The worst-kept secret in the NHL was confirmed Wednesday, as the Winnipeg Jets announced a partnership deal with Bell Media, awarding broadcast rights to TSN and Sports Radio 1290.
Both stations will handle television and radio duties respectively, ending a long-running deal True North Sports and Entertainment held with CJOB to cover games of the former Manitoba Moose.
The 10-year deal will see Brian Munz and Dennis Beyak sharing play-by-play duties on the AM dial, while current NHL free agent Shane Hnidy handles colour commentary. Former players Brian Engblom and Mike Johnson will do colour for the TSN TV broadcasts.
Sports Radio 1290 will air all 82 regular season Jets games along with Stanley Cup Playoffs and pre-season games.
More than 60 pre-season and regular season games will be available regionally to fans on TSN in HD. The new channel will be called TSN Jets and launches September 20. Viewers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and parts of Northwestern Ontario will receive the new specialty channel on Bell TV, with the hope of more carriers being added in the future.
“True North Sports and Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets are ecstatic to have entered into this agreement with Bell Media,” said True North’s president and CEO Jim Ludlow. “It is a landmark agreement for broadcasting and professional hockey in Winnipeg.”
TSN will also broadcast five Jets games nationally, as part of its deal with the NHL.
TSN reporter and Winnipeg native Sara Orlesky will open the city’s first network bureau and be the lead reporter for all Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bomber games. Orlesky will cover all major sports news coming out of Manitoba as part of her duties.
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) August 31, 2011
While not the official broadcaster, CJOB is boosting its own Jets coverage by bringing back Kelly Moore and recently adding Jim Toth to their lineup.