Source: Wikimedia

Canadian hockey fans might have to visit a sports bar or pay to watch the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs featuring the Oilers thanks to the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

Conservative MP Rachael Thomas proposed a motion at a Canadian heritage committee meeting on Friday which would force the CBC to broadcast the final games of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Conservatives and one NDP MP, Niki Ashton, were the only ones to support calling on CBC to show the Edmonton Oilers play in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“The CBC chose not to broadcast the Edmonton Oilers game that sent them to the Stanley Cup Finals. The committee calls on the CBC to commit to broadcasting all Stanley Cup Final games and report this finding to the House. That is my motion that I wish to move on behalf of all Canadians so that they can watch the Stanley Cup,” said Thomas.

True North previously reported that Canadian fans were outraged that the CBC chose not to broadcast some NHL playoff games. One fan couldn’t watch their favourite team play as they cannot afford Sportsnet. 

Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed argued with Thomas that the CBC had been broadcasting Oilers games and would be broadcasting the Stanley Cup Finals. 

The Liberal MP said it was misinformation to say that the CBC would not be broadcasting every game of the final series, as he was certain they would. Yet, he still voted against the motion that would compel them to do so.

The CBC did not broadcast game six of the Edmonton Oilers versus Dallas Stars series. The national broadcaster also chose not to broadcast some of the Edmonton Oilers versus Vancouver Canucks games. 

Instead of broadcasting the NHL games, which have been setting viewership records, CBC decided to air Just for Laugh reruns, the Canadian Screen Awards, and Canada’s Ultimate Challenge, a cross-country reality show.

One Conservative MP on the committee criticized CBC’s CEO directly.

“Mrs. Tait stood in this room and talked glowingly about CBC And Hockey Night in Canada. Yet, for game six involving the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars, they decided to not televise it. There would have been a riot, madam chair, if they would have done this with the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadians,” said Conservative MP Kevin Waugh. 

Eleven MPs voted on the motion. The vote failed with five votes for – Ashton and the four Conservatives on the committee – and six against.

Bloc Québecois MP Sébastien Lemire voted against the motion despite saying he would show solidarity with the Edmonton Oilers during the committee’s meeting.

While Sportsnet holds the right to broadcast all hockey games in Canada, Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet, struck a seven-year deal with CBC, allowing them to broadcast all Hockey Night in Canada and Stanley Cup playoff games from the 2019-20 to 2025-26 seasons.