Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Grapes Planned as 'Hockey Night in Canada' Returns This Weekend

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Grapes Planned as 'Hockey Night in Canada' Returns This Weekend

Article excerpt

More Grapes as 'Hockey Night in Canada' returns

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TORONTO - The 60th season of "Hockey Night in Canada" kicks off this weekend with twice as much Grapes and plans for a cross-country tour.

The long-delayed return of the Saturday night staple will feature an expanded in-studio panel of analysts, plans to visit each of the seven Canadian NHL cities, and an extra dose of Don Cherry commentary that will air during the later game out of the West.

The tweaks are all meant to make "Hockey Night in Canada" a more truly national broadcast, said host Ron MacLean.

"We met with the seven Canadian NHL team presidents last year and they thought, 'Is there more you can do? We just feel like we don't get enough of "Hockey Night in Canada" because it all happens out of the CBC building in Toronto.'"

Cherry said the planned tour -- in which he and MacLean expect to introduce games from the ice -- is a long time coming.

"What is this, 'Hockey Night in Canada' or is it 'Hockey Night in Toronto'?" said Cherry, sporting a black suit and tartan tie for a round of interviews at CBC headquarters.

"For years that's what it's been. So we thought, it'd be good if Ron and I go out and they make it nationwide and the whole deal."

Starting Saturday, Cherry will also be coming up with more bombastic zingers. In addition to the "Coach's Corner" segment that airs during the first intermission of the early evening game from the East, he'll be hosting a brief commentary segment for the later game out of the West.

"We always wanted Don in between games, to make sure he got into the West but there isn't a guarantee that we have what we call a window between the first game at 7 eastern and the 10 o'clock game," noted MacLean.

"So this guarantees Don will come on for a couple minutes right at the end of that first period in the second game."

"It'll just make my beer a little colder when I get home, that's all," Cherry said of his added duties. …

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