Former head of CBC sports wants a crowd
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | October 12, 2017|
Alan Clark knows a thing or two about big television broadcasts.
The former head of CBC television and radio sports for 15 years now lives in Haliburton with his family.
“It’s a TV event,” he says of Hometown Hockey. “This broadcast [of the Vegas Golden Knights vs the Boston Bruins] is actually going to originate from Haliburton and that’s never happened before.”
It will also be heavily promoted the night before during the Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens clash, which will attract millions of viewers. Clark estimates a minimum of two million people will see the promos for Hometown Hockey on Saturday night. Millions will also tune in Sunday, he said.
“For Haliburton as a county, to be on network television, is simply a huge deal. You couldn’t begin to buy the kind of promotion that we’re going to get,” Clark said.
He said Rogers will bring a travelling studio on a tractor trailer that expands, “so everybody can stand outside and see the broadcast and there’ll be a big screen to watch the hockey game.” Host Ron MacLean will be in that studio which will be glassed in against outside noise and weather. MacLean will arrive Sunday at Head Lake Park. His co-host, Tara Slone, will be in town from Saturday, putting together promos for that night’s hockey game and Sunday’s broadcast.
Clark definitely had a role in bringing this event to town. He is acquainted with Scott Moore [head of production for Rogers Communications’ Sportsnet and NHL properties] and shared the history of Haliburton hockey with him, including five hockey alumni [Matt Duchene, Cody Hodgson, Bernie Nicholls, Ron Stackhouse and Walt McKechnie] as well as the history of Haliburton Hockey Haven.
“Combine all of that … in a town of 6,000 people and a county of 17,000 people and it’s pretty extraordinary,” Clark said.
He added that for Rogers Hometown Hockey to have chosen a community of this size is equally extraordinary.
“The beauty of this is there’s a formula to it. They employ a private company who manages this. The responsibility of our community is essentially to accommodate them as best we can … it’s getting people out. On Sunday night, when those cameras pan the crowd, you want a crowd there.”
He noted that shuttle buses have been organized to bring people from across the county.
“The real success will be the number of people who come out to participate and show their Haliburton colours.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.