Bob Cole 'honoured' to be part of new hockey broadcast team

While big changes are coming to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada — fans will have one broadcast constant this fall in Bob Cole.
Since the 1970s, Bob Cole has been the broadcaster of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Television. (CBC )

While big changes are coming to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada — fans will have one broadcast constant this fall in Bob Cole.

For more than 40 years, Cole has been a fixture, broadcasting hockey games to living rooms right across the country. 

Cole, who turns 81 later this month, has signed a new deal with Rogers, which will bring him back to the broadcast booth for another season beginning in October.

I guess I always love to work under a little strain, a little pressure. It makes you work hard- Bob Cole on broadcasting Hockey Night in Canada

In an interview with Jonathan Crowe on the St. John's Morning Show on Friday, Cole said he is "delighted and honoured" to be part of the new broadcast team. 

Getting the call

Cole said he found out about the job, however, in a rather roundabout way.

"I was not told about it all. I was in the booth, and we're getting ready to do the game ... and Ron [MacLean] comes on there and announces, 'This is not my last game tonight, I'll be working next season with Rogers.' And I said, 'This is good.' So, I asked after why it was done like this. Apparently they had a lot of phone calls that day ... so they decided they better say something," said Cole.

Cole said he looks forward to the broadcast each year — but adds the pace can be fatiguing.

Bob Cole, as seen preparing for Game 7 of the Western Conference finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. (Jason Murdoch/CBC)
"For a person like me, I like to get lots of rest, that's a great key for me," he said. "I quit smoking, that was a good deal. I believe everybody should think about that if they're still smoking. Eat properly if you can. You've got to get lots of rest while you're travelling, and the adrenaline keeps you going, and then when it's over ... Wow, talk about tired."

When asked how he, as an octogenarian, manages to keep going with the broadcast year after year, Cole said he loves the job. 

"I don't know ... I just keep going. I guess I always love to work under a little strain, a little pressure. It makes you work hard, I like that pressure — why not? If you're supposed to perform and have the fan enjoy what you're doing, you better do it."

Last November, the National Hockey League confirmed that CBC had secured English-language rights to games in a sub-licensing agreement with Rogers Communications. Rogers has signed a 12-year deal with the NHL.

Things had already been shaken up, with Rogers hiring George Stroumboulopoulos as broadcast host. He has spent the past 10 seasons on CBC Television hosting his own show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.