For fans of Michael McKinley’s Hockey: A People’s History and Bob Cole’s Now I’m Catching On—a book about what’s changed in hockey, what never should, and a celebration of what we love about the game, from the broadcaster, analyst, and longtime executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, John Shannon.
For decades, Hockey Night in Canada has been the gold standard not just for hockey broadcasts, but for all sports across North America. It shows the stories of the game: on-ice heroics, the love and support of family, small-town values, and big-city lights. Meet the person who shaped that standard.
John Shannon was the longtime executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, starting at the bottom and working his way up through the 1980s and 1990s. He has a unique view of the game and how the way we enjoy it has developed. Technology plays a role, but it’s about the storytelling—modern-day gladiators and their trials—and hockey provides endless good stories.
Shannon’s world behind the scenes is every bit as colourful and unexpected as what happens on the ice—and just as full of rich characters. From standing up to the Edmonton Oilers’ mighty Glen Sather to ordering then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to keep out of a dressing room, these stories illuminate the big moments and people that have made the game special.
Shannon captures a nostalgia for the great broadcasts of the past—complete with baby blue Hockey Night in Canada blazers—and a pride in how far we’ve come in improving the game and expanding on the stories we tell. He also shares the keys to a long and successful career: integrity, loyalty, determination, and above all passion. Much has changed in the sport and how we enjoy it, but Shannon’s career shows that some things must always remain.