Cole fires burning among Sens fans

ANN MARIE MCQUEEN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:26 PM ET

When the Ottawa Senators hit the ice for Game 5 tonight, Michael Church will be thinking about the new "ABC network."

"Anything but Cole," joked the commercial sales and leasing vice-president at Cushman & Wakefield LePage.

Church is among frustrated Ottawa fans who think CBC Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole dislikes their Sens.

"They drive me to RDS. I watch the games in French," said Church. "It's absolutely amazing. I was watching it last night with my daughter, we're hitting the mute button."

WAR OF WORDS

Church's words are reminiscent of 2001's war of words between Mayor Bob Chiarelli and Hockey Night analyst Harry Neale. Chiarelli accused Neale and Cole, who normally work together, of favouring the Leafs. Neale invited disgruntled Sens lovers to "take a big bite out of my a--."

Now fans are complaining Cole doesn't seem to know the names of many Ottawa players, seems unenthused whenever one of them scores a goal and heaps praise on Tampa Bay.

"I actually said to my wife 'Well, it must just be me,'" said Wayne Bartlett, who owns Bartlett Audio, a post-production company. "And then I was at my pickup hockey game yesterday and every single guy in the dressing room said 'What's with Bob Cole? He's got a hate on for the Sens.' "

Bartlett has taken to watching the game on CBC while listening to radio play-by-play from The Team 1200's Dean Brown and Gord Wilson.

The Team's program director Dave Mitchell said he's received almost 150 e-mails to that effect since the playoffs began. Most, he said, echo this listener's message to Cole: "Just because a team is in blue it doesn't mean they are the Leafs so quit being such a frickin' homer for Tampa."

CBC reps said Cole was unavailable for comment yesterday.

ann.marie.mcqueen@ott.sunpub.com


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