NHL Puck Drop 2021: Sportsnet Looks To Limit Travel, Enhance Safety, Maintain Quality

The broadcaster had mere weeks to prep for a return to arenas

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After an abbreviated offseason fraught with uncertainty, Sportsnet heads back to the ice tonight for the start of an NHL season unlike any other. Having managed broadcast operations for the NHL’s Edmonton bubble during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Sportsnet is now tasked with producing hundreds of national and regional broadcasts from home arenas across Canada.

The broadcaster had mere weeks to prep for a return to arenas for the start of an NHL season unlike any other. Taking the reins of popular Hockey Night in Canada shows from Bell Media while overseeing the national broadcast, the hockey-crazed broadcaster has been preparing his NHL pucks and hotels for their return fall, taking on the job of putting sports fans on the ice for the first time in several years. Afteraccidentally forgetting a pucks giveaway ‒ like he so often does’, host Marty Newell wasn't confident he'd be ready for such a busy schedule.

"Work is a big challenge in this city and I'm a rookie," said Newell when it was revealed the cast was full the day of the show's premiere.


"It's something we had to think about. All programs need somebody to pull on the strings. I set that out. What would that person do in that situation? The first three months towards the end of this year, we will start to properly hone in on who we want to have pull strings when we don't have anybody doing anything."

-Quentin Gelinas

"It's unusual, but I don't think we are planning to do one-hour specials or anything," said Melvin Hunt, Executive Producer and Head of Montreal Canadiens Coverage. "It's the kind of thing we do. We'll see."

‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪Michele Peluso, Sports Director Editor

Reviewing the reconstructed schedule ‪

Barracks set up inside a local rink Texas (10): Toyota Centre Austin (7) Bell Center (51) Markham Centennial (1*)

(Most prominent games going back to 2011) Toronto Maple Leafs (24) Air Canada Centre Atlanta*

(Boomer of two games ahead: Gold Medal Game in Vancouver) Los Angeles Kings (26) Honda Center Anaheim* ‪ Calgary (7) Scotiabank Saddledome Calgary‬ ‪ Los Angeles (10*) Staples Center San Bernardino* ‪ Edmonton (12) Rexall Place† ‪

Stelios Demertjian costars alongside hockey pundit Al Sheridan, who also serves as Sportsnet's senior analyst and studio host. After suffering from the radio flashbacks of going all foggy in his youth, Demertjian is returning to some familiar venues