After much speculation following his absence from Sportsnet’s regional NHL play-by-play lineup heading into the season, the network has confirmed that Jim Hughson is retiring from sports broadcasting after 42 years.
“It’s been a fantastic run and I’d like to thank Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and all my friends and colleagues over the years for the tremendous support and countless memories,” said Hughson, in a network announcement. “This is a decision I made in consultation with my family and I’m very much at peace with it. My only goal in this industry was to work at the highest level and on the last day of the season. I’ve had that opportunity a number of times and will always be grateful for it.”
“It’s been an honour, privilege and pleasure to join Canadian hockey fans in watching so many fantastic games over the years,” added Hughson. “I look forward to continuing watching together, but from the same side of the television.”
Hughson, 64, began his hockey broadcast career in 1979, calling South Peace Hockey League games on CKNL Radio in his hometown of Fort St. John, B.C. Stops at CKIQ Kelowna and CKNW Vancouver followed, before Hughson made the move to Toronto in the early 1980s to call play-by-play for the Toronto Maple Leafs on CBC-TV.
He joined TSN from 1986-94, calling both hockey and baseball before returning to CKNW to anchor Vancouver Canucks broadcasts from 1994-99. He returned to national broadcasts and Sportsnet in 1999. He was hired in 2005 by CBC as Hockey Night in Canada’s secondary play-by-play announcer, signing an exclusive six-year contract in 2008 with the public broadcaster that saw him replace Bob Cole as the primary HNIC announcer the following season. In 2014, he re-joined Sportsnet, with Rogers’ acquisition of the national NHL rights. He’s also called a dozen Stanley Cup Finals and the men’s hockey tournament at both the 2006 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Hughson is a four-time Gemini Award winner and an inductee of the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame. He was honoured with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award at the Hockey Hall of Fame NHL Media Awards in 2019.
“Jim is one of the best this business has ever seen,” said Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production. “Whether on TV, radio or in video games, for many he has been their soundtrack of hockey. He’s set the gold standard for broadcasting in this country and has accomplished pretty much everything any broadcaster would set out to do in their career. On top of that, he’s a tremendous teammate and an even better person. I respect his decision to step back and spend more time with family but he is going to be missed by us at Sportsnet, the entire broadcasting industry, his colleagues and his many fans.”
While lesser known for calling Major League Baseball games, Hughson was notably part of the Toronto Blue Jays broadcast crew during their 1992 and ’93 championship runs.
Sportsnet says this season’s full national NHL broadcast team will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
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