Hockey Night in Canada is celebrating what makes our nation great: diversity.
For the first time in history, the nation’s beloved game will air simultaneously in 10 different languages, with seven new languages being added to the traditional broadcast.
The initiative, put together by Molson Canadian in partnership with Sportsnet, invites more Canadians to enjoy the game in a way that is meaningful to them. In addition to the regular broadcasts in English, French, and Punjabi, Saturday’s games will include commentary in seven of Canada’s most spoken languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, and Arabic.
“Canada is among the most multicultural nations in the world, and what an incredible thing it could be to intersect the pride we have in our country’s game with the pride we have in the diversity of its people,” said Joy Ghosh, Senior Brand Director for the Molson family of brands. “As Canada’s oldest brewery, connecting people over a beer for 235 years and being a decades-long supporter of hockey, we’re excited to make something so special happen on April 17.”
The seven languages chosen represent those most commonly spoken in each Canadian city with an NHL team. The multi-lingual broadcast aims to introduce the love of the game across the country and be a stepping stone to the sport for new fans.
The multi-lingual broadcast was intended to air on April 17, during the Toronto Maple Leaf’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. However, the NHL has postponed the pair of games (April 17 and 19) between the teams as Vancouver continues to work its way back from a COVID-19 outbreak between players and staff.
The games have been rescheduled for April 25 and 27. It has not yet been confirmed if the broadcast will continue as planned during these games or at a later date.
To bring the broadcast to life, Sportsnet and Molson Canadian are working with Spalk. Its virtual commentary studio and global talent pool will help provide the unique technology and seasoned hockey commentators needed for an engaging evening.
Randip Janda, Host of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi, already knows how special it is to get to share his love of the game in his own language. He’s excited about the game giving that experience to Canadians from coast to coast.
“Those individuals are going to have that same opportunity to experience hockey—a very Canadian thing—within their own language group,” said Janda. “They’ll have those conversations, and maybe make up words in their own language and create a unique space within Canadian culture.”
For the last few years, Janda and his co-hosts have had to get creative on-air. Since hockey is a game with many colloquialisms, some of the terms don’t translate to Punjabi. The direct translation of the Punjabi word for penalty box is “box of punishment,” which always gets a laugh out of viewers because of how harsh it sounds, and Janda looks forward to hearing about how hosts connected with their audience in their own ways.
Ahead of the broadcast, Molson Canadian and Sportsnet have released hockey lingo cheat sheets with an inside look at the most common hockey phrases to help out viewers. See below.
On April 24, you can be a part of history. Stream the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets game at 7pm EST/ 4pm PST followed by the Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators game at 10 pm EST / 7pm PST in your language of choice here.
No matter what the scoreboards say, all of Canada is winning with this step towards inclusion.