Veteran sports commentator Chris Cuthbert jumps from TSN to Sportsnet

The decision to step out of the CFL broadcast booth was difficult for veteran sports commentator Chris Cuthbert.

He felt it was time to be a national NHL play-by-play analyst again, when the league emerges from its COVID-19 hiatus.

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Cuthbert's switch from TSN to Sportsnet announced Friday created a stir because he's been an enduring voice in Canada's popular professional leagues for over three decades.

"I'm getting old," the 62-year-old from Brampton, Ont., told The Canadian Press. "The national TV rights have six more years at Sportsnet. I started doing the math during the pandemic while I watched all these old NHL classics of me doing games on Hockey Night in Canada in the nineties.

"I started thinking if I'm going to have the opportunity again, it isn't guaranteed and it won't come again until I'm about 70. The opportunity to do more playoff hockey and to do hockey on Saturday nights was just too inviting."

Cuthbert's been at TSN since 2005, where he was the network's lead CFL commentator as well as an NHL play-by-play voice on regional broadcasts.

He worked on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" prior to joining TSN. CBC terminated his contract during the NHL lockout of 2004-05.

Cuthbert started in 1984 anchoring regional western games and rose to be one of the broadcaster's premier commentators.

He's worked NHL games for NBC in recent years, but felt the pull to speak to a Canadian audience.

"Something special about following a Canadian team and a Canadian run during the playoffs when you're covering it in Canada, looking forward to that again," he said.

Not calling CFL games will feel strange, he said.

"It's an excruciating decision. The league has always meant so much to me," Cuthbert said. "I've done over 800 games. I've been involved in 25 Grey Cups. When I called Winnipeg's Grey Cup victory last year, it meant that I'd called every team in the league winning at least one Grey Cup. I started thinking 'how much more is there?'

"The only thing left is the opportunity to call a game involving a team from Atlantic Canada. I regret not having that opportunity, but I don't know how soon that was coming."

Cuthbert called Sidney Crosby's championship-winning goal for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and was a play-by-play commentator for the 2018 Winter Games.

He's a five-time Canadian Screen Award winner for his broadcasting work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020.

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