Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Bieksa says he’ll return to Hockey Night in Canada for the 2023–24 season
By Mike Gould7 months ago
It appears that reports of Kevin Bieksa’s departure from the Hockey Night in Canada panel have been greatly exaggerated.
The former Vancouver Canucks defenceman, who has garnered rave reviews since joining Hockey Night in 2020, confirmed in a post on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he’ll be back on the national hockey telecast in the 2023–24 season.
“If Ron MacLean is coming back then so am I!” Bieksa tweeted on Tuesday.
Longtime Toronto sports columnist Howard Berger wrote on his Between the Posts website last week that Rogers Communications, which owns Sportsnet, was considering making significant changes to Hockey Night.
“Only Elliotte Friedman is safe,” read the headline of Berger’s piece from July 8. Berger suggested that Rogers was exploring the logistics of potentially moving on from Ron MacLean, Kelly Hrudey, Jennifer Botterill, and Bieksa, noting that “MacLean’s future, in particular, seems tenuous.”
It seems, at least for the time being, that those concerns may have been unfounded. As longtime hockey media member John Shannon reported on Monday, MacLean confirmed at a charity golf event that he will be back behind the Hockey Night desk during the 2023–24 season.
No updates have surfaced to this point on the respective statuses of Botterill or Hrudey, who have both been mainstays on the panel for the last few seasons. Hrudey also serves as a colour commentator on Calgary Flames regional broadcasts.
Bieksa, 42, played defence for the Canucks from 2005 to 2015. One of the Canucks’ most physical and productive blue-liners at his peak, Bieksa racked up 10 points in 25 games for the club during its run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
The Canucks originally selected Bieksa with the No. 151 overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. The six-foot-one defender collected 63 goals and 278 points in 808 career NHL games with the Canucks and Anaheim Ducks.
Bieksa officially retired as a player in 2022 after signing a one-day contract with the Canucks. He was named a nominee for a Canadian Screen Award in 2021 for his work on the Hockey Night panel.
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