That message was declared early on Wednesday night's first NHL regular season broadcast under the new 12-year, $5.2 billion Rogers' broadcast deal.
The much-hyped historic hand-off comes after 62 uninterrupted years of NHL action on CBC.
The first puck dropped on Sportsnet with a dream matchup: traditional hockey rivals Toronto and Montreal. NHL schedulers tend to reward $5.2 billion transactions.
The pre-game show tested out some of the new toys and tried to ease viewers into the transition.
Rogers has built a cavernous, red, white and blue playpen for their hockey broadcasts. It has a white, lit-from-below, ice-like floor surface. There's a Plexiglas puck wall and a large, sweeping arch. Rather than hire CBC's man in black George Stroumboulopoulos as host, they should have hired William Shatner; this set screams for James T. Kirk to command the Enterprise.
Just to rub it in, they've planted this flag right inside CBC headquarters, home to Rogers' new 10th floor hockey studio. At centre stage behind the big glass sports desk was host Daren Millard joined by sparring analysts Doug MacLean and Nick Kypreos.
If there's a knock on the set it is that it looks too American. Fans of U.S. college or professional football are accustomed to similar candy-coloured sports cathedrals.
Rogers Man Cave could also use a female presence or three. Aside from Hazel Mae in the pre-show and Cassie Campbell-Pascall reporting from Calgary during the Vancouver Canucks-Flames game later in the evening, there was a distinct lack of women on air.
Strombo was mainly AWOL Wednesday, dropping by the desk early like Ryan Seacrest checking in on the "American Idol" judges. We were told he's banked an interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was seen in the first intermission chatting up NHL stars Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Henrik Lundqvist. (Toews looked like he'd wandered into a Starbucks on his way to Tim Hortons.) Strombo will be fully in charge as host starting with Saturday and Sunday's games on CBC and City.
Rogers has weaved the best of the old and the new in putting together their broadcast team. Fans Wednesday could relax and enjoy the play-by-play of reliable veteran Jim Hughson. CBC veterans Elliotte Friedman and Scott Oake were also woven into the new Rogers lineup to ease into the transition. Their new roles play to their strengths. Friedman's newsy first intermission interview with free agent goalie and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur was an opening night highlight. Oake dared ask P.K. Subban if his recent "clearing the net with flatulence" comment was just hot air. It was a tweetable moment, an audible cue that this was not your father's hockey broadcast.
Sprinkled into a few ads was 26-year "Hockey Night in Canada" frontman Ron MacLean. He rocked his new hockey jacket, complete with nifty red "RM" patches. MacLean does seem like the man to helm "Hometown Hockey" and will bring reports Sunday from London, Ont. It just seems odd to see him wandering the hinterland having Timbits and coffee with third cousins and best friends of hockey's elite — like watching Walter Cronkite do the weather.
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry were seen in the pre-show in a glimpse of what to expect on the new Coach's Corner. Basically same as the old Coach's Corner.
Once the game finally started — after a brief two-song set by The Tragically Hip at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square — fans got to see a few on-ice innovations. The much heralded referee helmet cam was used on the opening puck drop and then put in the same bin where Fox put that flaming puck tail distraction. A "Sky Cam" was used sparingly during the broadcast, but fans can subscribe to a hockey package and watch Sky/Helmet cams on a split screen as long as they can stomach it.
A nice touch was the opening anthem, sung not by a rock star or celebrity but by the fans in the rink. "Nice opening night in Toronto; Maple Leafs anthem singer? The crowd," tweeted an impressed Keith Olbermann.
"To the Point," a second period intermission feature, apes ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" with commentators given 30-seconds to rant on subjects such as Subban's worth to the Canadiens. Doug MacLean and Kypreos are up to the challenge but that annoying buzzer needs tweaking.
For all the razzle dazzle and innovation, one thing remained the same: the score. Leafs lost 4-3. Some things not even $5.2 billion can fix.
Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.Suggest a correction