TSN’s Dave Randorf makes the end-zone leap to Rogers

Chris Zelkovich
Chris Zelkovich

TSN did a commendable job of securing its hockey talent after Rogers landed its big NHL deal, so it seems somehow strange that the first defection to the other side comes from TSN's football world.

After almost 15 years at TSN, Dave Randorf is moving to Rogers to become part of its expanded hockey coverage. That announcement is expected to be made official on Tuesday when Rogers unveils its hockey plans for the first season of its big NHL contract.

Randorf, known best for anchoring the CFL panel on TSN, reportedly had hoped to increase his profile in hockey. He had done some NHL and international games for TSN, but once the sports network locked up hockey announcers Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller, there was likely little opportunity for him to expand in that area.

There's only so much hockey to go around at TSN now.

"Dave has made a significant impact on many of our productions, namely our CFL and Hockey Canada broadcasts," TSN senior vice-president of production Mark Milliere wrote in an internal memo. "As he begins a new chapter in his broadcasting career, we thank him for his contributions and wish him all the best on his new job doing hockey play-by-play for the national package."

Milliere also told TSN staff that the network was planning to add more features to its CFL coverage under its new multi-year contract with the league.

"In addition to several production enhancements, we are also planning to introduce both new faces and some of our marquee talent to our CFL broadcasts," he wrote. "More details will come soon, but this is an exciting time for the entire team as we refresh various elements of CFL on TSN."

Losing the national cable deal with the NHL has had a domino effect on TSN employees. Not only did retaining Cuthbert and Miller mean less hockey work for Randorf, but it will likely mean that Dean Brown won't be back to call Ottawa Senators regional games on the network. It could also affect analyst Denis Potvin.

As for Randorf's replacement, there are several in-house possibilities -- a likely scenario since the first broadcast could be little more than a week away. Rod Smith has called CFL games and would be a good replacement. Other possibilities include veterans Brian Williams or Dave Hodge.

The network could also bring in a new face, the way Rogers tabbed George Stromboulopoulos to host its hockey coverage. But finding someone with strong knowledge of the CFL would be a challenge.

The network could have plenty of time to find someone, though, if the CFL doesn't solve its labour issues.