Friday, 13 December 2019

Multilingual Broadcasts

In today's corporate world of network broadcasts of professional sports, it's rare that networks will allow other networks run live video of an event without some sort of major concessions being made or some sort of money being paid. Today, however, it seems that Rogers Sportsnet is doing something pretty special in partnering with APTN - the Aboriginal People's Television Network - when it comes to hockey broadcasts.

According to Sportsnet's release today, "Sportsnet and APTN have announced a new partnership to broadcast more NHL games in Plains Cree over the course of the next three seasons, beginning in January."

How cool is that? Hint: VERY.

We already know that Canadian hockey broadcasts are done in English, French, and Punjabi, but we can add a fourth language to the fold now as Sportsnet and APTN will partner together to broadcast six games per season in the Cree language over the next three seasons after a highly-successful broadcast in Cree last season. That game was between the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes in March with Clarence Iron doing the play-by-play broadcast while former NHLer John Chabot provided the colour analysis.

Rob Corte, Vice President of Sportsnet & NHL Productions, said in the release, "We know that Canada’s Indigenous communities have a great passion for hockey and we are excited grow our partnership with APTN to deliver more games over the next three years."

While there may only be a handful of months left on the NHL schedule this season, there will be six games broadcast from January through to April, and I'm proud to say that three of them will feature the Winnipeg Jets with all of those games happening on Hometown Hockey with Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan on Sundays, most notably during their stop in Manitoba at the Peguis First Nation on March 1!

The schedule for the six games are as follows (all times Central):
  • January 19: Winnipeg Jets vs. Chicago Blackhawks (730pm)
  • February 9: Winnipeg Jets vs. Chicago Blackhawks (730pm)
  • February 23: Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings (730pm)
  • Mar 1: Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (730pm)
  • March 15: Winnipeg Jets vs. Vancouver Canucks (830pm)
  • March 29: Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers (830pm)
Adding a broadcast in another language is never a bad thing, and I'm excited to see this new partnership flourish between Sportsnet and APTN. Perhaps this may the start of seeing other Indigenous languages being incorporated into broadcasts as well. Chabot, whose family comes from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, has Algonquin as their language, and he expressed a desire to see games broadcast in Algonquin at some point in the future. CBC North broadcasters also called an NHL game in Inuktitut during Hockey Day in Canada in 2010, so it seems the precedence is there and I'm willing to bet those involved in the broadcasts would come back to call a game again in their respective languages.

There was some question as to when we may hear "Kitâskwêw, pihtakwatâw!" - Cree for "he shoots, he scores" - on another broadcast. It seems that answer has been provided today as we'll hear that call on January 19, 2020!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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