In case you hadn’t heard already, longtime Hockey Night in Canada and former Vancouver Canucks play-by-play commentator Jim Hughson announced his retirement yesterday.
Hughson is synonymous with the game of hockey for many British Columbians and Canadians in general and is walking away on his own terms from a career that lasted 42 years and featured a dozen Stanley Cup Finals, two World Series, and two Olympic Games.
“It’s been a fantastic run and I’d like to thank Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and all my friends and colleagues over the years for the tremendous support and countless memories,” said Hughson in an official statement. “This is a decision I made in consultation with my family and I’m very much at peace with it. My only goal in this industry was to work at the highest level and on the last day of the season. I’ve had that opportunity a number of times and will always be grateful for it.”
The longtime voice that filled living rooms across the country every Saturday night joined The People’s Show on Sportsnet 650 yesterday and further elaborated on his decision to retire.
“It was a few things,” said Hughson. “From the day I started in the industry, I always had two things that I wanted to accomplish. I’ve never really been a goal-oriented person — I was just happy to do this for such a long time — but I wanted to work at the highest level in the business, and just like the players, I wanted to work on the last day of the season, and I got to do that. I felt like I accomplished that and COVID came along and it’s made great changes in travel and the way we do things.”
“I had this really good friend — Jason Murdoch — he was kind enough to go to the NHL and dig out the game sheet of the first game that I ever broadcast. It was a Vancouver Canucks versus Montreal Canadiens game in December of 1979. I looked at the game sheet when he gave it to me, and it was hand-written. That led me to think about all the time I’ve been doing it and I thought, ‘jeez, that’s 42 years!'”
“In any business, when it’s time to come to an end, you want to know it and you’ll accept it. Secondly, you want it to be on your terms. A confluence of things came together and wasn’t something I thought about last night and decided today. It’s been coming for a little while because of some of the changes in our world and the changes in our business and so I thought, ‘I’m fortunate enough to be able to do it,’ I just got to step aside.”
“It’s quite gratifying, it’s very, very humbling,” Hughson said of the outpouring of support he’s received since the announcement. “I wish I could speak to everyone individually but we’ll probably have to do that over time.”
You can listen to the full 650 interview with Hughson here.
From all of us at CanucksArmy and The Nation Network, happy retirement Jim!