For fans of Michael McKinley’s Hockey: A People’s History and Bob Cole’s Now I’m Catching On—a book about what’s changed in hockey, what never should, and a celebration of what we love about the game, from the broadcaster, analyst, and longtime executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, John Shannon.
For decades, Hockey Night in Canada has been the gold standard not just for hockey broadcasts, but for all sports across North America. It shows the stories of the game: on-ice heroics, the love and support of family, small-town values, and big-city lights. Meet the person who shaped that standard.
John Shannon was the longtime executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada, starting at the bottom and working his way up through the 1980s and 1990s. He has a unique view of the game and how the way we enjoy it has developed. Technology plays a role, but it’s about the storytelling—modern-day gladiators and their trials—and hockey provides endless good stories.
Shannon’s world behind the scenes is every bit as colourful and unexpected as what happens on the ice—and just as full of rich characters. From standing up to the Edmonton Oilers’ mighty Glen Sather to ordering then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to keep out of a dressing room, these stories illuminate the big moments and people that have made the game special.
Shannon captures a nostalgia for the great broadcasts of the past—complete with baby blue Hockey Night in Canada blazers—and a pride in how far we’ve come in improving the game and expanding on the stories we tell. He also shares the keys to a long and successful career: integrity, loyalty, determination, and above all passion. Much has changed in the sport and how we enjoy it, but Shannon’s career shows that some things must always remain.
John Shannon is a Canadian sportscaster, television producer, and former panelist on Rogers Sportsnet’s Hockey Central. He’s known for producing Hockey Night in Canada, including Coach’s Corner and the Satellite Hot Stove. In 2003, he won a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Special for his work on NBC’s broadcast of the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Follow him on Twitter @JShannonHl.
“And I thought the announcers, not the producers, had the interesting jobs in sports TV. John offers fascinating evidence to the contrary.” — DAVE HODGE, sports announcer and broadcaster
“John has rubbed elbows, laughed out loud, and crossed swords with some of the most famous people in sports and broadcasting (for some, you only need first names—Don, Herb, Gary). Enjoy these stories.” — MIKE EMRICK, sportscaster and commentator
“I can personally attest that even if you were part of Hockey Night in Canada in its greatest days, you wouldn’t know everything John Shannon has to say in Evolve or Die. . . . It’s a remarkable story of how the hockey world has changed.” — AL STRACHAN, sports journalist, broadcaster, and bestselling author