Year 2026: A Look Back at the Rogers/NHL Mega Deal

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I wake up and am greeted by my automated Rogers alarm clock, complete with personalized celebrity voice greetings.  I chose Sam Elliott, who greets me every morning with a variation of his classic “Roadhouse” line: “Hey Amigo, wake up!  You’ll sleep when you’re dead.”

Next, I logon to my wall-sized, touch screen day planner and select what I want to have for breakfast.  Organic eggs, gluten free pancakes and a side of kale flakes and soy milk.  My preferred fresh start of bacon and eggs was banded six years ago during the Sustenance Revolution.  The automated operating system, another Rogers product, also coordinates my automated wardrobe system and starts my Rogers Z150 hovercraft, which will take me to my job at Rogers Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care.

The year is 2026 and it has been 13 years since Rogers connected on a $5.2 billion deal with the NHL for exclusive multimedia rights; a deal that systematically wiped all other sports networks in Canada off the map.  The deal also extinguished voice and data providers Bell and Telus, and put a halt to Verizon’s hostile takeover of Canada.

Since the date the ink dried on the colossal deal, we’ve seen two stock market crashes, a global warming crisis that has witnessed the epic rise of fusion-based energy, Rob Ford’s wildly successful succession of Oprah on daytime talk, Justin Timberlake’s term in the White House, followed by Shaquille O’Neill’s, and 12 Kim Kardashian weddings.  Tiger Woods finally broke Jack Nicklaus’ PGA majors record on a sunny day in Augusta and they thawed out Ted Williams, who returned to the Red Sox lineup and went on to hit .400 and shatter Barry Bonds’ career home run record, much to Bud Selig’s delight.  They finally found Jimmy Hoffa’s body, buried under an IHOP in West Virginia, and it turns out Elvis and Tupac really are alive—touring underground discos as a duet in Bolivia, of all places.  Go figure.

Within the four years after the deal between Rogers and the NHL was signed, TSN and The Score were gobbled up by the soaring conglomerate.  CBC, as a whole, withered away after having to relinquish Hockey Night in Canada, a year before their agreement with Rogers was up.  Absent the revenue from HNIC, there just wasn`t enough public interest to keep the historic network afloat.  Peter Mansbridge passed away and, let’s be honest, who really ever watched Coronation Street?

Hockey analyst Bob McKenzie jumped ship at TSN soon after the deal was announced and joined the Rogers crew, where he butted heads with Nick Kypreos.  Kipper and Scoops teamed up to become a poor man’s version of Don Cherry and Ron McLean, arguing over everything from rule changes to fantasy selections.  Speaking of Don Cherry, he turned down a lucrative offer from Rogers to continue “Coach’s Corner”, instead deciding to make a go of it through podcasts, Youtube rants and Twitter.  Only problem was, Grapes couldn’t figure out how to turn on his wireless connection and was too stubborn to ask for help.

The worst and the best thing that happened after the deal was signed included Pierre McGuire.  Through poor advisement, Rogers hired McGuire and his ridiculous “Between the Benches” routine in July of 2015.  The good news came six months later when he was attacked and ripped to shreds by wild grizzly bears while shooting a scene for Rogers Hockeyville in northern B.C.  His last words were:  “Oh, he’s a monster!”

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  The Leafs won the cup.  10 years in a row and counting…

Jamie McKinven
Author / Blogger at glassandout.com
Jamie McKinven, author of “So You Want Your Kid to Play Pro Hockey?” and “Tales from the Bus Leagues,” is a former professional hockey player who played in the NCAA, ECHL, CHL and Europe.

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