I remember when I was a kid and it was Saturday night, it was a special night for hockey. I would either go on CBC if the Montreal Canadians got a rare National game on there or I would log onto CBC.ca and find the Habs game there. It was a special game; the one game a week that everyone could watch. Saturdays were a special night for hockey.
Back when I was younger, and I am only 25, Wednesday night and Saturday night were the only two nights that were guaranteed national games. No other games were shown across Canada. TSN or CBC might throw a bone to a fanbase for a special Tuesday night game or something, but those games were rare and felt special. It was an occasion.
When the NHL went over to Sportsnet from CBC and Sportsnet in 2014 for 12 years, the specialness of national games was lost. All of a sudden, you could watch any team on a Saturday night. You did not have to live in a specific region to not watch the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, the games were more accessible, but we lost the fun of complaining about the Leafs being the national game every week.
The other thing that made Saturdays special were the intros. Before every broadcast, Tim Thompson would make a beautiful montage for the week. They were never long and usually featured a Canadian band. He would make sure it was appropriate for the week: one time Remembrance Day was on Saturday and he used The Strumbellas “Sailing” to blend hockey and veterans together beautifully. After a year of Thompson, Rogers cut him much to the dismay of many hockey fans to loved his montages.
Saturday nights do not feel special anymore because Canada has been over-saturated by national broadcasts. They no longer feel special because it is rare that every Canadian team plays that night. Instead, they might instead just play the next day. You used to be able to almost guarantee that Saturdays were when you could watch the Battle of Alberta or the Calgary Flames vs the Vancouver Canucks. Instead, it is rarely those matchups and is just another matchup in a season of them.
There used to be something mystical about Saturday night games in Canada. Even Saturday afternoons were special because CBC usually picked up those games as well. Now, it is just another game on the schedule, except this time you have Don Cherry yelling at you between periods. Lucky.