Courtesy Montreal Gazette
Canadian hockey fans will be seeing a lot less of Pierre McGuire in the future.
The ubiquitous analyst, who has been dividing his time between Canada and the United States since NBC regained the U.S. rights for National Hockey League games in 2006, has decided to concentrate on his duties south of the border.
“It’s a chance to spend more time with my family,” said the 50-year-old McGuire, who has an 11-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old. “I’ll be doing two games a week for Versus or NBC and spend one night in the Versus studio.”
McGuire, his wife Melanie and the kids will move in August from Westmount to New Canaan, Conn., which is a hop, step and a jump from the Versus studios in Stamford, Conn.
McGuire said he will continue to appear on TSN’s network of radio stations across Canada, and that includes his daily hit with Mitch Melnick on the Team 990. There have also been suggestions that McGuire may be involved in some special projects for TSN such as contributing to its draft coverage.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with both networks and I’m grateful for the opportunities TSN and NBC have provided for me,” McGuire said. “Concentrating my efforts on the NBC and Versus gives me more family time and there are some interesting professional opportunities.”
McGuire is referring to the fact that NBC recently renewed its contract to cover the Olympic Games.
“I’ll get a chance to work on the next three summer Games and two winter Games,” McGuire said.
NBC and McGuire have been working on a deal for several months and the final negotiations were delayed by the sudden departure of NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol.
Sam Flood, the executive producer of the NBC games and McGuire changed the way hockey games are covered by introducing the “inside the glass” format that saw the analyst move to ice level between the opposing benches. This allowed the network to bring fans a closer look at the action and opened the opportunity for interviews during the game.
McGuire’s high-energy style is polarizing. Fans either love him or hate him, but there’s no doubt that he knows the game and I appreciate him as the anti-Don Cherry for his pro-visor stance and his appreciation of the fact that most hockey fights are unnecessary. McGuire was born in New Jersey and grew up there and in Montreal. He played hockey at a Division III school in the U.S. and later played in Europe. He has his name on the Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992, had a brief head coaching stint with a very bad Hartford Whalers team and was in the Ottawa Senators’ head office before he began his broadcasting career.
Melnick hired McGuire to work at CIQC, and he was then hired by the late Ted Blackman in 1996 to work with Dino Sisto on Canadiens radio broadcasts at CJAD. McGuire moved to TSN in 2002 when it won the Canadian cable rights to NHL games.
Over the years, McGuire has been mentioned in connection with coaching or GM jobs with the New York Rangers, Minnesota, Ottawa and even the Canadiens, but it appears he realizes that broadcasting offers more security and more time for his family.