Choosing between TSN and Sportsnet contract offers ‘excruciating decision’ for Chris Cuthbert

Photo courtesy: TSN

Chris Cuthbert had a difficult decision to make between competing offers from TSN and Sportsnet for his play-by-play services.

According to Postmedia reporter Dan Barnes, Cuthbert’s contract with TSN ended on May 30, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had Cuthbert reassessing life and career goals. Sportsnet holds the NHL broadcast rights for another six years through 2025-2026 and being 62 years old, Cuthbert wanted to call hockey games again before retirement.

“As we got closer to my TSN contract expiring, my agent said would you like me to find out if there is interest elsewhere? He did that and there was. I did have an offer from TSN as well,” Cuthbert told Barnes.

“It wasn’t like they were kicking me to the curb. It is tough to leave those people. (TSN president) Stew Johnson, who I had to call, is one of the finest guys in the business. I haven’t had to do much tougher than call him and say I was moving on.”

As part of the $5.2 billion, 12-year agreement finalized in December 2013, Rogers obtained the Canadian NHL rights on all platforms to every game — including all playoff games and the Stanley Cup Final. That could allow Cuthbert to call a Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career.

“It’s an excruciating decision. The league has always meant so much to me. 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,” Cuthbert told The Canadian Press.

“The opportunity to do more playoff hockey and to do hockey on Saturday nights was just too inviting. 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.”

Cuthbert joined CBC Sports in 1984 and from 1993-2004 he called games on Hockey Night in Canada.