Cuthbert gets the call for TSN

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

Chris Cuthbert finally got to show everyone his winning hand yesterday.

He could barely contain his excitement as he spoke about it.

Two months after being unceremoniously dumped by CBC Sports after two decades of distinguished work, Cuthbert feels rejuvenated by what he considers an even better opportunity -- CFL and NHL play-by-play for TSN.

The 47-year-old Brampton native, who inked a five-year deal with the network, also will call a number of amateur sports events for CTV. He becomes TSN's lead CFL play-by-play voice, calling 35-of-54 games this season, starting with the June 11 exhibition in Halifax.

'PERFECT FIT'

"In my dreams in late February (when he was fired by CBC), I hoped to work for another network with the opportunities to do hockey and football," Cuthbert said yesterday. "There really was only one place to do that ... to me, it's a perfect fit."

CTV Inc. president Rick Brace surely agreed.

"(Cuthbert) is recognized in this country as an absolute star," said Brace of the Gemini Award-winning broadcaster, who will also play a key role in CTV/TSN's broadcast plans for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. "He's one of the best in the industry."

The two sides began discussions within a week of Cuthbert's curious firing by the CBC in late February.

It didn't take long for Brace and TSN president Phil King to sell Cuthbert on joining their stable of broadcast talent.

EXCITED TO START

"I was excited about working for TSN anyway, but their view of the future was so exciting that I couldn't wait to get started," said Cuthbert of their initial meeting.

"For the longest time, I've felt like a guy that's holding a royal flush and kind of waiting to show his cards."

Cuthbert had been the CBC's voice of the Grey Cup for nine years, and the heir apparent to Bob Cole as the lead voice on Hockey Night in Canada. But the corporation axed him in February, with budget cuts caused by the NHL lockout the stated reason.

His firing generated a storm of anger throughout the Canadian broadcast and sports world. Cuthbert admitted he was "overwhelmed" by the level of support he received.


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