Calling it their "dream team," Sportsnet on Monday in Toronto unveiled some of its hosts for when it takes over as the national broadcaster of NHL games in Canada.
Among the changes is George Stroumboulopoulos taking over as host of "Hockey Night in Canada."
"Hockey is one of my deep-seated passions and I'm thrilled to be going full circle, returning to my roots in sports broadcasting," Stroumboulopoulos said.
The 41-year-old is best known in Canada for his news-focused talk show on CBC, but said he got his start as a sports reporter, including time at the radio station now known as Sportsnet 590 AM.
"A lot of people don't realize I started my career in sports and I was in sports long before I was on television," Stroumboulopoulos said. "That's how I learned how to interview, talking to athletes pre- and postgame."
While Stroumboulopoulos isn't the typical sports host, some already approve of the decision.
"I think he’s brilliant," Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke said during a break at the general managers meeting in Florida. "I don't think there are a lot of guys who could switch from a news format to a sports format, but he can. He's a brilliant guy, I think.
"I think those real top guys in broadcasting can do just about any job and he's one of the top guys. You watch him, he's got a great sense of humor, he's very bright. I had no idea that was coming but I'm a big fan of his. It surprises me, but that's good news."
Stroumboulopoulos replaces Ron MacLean as host of HNIC, and also will host the network's Sunday show, "NHL Hometown Hockey."
MacLean will remain partnered with Don Cherry as the host of the popular "Coach's Corner" segment on HNIC. The duo will enter their 29th year together next season.
In his new role, MacLean also will continue as the host of the annual Hockey Day in Canada festivities and will play a major role in the Sunday show, which will feature weekly segments broadcast from various hockey communities across Canada.
"Sunday night will be a great show. And I'm excited for the challenge," MacLean said. "I'm thrilled about the way Rogers and 'Hockey Night in Canada' intend to recognize the community in the new deal. Thirty-five million voices will play a part and I'm simply honored to be a part of the team."
Daren Millard, who hosts the daily show "Hockey Central at Noon," will continue in that role and add duties as the host of "Wednesday Night Hockey" on Sportsnet.
Jeff Marek will host "Thursday Night Hockey" on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet's weekend afternoon NHL pregame shows.
Scott Moore, president of Rogers Sportsnet and NHL properties, called the announcement Monday the "first line" of the network's hockey coverage and said he expects to announce the network's full complement of broadcast teams by mid-April.
In November 2013, Rogers Sportsnet and the NHL agreed to a 12-year, $5.3 billion contact for exclusive national broadcasting and multimedia rights in the country, starting with the 2014-15 season.