The CFL off-season doesn’t start until tomorrow but there’s already been a roster move at TSN: Jock Climie will be leaving the panel.
The 50-year-old has been a member of the panel for – checks watch – 18 years. A first-round pick in 1990 draft, he played 12 seasons with Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal recording 627 receptions for 9,619 receiving yards and 56 touchdowns.
Climie’s departure was announced during the Grey Cup pre-game show and featured a touching tribute that featured Climie getting tackled by cheerleaders and feeding beer to Milt Stegall’s Hall-of-Fame bust.
A lawyer with Emond Harden, a firm specializing in labour and employment law, the official explanation for his departure is to allow him to focus on his law career and family responsibilities.
The harder truth is that the emergence of Henry Burris and, to a lesser extent, Davis Sanchez, as panellists have made Climie expendable. The CFL and TSN have made no secret of their fervent pursuit of a younger, more social media savvy demographic and while Burris (43) and Sanchez (44) aren’t exactly millennials, they do seem to have a grip on the relentless self-promotion required in the digital age. Climie, meanwhile, still struggles with Twitter.
TSN, which saw a moderate increase in their regular season ratings this season, has tried to shake things up with musical guests on Thursday night, live mic games and triple-header Saturdays in addition to shuffling their panellist. Given those changes, Climie’s departure is hardly a surprise.