The Winnipeg Jets have confirmed the deal to have all games on TSN Regional TV and 1290 Sports Radio for 10 years.
TSN is launching a specialty channel called TSN Jets, starting on Sept. 20 with the first pre-season game. The channel will initially be available to Bell subscribers, but TSN is working to add the channel to all content providers.
"It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see what was going on in this community from the build toward the team finally being announced on May 31st to the excitement and passion we’ve seen since then," said TSN president Stewart Johnston. "This is a small market compared to some of the other markets in Canada and around the NHL, but we truly believe the support in this region — not just in Winnipeg and Manitoba — is immense.
"When discussions began with the group we were thrilled and we jumped on board with no hesitation whatsoever. We think this is a fantastic opportunity."
TSN also announced a permanent TSN bureau is being set up in Winnipeg, anchored by Winnipeg's Sara Orlesky.
Winnipegosis product Dennis Beyak and Brian Munz will be play-by-play announcers on TSN Jets and 1290 Sports Radio. Neepawa’s Shane Hnidy, fresh from a Stanley Cup win with the Boston Bruins and recently retired, will be the radio colour man. Brian Engblom and Mike Johnson will handle colour on TSN Jets games.
The association with 1290 means that pro hockey has found a new home on the radio dial as all 15 seasons of Manitoba Moose hockey and the last few years of the Jets prior to their relocation to Phoenix in 1996 were broadcast by CJOB. Munz, the voice of the Moose for the past five years, has left CJOB to join 1290. Munz will call 50-plus games on the radio, with Beyak handling all 82 on either radio or television. Beyak has done play-by-play for the Toronto Maple Leafs since 1998.
"I watched the events unfold that day (of May 31st, the day the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers) on TSN and as a born-and-raised Manitoban I got rather excited," said Beyak. "The opportunity for a Manitoba guy to come home and be a part of this really took over and consumed me. It was something I went after hard and I’m just thrilled to be here."
Even with the loss of the radio rights, CJOB has plans to beef up its coverage of the Jets as Kelly Moore -- the predecessor to Munz at the station – is returning to Winnipeg to help in coverage that will include pre-game shows both home and away.
The new association between the Jets and TSN is worth substantial coin to the club, although the financial details were not released.
"In the new NHL a broadcast agreement like this that provides you the opportunity to have all your games covered, home and away, into your regional marketplace as a complement to the national deals is very significant," said True North president and CEO Jim Ludlow. "It’s a major turning point for us moving forward in terms of our ability to expose the hockey club. Clearly it’s a big revenue line for member clubs in the new National Hockey League today from where you might have been five, six or seven years ago. And certainly in the last incarnation of the team here regional rights fees were not like they are today. The world’s changed dramatically."