cole-bob-hnic

Bob Cole has been lead announcer on Hockey Night In Canada since 1980. ((CBC Sports))

Hall of Fame play-by-play commentator Bob Cole and analyst Harry Neale will be back on Hockey Night in Canada next season.

CBC Sports confirmed Thursday that both agreed to two-year contracts, extending a partnership which began in 1985.

Cole, 74, has been a fixture on HNIC since 1973, when he joined Danny Gallivan and Bill Hewitt in the broadcast booth.

The Topsail, N.L., resident replaced the retiring Hewitt as lead announcer in 1980 and has called every Stanley Cup final since.

"Bob is an essential part of Hockey Night in Canada," CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore told Sports Online, "and we want him there as long as he is comfortable in that job."

Cole has won the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in hockey broadcasting, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

Neale, 70, has provided colour commentary on HNIC since 1985.

Prior to entering broadcasting, the Sarnia, Ont., native coached the Detroit Red Wings and served as general manager and head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.