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Former team captain Cassie Campbell to take a turn on Hockey Night in Canada

The Canadian Press
By:
The Hockey News
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Former team captain Cassie Campbell to take a turn on Hockey Night in Canada

The Canadian Press
By:

The recently retired captain of the Canadian women's hockey team will be part of Hockey Night in Canada's broadcast team for NHL games this season, the CBC announced Thursday.

The 32-year-old from Brampton, Ont., intended to pursue a career in broadcasting when she retired from team a month ago, but the invitation to join HNIC caught her off guard.

"I was just blown out of the water with this," Campbell said. "I couldn't believe it."

Campbell will work as a rinkside reporter for at least 13 games this season and her first will be Oct. 7 when Toronto hosts Montreal.

"I know how hard I'm going to have to work in order to prove myself," she said. "I do not want to be the token woman on the show.

"I want to bring more to the show than that. I'm capable of doing it. I just have a lot to learn. In this case, I'm learning from the best."

Brenda Irving was the first woman to be part of the HNIC crew in 2001 and has appeared intermittently on the show since then. She was followed by Martine Gaillard, who was an intermission and post-game reporter before she moved onto Sportsnet in 2005.

HNIC executive producer Joel Darling didn't deny having a woman on what has been a traditionally male show is a bonus.

"It was important," Darling said Thursday during a conference call. "Beyond that, Cassie's credentials in the game are second to none."

Former U.S. women's team captain Cammi Granato was a sideline reporter for NBC's NHL games last season.

"I thought she was excellent," Campbell said. "She and I had conversations about things like this before.

"I will call her and ask her what I should expect."

Campbell will also work for TSN as an analyst of women's hockey for the Four Nations Cup, world championship, the Esso Nationals and the Clarkson Cup.

She says she has not signed an exclusivity contract with either network and Darling doesn't have a problem with her working for TSN.

"She's not doing NHL hockey (for TSN). She's doing women's hockey," he said. "We support that and it will add to her broadcast experience."

Campbell is the only Canadian hockey player, male or female, to captain a national team to two Olympic gold medals, which she did this year in Turin, Italy, and in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

The five-foot-seven, 150-pound forward had 32 goals and 68 assists in 157 career games for the Canadian women's team.

Campbell believes her hockey knowledge and experience will draw the respect of the players and television audience.

"I think times are changing," she said. "I think people see women's hockey as worthwhile to watch and they know we're good players and just getting a chance to talk to players when I did my audition, I think they respect me because they know I've played.

"If I can ask smart questions I think they'll respect me even more."

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Former team captain Cassie Campbell to take a turn on Hockey Night in Canada