Gone are the days of the Flames appearing on TSN and an independent CBC. Starting this upcoming season, and for the next 12 years, the Flames will be broadcast exclusively by Rogers Sportsnet. With the new hockey broadcasting landscape comes a new broadcasting team for the Flames: two Hockey Night in Canada veterans, Rick Ball on play by play and Kelly Hrudey on colour. Roger Millions returns as host.
You can find the Flames' entire broadcast schedule for the 2014-15 season here (beware the autoplay video in the link).
It's pretty much an immediate improvement. With absolutely no disrespect intended, the Rob Kerr/Charlie Simmer broadcast team was a little... lacking. Gone are the calls of "Where is it?!" and "Keep your feet moving," and in come new voices. (Furthermore, if you were someone who didn't like Kerr or Peter Loubardias' higher pitches, you're in luck, because Ball has a lower voice.)
Ball and Hrudey have previously called Flames games on Hockey Night in Canada. If you'd like a refresher, here are a few samples from last season, including a goal (I love the way Ball says "Calgary"!) and some complete and utter mayhem:
Ball comes to us not only from CBC, but from Vancouver as well, calling both Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions games. His voice is easy to listen to and he's articulate, so I'm sure we can forgive him for that.
Hrudey, meanwhile, already lives in Calgary, and is familiar with the Flames, so seeing him on the new broadcast team was pretty much expected.
The change to Sportsnet for all 82 games is sure to be one that will take some getting used to, but the Flames' new broadcast team will likely ease that transition. Ball and Hrudey are already pretty good commentators in their own rights, but as they get used to the Flames full time, they'll almost certainly get even better.
Meanwhile, filling Peter Maher's radio shoes is longtime (13 years and over 1,000 games called) Hamilton Bulldogs broadcaster Derek Wills. Wills will be partnered with Loubardias, who remains on colour for the FAN960's broadcast of Flames games. You can introduce yourself to Wills' voice by checking out these highlights from a Heat/Bulldogs game early last season: