Jim Hughson (born October 9, 1956) is a Canadian sportscaster, best known for his play-by-play of National Hockey League and Toronto Blue Jays baseball games. Since 2008, he has been the lead play-by-play announcer for Hockey Night in Canada.

Career Edit

Early career Edit

Hughson worked on Canucks radio broadcasts, working on the pre-game, intermission, and post-game shows in the early 1980s. He also filled in as play-by-play man when Jim Robson had national TV duties. In this role, he broadcast games three and four of the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals between the Canucks and New York Islanders. In 1982, he left to become the television voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, before joining TSN in 1987.

TSN Edit

Hughson worked for TSN from 1987 to 1998, working as the lead play-by-play voice for the network's NHL games, paired with Gary Green. In 1991, he called the World Junior Hockey Championship in Saskatchewan, which climaxed with a dramatic game in Saskatoon between Canada and the USSR, in which John Slaney scored the winning goal late in the third period to deliver the gold medal to Canada.

In addition to hockey, Hughson also called baseball for TSN. He worked on Montreal Expos broadcasts for the network from 1987 to 1989. Then in 1990, Hughson became the regular play-by-play announcer for Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts, alongside Buck Martinez. During that time, Hughson was most famous for calling all three of the games in which the Jays' clinched first place in the American League East during the 1990s (1991, 1992, and 1993).

During Hughson's time at TSN, he often enthusiastically proclaimed "That's hockey!" when describing an exciting play during NHL broadcasts. TSN later adopted the phrase as the name of its popular program That's Hockey, a talk show covering NHL happenings.

CTV Sportsnet/Rogers Sportsnet Edit

In 1998, Hughson joining CTV Sportsnet (now Rogers Sportsnet) as their lead NHL play-by-play commentator alongside Craig Simpson. A year later, he left radio and began working on the Canucks regional television broadcasts on Sportsnet Pacific, alongside Ryan Walter. From 2002–03 onwards, former NHL goaltender John Garrett was his partner. He was also the host of Snapshots, a weekly half-hour show where he interviewed various sports personalities, from 1998 to 2006.

Hockey Night in Canada and Sportsnet Edit

In 2005, Hughson was hired by CBC as Hockey Night in Canada's secondary play-by-play announcer. Hughson called the late games of the network's Saturday night doubleheaders and one series through each of the first three playoff rounds. In 2006, he was the secondary play-by-play announcer for CBC's coverage of men's ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. For three seasons he continued calling Canucks' regional telecasts on Sportsnet Pacific but on March 11, 2008, he signed an exclusive six-year contract with the CBC, leaving Rogers Sportsnet at the conclusion of the 2007–08 season.

The following season, he replaced Bob Cole as the primary play-by-play announcer for HNIC. In addition to calling the primary Saturday night game (usually featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs), Hughson also called NHL All-Star Game, the Winter Classic, and the Stanley Cup Finals. He also called men's ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. His partner on the top broadcast team was his former Sportsnet partner Craig Simpson and former NHL goaltender Glenn Healy.

In October 2014, Hughson re-joined Sportsnet, as its parent company Rogers Communications had acquired sole national television rights to the NHL in Canada, taking effect as of the 2014-15 season. Hughson, Simpson and Healy remain the lead commentary crew for HNIC (which remains on CBC as part of a sub-licensing deal), but may now also appear on other Sportsnet national games when needed.

Other appearances Edit

Hughson returned to the broadcast booth for the Toronto Blue Jays when CBC picked up a package of Blue Jays games for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The broadcast on June 22, 2007 was the first baseball game he had called in 13 years.

In addition to his Canadian sportscasting work, Hughson has made occasional appearances for ABC and ESPN in the United States, covering both hockey and baseball.

Hughson is familiar to video game enthusiasts as the play-by-play voice of EA Sports award-winning NHL series from 97 to 09. He also provided the play-by-play in EA's Triple Play series for PlayStation and PC from 1997 to 2001, along with his former Blue Jays broadcast partner Buck Martinez.

Hughson has also had small roles in two sports-related family comedies: MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000) and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2002). He played announcers in both films.

Award Edit

Hughson has won five Gemini Awards, the most recent in 2004, where he was named the best sports play-by-play or analyst. He is known for his very clear, accessible voice, enthusiastic delivery, and articulate use of the English language.[2]

Personal life Edit

Hughson was born on October 9, 1956 in Fort St. John, British Columbia. He lives in White Rock, British Columbia with his wife Denise. He has a daughter named Jennifer and son Mathieu. Hughson is an avid runner with routes in all 30 NHL cities.