In case you missed it, Sportsnet broadcaster Paul Romanuk was relieved of his position earlier this week and will NOT be calling games for the network in 2018-19. Romanuk, along with color commentator Greg Millen, called the majority of Toronto Maple Leafs games for Sportsnet in 2017-18 and… well let’s just say that fan sentiment was decidedly mixed on whether or not Romanuk was ultimately good at his job.
The truth is, while Romanuk may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, he’s still a knowledgable hockey broadcaster with an impressive resume. We never like to see anyone lose their livelihood and we wish him all the best in his broadcasting future. That being said, Leafs fans in particular were hopeful that this news meant that a broadcasting legend like Joe Bowen or Bob Cole to take on more of the team’s games in 2018-19. Not so fast…
Sportsnet announced yesterday morning that former Montreal Canadiens broadcaster John Bartlett will be taking Romanuk’s position and calling regional Leafs games for the network.
We are pleased to announce today that we are welcoming John Bartlett back to the Sportsnet team for the 2018-19 NHL season. BartsBytes will be calling play-by-play for Leafs regional broadcasts and select national games.
With this, Paul Romanuk has elected to move on to a new challenge. We consider Romanuk to be one of the top play-by-play announcers in the game and we will miss his contributions to our coverage.
Wow, that’s… disappointing.
While Bartlett is an experienced and knowledgable broadcaster, he cannot hold a candle to legends like Bowen and Cole.
Of course, both Bowen and Cole are both legendary broadcasters in Canada, specifically as they relate to the Maple Leafs. Bowen is sometimes called the “voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs” and has called over 3000 Leafs games over the course of his nearly 40 year career. His catchphrase of “Holy Mackinaw!”, can be heard not only on television and radio, but across backyard rinks and ponds across Ontario.
The 85 year old Cole is perhaps the most widely recognized voice in all of hockey broadcasting, especially in Canada. The veteran Hockey Night in Canada play by play man called nearly every Leafs Saturday night game from 1980 until 2008, and has continued to call games on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and Hometown Hockey broadcasts over the past decade. He’s a true legend of the game and, while he may not be as quick as he used to be, he has more knowledge and experience of the game than anyone else in broadcasting. He’s truly a living legend in Canada.
Hard not to think that Sportsnet really dropped the ball and missed an opportunity on this one. What do you think, Leafs fans? How happy are you to be inheriting the old Habs’ play by play broadcaster?