Ron MacLean loses major show as 'Hometown Hockey' cancelled

Canadian hockey fans will be seeing a little less of Ron MacLean next season.

Sportsnet confirmed to The Athletic's Sean Fitz-Gerald that it has cancelled Hometown Hockey, a show that travelled to a different part of Canada each week for eight seasons. MacLean hosted the program alongside Tara Slone.

“There’s so much loss for some in this story,” MacLean said in an interview with Fitz-Gerald. “That’s first and foremost: I just think of those who are affected.”

Ron MacLean's workload is reportedly getting a little lighter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)
Ron MacLean's workload is reportedly getting a little lighter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Hometown Hockey had been a fixture of Sportsnet's hockey programming since Rogers signed a 12-year, $5.2-billion rights deal with the NHL in 2013. It originally aired on Sundays but eventually switched to a Monday time slot.

Sources told Fitz-Gerald that the weekly production was "an expensive line on the corporate ledger" and became tough to justify in a time where the sports media industry is undergoing change and cuts. All told, Hometown Hockey made 160 stops across Canada.

Just because MacLean will no longer be appearing on Hometown Hockey doesn't mean he'll be off the air completely. The 62-year-old will still be a fixture on Saturday nights for Hockey Night in Canada. He says a new contract has not been finalized but has been agreed to "in principle."

MacLean also addressed speculation that he and the network have been looking to part ways, denying the rumours that seem to circulate on a regular basis.

“I don’t know where that gets started,” MacLean told Fitz-Gerald. “But it’s just every year that it seems to find its legs, and every year, it’s not true. I can’t speak for Sportsnet, but I can speak from my end: I just think it’s an exciting time to be around the game.”

MacLean began hosting Hockey Night in Canada in 1986 and held the job until 2014. After two years away from the position, he returned to the program in 2016.

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