Hockey

HNIC names new executive producer

Thursday marked a changing of the guard at Hockey Night in Canada as Sherali Najak was appointed the show's new executive producer.

Thursday marked a changing of the guard at Hockey Night in Canada as Sherali Najak was appointed the show's executive producer.

Najak takes over for Joel Darling who was promoted to director of production for CBC Sports after serving as executive producer for HNIC since 2000.

Najak's new role will include overseeing HNIC's entire broadcast package, in addition to providing a long-term vision for the show over the next seven years, as CBC Sports moves forward with its new contract agreement with the NHL through the 2013-14 season.

Najak has been the senior producer for HNIC since 2002. Doug Walton, formerly of TSN, was named Najak's replacement as senior producer Thursday.

In his new position, Darling will oversee all aspects of CBC Sports production.

CBC Sports also announced that Craig Simpson has stepped down as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers to join the HNIC broadcast team.

"The opportunity to welcome one of the top hockey analysts in the country to our broadcast team is wonderful news for both CBC Sports and Hockey Night in Canada," said Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports.

Simpson made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1985. In November 1987, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, where he spent six seasons and won two Stanley Cups in 1988 and 1990.

The last Oiler to score 50 goals in a season (1987-88), Simpson retired in1995 after playing two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. Following his retirement,he worked as a broadcaster before joining the Oilers organization as assistant coach in 2003.

"I'm thrilled to join the best hockey show on television," said Simpson. "Leaving an outstanding organization like the Edmonton Oilers was a very difficult decision.

"I thank [general manager] Kevin Lowe for the chance to join the Oilers staff, and will miss working with [coach] Craig MacTavish, the coaching staff and the players. The opportunity to join Hockey Night in Canada was too good to pass up."

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