SUN Hockey Pool

Hockey in Punjabi is back

BILL KAUFMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:08 PM ET

Following a second consecutive pre-season elimination, the puck is dropping again for CBC's Punjabi hockey broadcast.

And the hockey fan possibly the happiest with the decision is Calgary CBC reporter Harnarayan Singh, who calls the play-by-play.

"It's been quite a ride but we're ecstatic to be back on the air," said Singh, who's been the heart of the broadcast since 2008.

When the program was cancelled in the fall of 2010 due to lack of funding, a petition signed by 4,500 people helped reverse its demise.

This time, there was no petition, said Singh, just plenty of pressure on CBC officials and politicians from Punjabi hockey followers.

And the show landed a new sponsor -- Chevrolet Canada, he notes.

"I'm really amazed how passionate the south Asian community is about the show," said Singh.

"It's something the community's really proud of and it makes them feel Canadian -- there's nothing more multicultural than having hockey broadcast like this."

Singh, in his trademark dark-coloured turban, will take to the airwaves this weekend to call matchups between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

"We're the only broadcast team that does two games in a row -- it's a lot of fun to watch hockey and talk about hockey," said the Alberta native.

The network is delighted to appeal once again to Canada's diversity, said Julie Bristow, CBC's executive director of studio and unscripted programming.

"Hockey is such a large part of our country's culture and we're very happy to continue to offer our national sport to even more of Canada's diverse population on its biggest stage each week," she said.

Singh said he hopes that continues uninterrupted into next season as well and has some confidence it will.

"That it's come back twice says a lot," he said.

Singh and an unnamed analyst will call two games a week during the regular season and one series per playoff round this spring.

bill.kaufmann@sunmedia.ca

twitter@SUNbillkaufmann


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