CBC Digital Archives

HNIC: Punch Imlach's intermission thoughts

media clip
It's intermission for Hockey Night in Canada, and CBC's Ward Cornell is interviewing Toronto Maple Leafs coach and general manager Punch Imlach. When he goes into the dressing room between periods, does Imlach typically speak to individual players or to all of them as a team? And how do the Leafs deal with having the crowd cheering for the other team, as it is tonight at this Stanley Cup playoff game in Chicago? Imlach answers these questions and more in this CBC Television clip.
• This clip is actually from 1962, since the CBC doesn't have any 1961 games preserved in its archives. It is, however, from the same 1961/62 hockey season.
• This clip is from Game Three of the 1962 Stanley Cup finals. Chicago won this game 3-0. But the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Cup this year, outplaying the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals four games to two.

• The Leafs have won the Stanley Cup a total of 13 times, four of which happened during the 1960s. The last time they won the Stanley Cup was 1967.

• In 1961/62, there were only six teams in the National Hockey League:
- Montreal Canadiens
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Detroit Red Wings
- New York Rangers
- Boston Bruins
• These were the six teams comprising the NHL from 1942 to 1967. Six more were added to the league in 1967. Today (2004), there are 30 teams in the NHL.

• CBC Radio had broadcast NHL hockey since the 1930s, but the televised Hockey Night in Canada debuted on the network in October 1952. Well-known radio sports broadcaster Foster Hewitt -- originator of the famous phrase, "He shoots, he scores!" -- did the play-by-play for the very first televised game, which took place in Montreal.

• At first, because of scheduling conflicts, CBC Television didn't begin airing the Saturday night game until 9 p.m. Since the game started at 8 p.m., this was typically the middle of the game's second period. In the 1963/64 season, Hockey Night in Canada was moved up to 8:30 (near the end of the first period). CBC Television began airing full games, starting at 8 p.m., during the 1967/68 season.

• Foster Hewitt went back to just doing radio commentary in the late '50s. His successors as host of TV's Hockey Night in Canada have included Ward Cornell, Dave Hodge and Ron MacLean.
• Foster's son Bill Hewitt also became a long-time play-by-play man for television's Hockey Night in Canada from the '50s until 1973. In '73, Bob Cole replaced Bill Hewitt. In 1985, Cole and game analyst Harry Neale teamed up, and to this day (2004) they are Hockey Night in Canada's game-time commentators.

Hockey Night in Canada remains a truly Canadian tradition, but Americans with access to Canadian TV seem to love it as well. In a 2001 USA Today article, sports columnist Jeff Zillgitt -- who grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada in Michigan, near the Ontario border -- sang the praises of CBC's hockey coverage. "If you're a hockey fan and you've never caught a hockey game on CBC, you owe it to yourself to do so. It's just something that needs to be done," he writes.

• After praising all levels involved in producing a CBC game, from producers to cameramen to announcers, USA Today's Zillgitt went on to write about Don Cherry's mid-game commentaries: "The biggest aspect of the CBC broadcast that most of America misses is Coach's Corner with Don Cherry between the first and second periods. Dressed impeccably with his super-starched dress shirts with the collars that cover almost his entire neck, the abrasive Cherry, a former player and coach, speaks his mind like few other analysts do." 
Medium: Television
Program: Hockey Night in Canada
Broadcast Date: April 15, 1962
Guest(s): Punch Imlach
Host: Ward Cornell
Duration: 2:14

Last updated: May 5, 2014

Page consulted on May 5, 2014

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