Jim Hughson is stepping away from the mic. The Hall of Fame play-by-play commentator has announced his retirement from sports broadcasting, closing out a remarkable 42-year career as one of the iconic voices of hockey in Canada.
“It’s been a fantastic run and I’d like to thank Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and all my friends and colleagues over the years for the tremendous support and countless memories,” said Hughson. “This is a decision I made in consultation with my family and I’m very much at peace with it. My only goal in this industry was to work at the highest level and on the last day of the season. I’ve had that opportunity a number of times and will always be grateful for it.”
Calling his first game on radio in 1979, Hughson has done hockey play-by-play spanning the course of six different decades, becoming one of Canada’s most notable voices. Hughson has covered countless NHL, OHL and CHL games and has been the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and national hockey broadcasts on Hockey Night in Canada. He’s also called a dozen Stanley Cup Finals and the men’s hockey tournament at both the 2006 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
“Jim is one of the best this business has ever seen,” said Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production. “Whether on TV, radio or in video games, for many he has been their soundtrack of hockey. He’s set the gold standard for broadcasting in this country and has accomplished pretty much everything any broadcaster would set out to do in their career. On top of that, he’s a tremendous teammate and an even better person. I respect his decision to step back and spend more time with family but he is going to be missed by us at Sportsnet, the entire broadcasting industry, his colleagues and his many fans.”
While best known for hockey, Hughson also made a name for himself calling Major League Baseball at times throughout his career – notably being part of the Blue Jays broadcast crew during their championship runs in 1992 and 1993.
“Jim ranks amongst the greatest play-by-play announcers of all-time,” said Bart Yabsley, President of Sportsnet. “His contributions to the sport of hockey in this country have been immense. He has brought tremendous passion, knowledge, grace and care to every single game he’s called, which is a testament to his longevity in this business. He is leaving behind incredibly big shoes to fill after a legendary career.”
In 2019, the Hockey Hall of Fame awarded Hughson the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award to honour his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. He is also a four-time Canadian Screen Awards winner for Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer.
“It’s been an honour, privilege and pleasure to join Canadian hockey fans in watching so many fantastic games over the years,” added Hughson. “I look forward to continuing watching together, but from the same side of the television.”
Sportsnet’s full national NHL broadcast team will be announced in the coming weeks.