We still don’t know — at least not officially — who will serve as colour commentator on Vancouver Canucks TV broadcasts in 2023-24, but we do now know that John Shorthouse will once again return as play by play caller.
An official announcement by Sportsnet of their plans for the 2023-24 season isn’t expected until next week, but Sportsnet 650’s Satiar Shah reported Thursday that John Shorthouse has a new contract and will be back on play by play, a role he’s filled on TV for the past 15 years.
Shah’s report refuted a suggestion made earlier Thursday by CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal that Shorthouse was still without a contract, less than a week before Sportsnet broadcasts their first game of the 2023-24 campaign, one of next week’s Canucks pre-season games.
(The Canucks are unusual around the NHL in that they have pre-season games included in their regional TV deal. Most teams don’t do a full production in pre-season, if they broadcast their pre-season games at all.)
During the discussion about Shorthouse’s status, Dhaliwal’s co-host Don Taylor made reference to U.S. markets perhaps being an option for Shorthouse, since hockey broadcast jobs rarely come open in Canada. Staying with the Canucks’ broadcast seemed the most logical option, Taylor suggested.
Mentioning the U.S. likely was a reference to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ TV play by play job, which was revealed as open two weeks ago, though the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the team’s radio play by play caller seemed set to take over the TV role.
Who will be in the booth with Shorthouse remains a question mark. John Garrett announced at the end of last season that he wasn’t returning to the Sportsnet Pacific booth for 2023-24, though he is expected to fill some kind of role for Sportsnet’s national broadcast.
Much speculation has swirled around Dave Tomlinson — who worked on Seattle Kraken radio broadcasts the past two seasons and used to be the colour man on Canucks radio broadcasts before that. It’s likely that Tomlinson will fill the job, perhaps stepping aside for a handful of games for Ray Ferraro. Ferraro has a full-time gig with ESPN in the U.S.
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