NHL lockout will silence play-by-play voices
John Shorthouse, Jim Hughson will have a lot of time on their hands if there is no hockey
Jim Hughson, the play-by-play voice for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, expects to be watching a lot of local hockey if there is an NHL lockout.
Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG
VANCOUVER — John Shorthouse is the voice of the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific and Team 1040 radio but, in the event of an NHL lockout, he won’t be a voice you’ll hear early in the morning.
Been there, done that, says Shorty.
“During the last lockout I did a talk show on Mojo, which is now Traffic 730, and, unfortunately, it was in the morning,” Shorthouse said, recalling the 2004-05 work stoppage. “I was getting up at four in the morning every day for about four months and doing the show with John McKeachie and Blake Price. I’d like to say that I helped drive that situation right into the ground because shortly after that, Mojo ceased to exist. Anyway, I know I won’t be doing a talk show this time.”
Shorthouse, who will be paid in the event of a lockout, expects he will be contributing “probably three times a week” on radio. He wasn’t certain about the television side.
“I’m not sure exactly what we’re going to do but there could be some unrelated assignments,” he said. “I hope it would be somewhere within the scope of my expertise but you never know. Maybe I’ll do some cricket.”
Having made that stab at gallows humour, Shorthouse emphasized he wants nothing more than to do his real job.
“Thankfully, I have two very understanding and generous employers so I’ll be okay, put it that way,” added Shorthouse, a father of two (ages 8 and 6). “I’m happy for that and from a family standpoint but I’d much rather be watching the Canucks play than sitting at home doing something else. I’ll be deeply disappointed if there is a lockout because I want nothing more than to get the games going.”
Jim Hughson, the lead play-by-play voice on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada, won’t be as financially fortunate as Shorthouse. In his deal, if there is no play, there is no pay.
“What would I be doing if there’s a lockout? Nothing, it’s as simple as that,” said Hughson. “I’m under contract exclusively so if there is no hockey, I’m getting no money. The worst part of it is the uncertainty of not knowing how long it might be. I’ve been through this before so you have to be patient. I’ll probably watch a lot of local hockey.”
During the last lockout, Hughson helped Ryan Walter coach the Semiahmoo bantam AAA team in White Rock. Their star player was defenceman Colten Teubert, who went on to become an NHL first-round pick of the L.A. Kings. (Teubert’s now in the Edmonton Oiler system.) Hughson and Walter both had sons on the Semiahmoo team.
“I don’t coach anymore, which filled the void last time,” Hughson noted. “Maybe if CBC brings back Movie Night In Canada, I’ll be a critic. Maybe I can use this interview with you as an advertisement for work.”
Sportsnet hockey producer Greg Shannon is in the same financial pickle as Hughson. If there are no games, he doesn’t get paid. He produces for Sportsnet on a freelance basis.
“As freelancers, we’re all free to find other work but once you do the same thing every winter for 20 years, you’re kind of out of the mix for doing things like CFL and NBA,” Shannon pointed out. “I guess we are collateral damage. But you know what? There are going to be other people who are worse off than me, like people with kids and stuff, and people who are putting their kids through college and depend on the NHL. We are all keeping our fingers crossed.”
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