made the now-famous call of Paul Henderson’s goal on TV, Cole did the same on the radio broadcast.
He moved into television in 1973 and when Bill Hewitt retired, Cole became the play-by-play voice for HNIC on CBC games involving the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cole was the primary play-by-play announcer for HNIC from 1980-2008, until he was replaced by Jim Hughson. He was also a staple during the Stanley Cup playoffs and handled play-by-play for multiple Olympic games.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 as the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence. In 2007, Cole won his first Gemini Award in the area of Sports Play-by-Play. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2016.
Sportsnet says details of a tribute in Cole’s honour will be announced at a later date.
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