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The oldest sports show still on the air, anywhere, having started on radio in 1931 and airing on CBC television since 1952. In many ways, it is to Canada what Monday Night Football is for many Americans, a cultural touchstone as much as a mere sports telecast. The only difference is that it always airs the regular season games on Saturday night while the playoffs largely take over most of the CBC TV prime time schedule in the spring.

Each game has two 18-minute intermissions as per standard National Hockey League rules, which the show uses for interviews with players, documentaries and commentaries such as Don Cherry, a former coach now most famous for his loud rants and his louder clothing in a segment called "Coach's Corner". Each week sees at least two games, and sometimes as many as four, regionally divided, over the course of an evening. The Playoffs will usually see at least one game per day broadcast, until the team eliminations leading up to the Stanley Cup Finals start to thin the ranks.

In addition, in the 1970s, cartoon segments starring Peter Puck were shown to illustrate to newbies the basics of the game like its rules, equipment and officials.

The show's long-running opening theme song, originally written in 1968, has been referred to as "Canada's second national anthem." Unfortunately, due to complicated legal issues, CBC lost the rights to the song in 2008 to rival network TSN. CBC ran a contest inviting the public to create a new theme tune and the winner was "Canadian Gold." Quoted, appropriately, in the intro to the Propagandhi song "Dear Coaches Corner", which criticizes the segment for thrusting conservative political commentary during a sports game.

This show provides examples of:

  • Butt Monkey: Pick any hockey team south of the Mason-Dixon line, and/or west of Missouri.
  • Catch Phrase: Foster Hewitt's "He shoots...He scores!", since used by numerous other announcers.
    • Also, Foster Hewitt's quote at the top of this page could be considered one.
      • Bob Cole's various uses of "Oh baby!" come to mind, come to mind. "Everything is happening" will hopefully make a return to
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ron Maclean
    • Former colour analyst Harry Neale (now broadcasting for the Buffalo Sabres) is well known for his dry wit and puns. The contrast between him and Bob Cole's over-excited play-by-play was remarkably effective.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Accidentally invoked in a roundabout way by Don Cherry when he claimed that former junior coach Graham James, who had recently been convicted for molesting some of his young teenage players, ought to be "tarred and feathered." This led to protests from James, who claimed that Cherry's words put him in danger from his fellow inmates. Apparently Coach's Corner is really popular in Canadian prisons.
  • Impossibly cool ...Something Clothes. Don Cherry's wardrobe ... words fail me. It's ... Italian pimp crossed with ... no, that's not it -- it's ... Miss Canada crossed with ... oh hell, just watch Coach's Corner and enjoy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Don Cherry is an abrasive, obnoxious loudmouth. He's also a teddy bear underneath it all. Anyone who heard him speak at his wife Rose's funeral and still thinks he's a complete a-hole has no soul.
  • Large Ham: Look at the photo above and take a wild guess.
  • Live but Delayed - Coach's Corner because of comments made by Don Cherry about French Canadians. It's now on a seven-second delay "just in case".
  • Long Runners - Nearly eighty years in all, nearly sixty on television.
  • No Pronunciation Guide - Until recently, broadcasters had a hell of a time with Eastern European names.
    • And historically, English Canadian announcers had a hard time with French Canadian player names.
    • Don Cherry himself regularly mispronounces the names of Jacques Martin and Jean Sebastian Giguere, though this could be intentional. Becomes ridiculous with Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks, whose name Cherry pronounces as "Bieska" every single time he mentions him. And it's not intended as derogatory, because Cherry does it even when he's complimenting Bieksa.
      • Cherry mentions some are intentional. Dustin Byfuglien, for example (pronounced buff-lin locally, pronounced bu-foog-lee-in by Cherry)
    • He also pronounces Luongo as Lalongo for some reason.
    • Bob Cole has trouble pronouncing everyone's name.
      • Slightly averted now that Erik Cole is a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Nice Hat - Don Cherry wears quite a few so many of these.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero - Don Cherry's views on European hockey players, for starters.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Only Don Cherry, one of Canada's most macho men, could get away with wearing outfits that loud and not have his heterosexuality questioned.
  • Ruined FOREVER - A common complaint when the hockey theme was changed, because apparently people don't watch for the hockey.
  • Theme Tune - "The Hockey Theme" was the iconic theme of Hockey Night for 40 years.
  • Who Needs Overtime - During the mid-1980s, a playoff overtime was pre-empted by CBC due to programming conflicts. Host Dave Hodge tossed his pencil in exasperation and announced, "That's the way things go these days in sports and at this network. We'll leave you in suspense. Good night from Hockey Night in Canada," and was actually fired for it, paving the way for current host Ron MacLean. Discredited by the fact that, since then, CBC will never cut off overtime, ever. (It helps that there's seldom anything of interest on early Sunday mornings anyway.)
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