TORONTO - The NHL lockout claimed a high-profile casualty Tuesday as CBC fired sports commentator Chris Cuthbert.
The news of Cuthbert leaving the network came as a shock to staffers in the TV Sports department.
Cuthbert, a CBC employee for 21 years, has been one of the network's top sports commentators, known for his steady delivery and versatility.
In a meeting called on Tuesday afternoon, CBC executives said there just wasn't enough work for Cuthbert, stemming from last week's cancellation of the NHL season.
"It's a regrettable decision," said Nancy Lee, executive director of CBC Sports. "Chris has an extremely good reputation and he's a consummate professional. But it's important to remember that 30 people have been affected by hockey."
Along with his play-by-play duties with Hockey Night in Canada, Cuthbert was the main voice of the CFL on CBC and covered figure skating.
He received glowing reviews for his work as the rowing and canoe/kayak commentator at the 2004 Olympic Games. He also called the controversial figure skating events revolving around Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Cuthbert jumped to the forefront of sports television with his work during a NHL playoff game in New Jersey in 1988.
A power failure in Montreal forced Hockey Night in Canada to switch to a Washington vs. New Jersey game. Cuthbert was supposed to supply updates to the national broadcast but when the focus shifted, he became host, analyst, commentator and runner.
Cuthbert was nominated for a Gemini Award for that program. He won a Gemini in 1999 for Best Sports Broadcaster for his call of the 1998 Grey Cup in Winnipeg.
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